Friday, December 19, 2014

Walking for the Mother: Support for Maternal and Child Health Care

WRA members with their banner joined other citizens to walk for the mothers through the streets of Kanungu District Town. Photo by Cyprian Ntale

Report by Cyprian Ntale
WRA-Ug member
Kanungu District

Members of White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) for Safe Motherhood Uganda in Kanungu District participated in a charity walk dubbed "Walk for the Mother," to raise funds to support Rugyeyo Community Health Center in Kanungu District. The walk, which is part of the annual International Community of Banyakigezi meeting slated on 27th-28th December 2014, began in Kampala on December 6th (1st walk) and later went to Kanungu District on December 13th 2014. 

Kanungu District in south west Uganda will host this year's meeting with participants coming from all the four districts which make up Kigezi region i.e. Kanungu, Rukungiri, Kabale and Kisoro.

WRA members participated in both walks aimed at raising Shs 50 million. Professor Mondo Kagonyera and Rt Hon Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda who was represented by Hon. Chris Baryomunsi were the chief walkers in Kanungu and Kampala respectively. Among other guests were; Bank of Uganda Governor Tumusiime Mutebile, Hon. Jack Sabiiti, Hon. Roland Mugume Kaginda and Mr Garuga Musinguzi. About Shs 25 million was raised at both walks.

Participants in the Walk for the Mother march in Kanungu to raise funds for a community health centre ahead of International Community of Banyakigezi Uganda chapter convention due on 27th December 2014 in Kanungu. Photo by Cyprian Ntale

Under the Saving Lives at Birth Project, WRA-Ug works together with AMREF Health Africa in Uganda and We Care Solar to light up health facilities with solar power, raise awareness and create demand for maternal and newborn health services and strengthening the health system in Kanungu, Kisoro, Rukungiri and Kabale districts.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Public health facilities lack resuscitation devices, newborn deaths high- study

Publish Date: Nov 15, 2014  
Public health facilities lack resuscitation devices, newborn deaths high- study
The commissioner clinical services at the ministry of health, Dr Jacinto Amandua addressing participants during the meeting. PHOTO/Agnes Kyotalengerire

By Agnes Kyotalengerire                     

Majority of public health facilities are lacking basic equipment to resuscitate newly born babies leading to a high number of newborn deaths, a study has revealed.
The report also indicates that in the few health centers where there is equipment, medical workers do not know how to use them.

 “We lose babies who are born tired and cannot breathe because the health facility lacks equipment to resuscitate them,” said Barbara Zalwango a midwife working at Bulera health center III in Mityana district.

Resuscitation devices help to revive babies who fail to breath at birth a condition referred to as asphyxia.

The devices include: an ambu bag (neonatal bag) and mask, suction bulb and a training mannequin.

The study follows a survey that was conducted by White Ribbon Alliance Uganda in three pilot districts of Lira, Mityana and Kabale on the availability of newborn resuscitation devices has shown that most of public health center III and health center IVs lack equipment for resuscitating newborn babies.

Even where the equipment is available, health workers lack the skills to use it.

The national coordinator White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda, Robina Biteyi said none of the three districts met the minimum requirements for resuscitation of the newborns which leads to high number of newborn babies dying.

The study findings were revealed  during a stakeholders meeting organized by White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda on creating an enabling policy and  implementation framework for procurement , distribution  and availability of newborn resuscitation devices at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala  on Tuesday (yesterday).

 The district health officer Mityana, Dr. Fred Lwasampijja said the cases of newborn death in the district are alarming.

Dr Lwasampijja estimated that in a month about ten newborn babies die due to failure of midwives to resuscitate them when they are born distressed; tired and cannot breathe.

“These are few facility deaths but the number could slightly go up because some babies die at home and the cases are never reported to the health facility,” he said.

Dr. Victaria  Masembe working with WHO (left), the district health officer Mityana, Dr. Fred Lwasampijja(center) and the commissioner clinical services at the ministry of health, Dr Jacinto Amandua during the meeting at Golf Course hotel. PHOTO/ Agnes Kyotalengerire.

Bateyi said procurement of newborn resuscitation devices by ministry of health has been largely dependent on project by donors.

"Health centers cannot order for devices when they need them and mainly have to rely on the ministry of health to buy the devices when there is a funded project," she said 

 What the ministry of health says

The commissioner clinical services at the ministry of health, Dr Jacinto Amandua said with improvement in maternal and newborn health, focus is going to be put on acquisition of maternal and newborn equipment especially for resuscitation and also for helping mothers who have problems during delivery.

“The ministry is going to work with national medical stores to procure equipment for the public health units in addition to supplying medicines,” Amandua said.

He said procuring of resuscitation devices is only one aspect but it is important that every health facility has a skilled midwife to ensure the lives of mothers and newborns are safe.

Newborn mortality in health units is unacceptably high contributing to about 50% of deaths in children under the age of five years.

 According to the study, out of the nine health centers in Lira, only three had newborn resuscitation requirements.

In Mityana, out of 12 health facilities assessed, only 7 had the devices and in Kabale district 19 out of the 22 health centers had the devices.

This situation puts the lives of newborns at risk of death.

According to the Uganda Demographic health survey 2011, a total of 106 newborn babies die every day due to preventable causes.

Of these, 26% die on the first day of life due to failure to breathe and maintain breathing a condition referred to as asphyxia.

President of Uganda private midwives association, Mary Gorret Musoke said the ministry of health should plan with various stake holders to know how much is needed for each health facility, create a budget line for procurement of these devices and train the human resource to use the devices.

 Basic requirements for a labor suit

The president elect, association of gynecologists of Uganda, Dr Jolly Beyeza said a mother in labor should be attended to by two midwives; one extra to give a helping hand in case the baby comes out distressed.

Secondly, there should be a labor bed where a mother labors from, a delivery bed, a delivery kit with all the instruments required for conducting a delivery,  a resuscitation table with all the devices with a light up on the table to keep the baby  warm.

A partograph is also required to monitor the progress of labor, fetal heart.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Citizen Participation in Budget Monitoring and Expenditure Tracking Requires Access To Information

Senfuka Samuel

Mr Keith Meeting WRA team in his office. Photo by Faridah Luyiga
Faridah Mwanje after handling over WRA materials to Mr. Keith
Budget Transparency and Accountability: WRA-Ug meeting with Mr. Keith Muhakanizi Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury-Ministry of Finance, Planning & Economic Development. The aim of the meeting was to discuss a collaboration for making budget information available and accessible to citizens especially at district level. This is in line with WRA's citizen empowerment approach to monitor and track budget expenditures for Emergency  Obstetric and Newborn Care services at      their health centres.

"Ministry of Finance is happy and ready to partner and work with WRA and CSOs and provide all the necessary budget information. Our goal is to ensure that citizens are aware about their budget so that they are able to hold us accountable on fund releases and expenditures by ministries and districts," Muhakanizi pledges.

Ministry of Finance in the FY 2014/15 identified Budget transparency and accountability as one of the key interventions to strengthen institutional governance, accountability and transparency in public service delivery. Other interventions being undertaken to improve service delivery include:
  • Publication of quarterly fund releases to ministries and Local Governments (both online and print media)
  • Decentralization of the pay roll for civil servants
  • Creation of a Uganda Budget Information Website, meant to enable citizens to access budget information of  resources allocated and utilized up to the local level 
  • The ministry plans to establish an SMS platform and a phone Hotline for public feedback on budget utilization
  • The ministry also conducts quarterly and annual budget monitoring and accountability through its Budget Monitoring and Accountability Unit and at effective implementation of Government programmes and projects.  

All the above are well-intentioned interventions to improve budget accountability and transparency but the question we should all ask ourselves is-how many people (citizens) are aware of these opportunities so that they can effectively participate in their budgets monitoring and expenditure tracking? It is often challenging to the community members to access budget information especially at district and sub-county level under the guise of confidentiality! Citizens need to be empowered to know their rights to access such information but also to use it in executing their obligation of monitoring and tracking utilization of the funds.

Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development should strengthen the budget accountability and transparency by investing in grass-root budget information dissemination and empowerment of citizens with skills to monitor the budgets and tracking expenditures.

#ActNowToSaveMothers #Accountability#Transparency #CitizenParticipation#MaternalHealth #Commit2deliver


Dr Jacinto Amandua Commissioner Clinical Services-Ministry of Health speaking during a stakeholders'
breakfast meeting on newborn resuscitation devices convened by WRA-Ug at Golf Course Hotel, Kampala


November 12th 2014
For Immediate Release

(Kampala) In Uganda, 106 newborns die every day due to preventable causes. Of these, 26% die on their first day of life due to failure to breathe and maintain breathing, a condition referred to as birth asphyxia. These deaths can be prevented if resuscitation devices to manage birth asphyxia are available at the health facilities and health workers know how to use them. Basic newborn resuscitation devices include an ambu bag, mask, suction bulb and training mannequin.

The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda conducted health facility  of government-owned heath centers III and IV on the availability of newborn resuscitation devices in three pilot districts; Mityana, Kabale and Lira. WRA Uganda found out that none of the three districts met the minimum requirements for the resuscitation of newborns. Out of 9 health centers assessed in Lira, only 3 had the newborn resuscitation requirements. In Mityana, out of 12 health facilities assessed, only 7 had the devices and in Kabale District, 19 out of 22 health centers had the devices. This puts the lives of newborns at risk of death.

The procurement of newborn resuscitation devices by the Ministry of Health has been largely dependent on projects by donors. Health centers cannot order the devices when they need them and mainly rely on the Ministry of Health to procure the devices when there is a funded project. Without adequate newborn resuscitation services in all districts across the country, newborn survival will continue to be a nightmare.
To reduce newborn deaths, the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda recommends the following;

  1. The mandate for procurement of newborn resuscitation devices should be given to National Medical Stores.
  2. Resuscitation devices should be made vital commodities on NMS procurement list so that health centers can order them.
  3.  Ministry of health should create a budget line for procurement of these devices.
  4. Government should allocate more funds for procurement and repair of the equipment.
  5. At least 5% of Primary Health Care funds should be allocated to maintenance of equipment.
  6. There should be regular training for health workers so that they have the necessary skills to use and maintain the resuscitation equipment.

 Notes to editors

Within a minute of birth, a baby who is not breathing should be ventilated with a bag and mask. Although most babies breathe spontaneously at birth, up to 10 percent of newborns require some assistance to begin breathing. Only 3-6% require basic resuscitation, but the correct technique will save 4 out of 5 babies who need it. Every skilled birth attendant should be able to resuscitate a baby who is not breathing.[i]
The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda is advocating for policy change for procurement of newborn resuscitation devices. The advocacy goal is; Ministry of Health (MOH) transfers the procurement of newborn resuscitation devices from its headquarters to National Medical Stores (NMS) in the FY 2015/2016.

# # #
For further information and to arrange interviews, please contact: Faridah Luyiga Mwanje on Tel; 0706835826/0772968685 Email: or Elman Nsinda on Tel: 0704182962 Email:

[i] Save the Children. Surviving the first day: State of the World’s Mothers 2013

Monday, October 27, 2014


Settlements on the hills in Butanda, Rubaya Sub-county, Kabale District

By Senfuka Samuel

“Dear Dr Patrick, we appreciate your effort and all those involved in this process to have the people of Kabale served better. I am okay with the proposed site and I will assume duty early next week. I request if possible help me inform the team in Rubaya Health Centre IV.” Dr Fortunate Asiimwe one of the interviewed medical doctors responded to a job offer by Kabale District Local Government.

“Dr Patrick am ready to serve,” Dr Davis Ahabwe posted to MPARO Health Centre IV committed

The enthusiasm of the newly recruited young doctors brings a ray of hope and smiles to many faces of the people of Kabale especially the women who have been traveling long distances to access comprehensive emergency obstetric care services such as cesarean sections from Kabale Regional Referral Hospital due to lack of doctors at health centre IVs. By all standards Kabale District is a hard-to-reach and hard-to-serve area. It’s over 400 KM away from the capital Kampala and has a rough hilly terrain with relatively poor access roads into the hills where majority of people live. This and other factors make it a big challenge to attract medical doctors and other health worker cadres to work in this part of the country.

Collaborative Efforts and Successes 
In 2013 a citizen led campaign code named Act Now To Save Mothers coordinated by White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda (WRA Uganda) was flagged off in Kabale, Lira and Mityana districts. The goal of the campaign is that the Government of Uganda upholds its commitment to ensure that comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care increases in health centre IVs from 17% to 50% and that basic emergency obstetric and newborn care services are available in all health centres. The campaign kicked off with a ground breaking participatory health facility assessment in all the three districts to establish the status of Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care at all Government owned health centre (HC) IIIs and IVs. Twenty two (22) were assessed in Kabale District. The assessment findings showed that Kabale had NO medical doctor in any of its 7 health centre IVs hence none of the health centres could save a pregnant woman with emergency surgery.

Since then Kabale residents have used the findings in engagements with their district and national leaders through dialogue meetings, petitioning District, Petitioning Parliament, citizens’ voice, Videos, budget analysis and advocacy, marches, media among other campaign tactics to change this unacceptable state of health affairs.

The district political and health sector leaders are part of the campaign and they showed a strong level of willingness to do business unusual. They actively participated in health facility assessments and other campaign activities. The District Health Officer (DHO) led efforts to spot and request medical doctors to work in the district. “Despite the many challenges there is a ray of hope, our efforts have indeed started to pay off. I thank our partners for complementing the work of the district under the health sector. In a special way I thank WRA Uganda for dedicating time, resources, advocating and convening stakeholders around maternal and newborn health in the district and at national level. You have helped to refocus our health department priorities and generating ideas for improving maternal and newborn health service delivery,” a visibly happy DHO Dr Patrick Tusiime expressed.

Looking Forward
During a district leaders meeting convened by White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda on 17th October 2014 at White Horse Inn, Kabale Dr Patrick Tusiime confirmed that three medical officers had  reported to their stations at Rubaya, Hamurwa and Mparo HC IV respectively. Others will go to Kamwezi, Maziba and Muko HC IVs. “These medical officers are all young people and there is need to be mindful of their personal ambitions and career growth. We have to explore all possible ways to motivate and retain them,” Tusiime cautioned leaders.

Dr Patrick Tusiime-Kabale District Health Officer addressing members 
during a meeting at White Horse Inn, KabalePHOTO BY SENFUKA SAMUEL
In a room filled with majority of District Councilors including the District Speaker, Secretary for Health and Secretary for Finance, the District Health Officer called on them to support and prioritize renovation and construction of staff houses in the planning and budgeting process for FY 2015/2016 which is underway. He added that there is need to continue advocating to central Government to increase financing of district lower health facilities, strengthening community participation and public private partnerships.

“We are currently facing a short supply of anaesthetic personnel on the market but the district has a three prolonged approach to address this gap. A plan is underway with the District Service Commission Chairperson to advertise the vacant posts. We are also discussing with the management of Kabale referral hospital to support the health centre IVs in case we fail to get the staff. The medium term solution will be to identify qualified persons among existing staff and recommend them for training in anaesthesia at Mbarara University and bond them for a specific period of time before they think of working somewhere else,” Dr Tusiime disclosed.

The District Councilors who sit on the district top policy making body (District Council) unanimously agreed to push for a recommendation of top-up allowance for the doctors in the next council meeting slated for November 2014. “Hon colleagues we need to act on this urgently. Llet us take this issue to the council through our Health Committee and District Executive Committee. We shall table a motion for a council resolution to provide a specified amount of top-up allowance for the medical officers and we have all agreed to support it,” District Speaker Hon Twinomuhangi suggested.

The district councilors concurred that motivation is not all about monetary benefits, they agreed to plan with the DHO to visit and meet with the new doctors and old staff at the health centres as a sign of care but also to talk to them about what the district plans to do to improve their working conditions.

A section of District Councilors during the meeting moderated by Mr. Julius Barusya at White Horse Inn-Kabale. PHOTO BY SENFUKA SAMUEL

A journey of a 1000 miles starts with the first step (Chinese Proverb) and Kabale District has made this step. As a minimum, the Government of Uganda must increase funding to fulfill its commitment to fully equip Health Centres III and IV with trained, motivated health workers and the tools they need to provide effective emergency care. And as citizens and other stakeholders we have to keep the momentum as watch dogs to ensure that this commitment is fulfilled.

#ActNowToSaveMothers  #commit2deliver   #MDGMomentum

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Emergency Obstetric & Newborn Care Saved My Wife & Son

Written by Denis Okwir 

A member and a White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) Uganda trained Citizen Journalist in Lira District. Denis is also Coordinator of Youth for Life Uganda, a community based organization. He tracks progress on maternal and newborn health in Lira District. By doing this, he is holding the Government of Uganda accountable to its commitment to improve life-saving care for pregnant women and newborns at health centers III and IV. 

My wife Anna was expecting our first child on October 13th 2014, but delivered a baby boy on August 1st 2014, two months before her due date! She had been diagnosed with Oligohydramnios [a condition in pregnancy characterized by a deficiency of amniotic fluid]. The doctor told us that the fluid which keeps the baby was over due to ‘leaking’ and that any time; the baby was going to come out. Anna was told to go for a diagnostic scan and the report from the ultra-sound showed that the baby was very okay but the fluid around it was little. This was shocking news to Anna and I. Being first time parents; we had no experience and never heard of such a condition. She was told to go for ultra-sound scanning every two weeks. I bought pads for her every day because she was ‘leaking.’ It was quite costly and worrying. This went on for three months, having started when she was five months pregnant. She was told by doctors to go on bed rest with medication.

Anna breast feeding her baby
On August 1st 2014, her condition worsened and doctors recommended emergency surgery to save her life and that of the unborn baby. Anna was operated successfully, giving birth to a premature baby boy. I feared our child would die and had many sleepless nights because it did not breast feed for two days yet its weight was only 1.6 kg. Our son was kept under intensive care for 12 days and this intensive unit has been very instrumental in reducing numbers of babies dying during birth. Our son, Sam Hopeo is a healthy boy and his mother Anna is a healthy loving mother. We are thankful to God and secondly to midwives at Ogur Health Centre IV where my wife first received care and to Dr. Robert, Dr. Sara and consultant Dr. Tiri at Lira Regional Referral Hospital for their tireless efforts to save Anna and the newborn’s life.

As a citizen journalist and an advocate for safe motherhood, I am now more energized to move around villages and communities to encourage pregnant women to attend antenatal care and deliver from health facilities because it helps to identify complications early enough for appropriate and timely care. My wife had been going for antenatal care regularly and this helped us to identify the problem early.

Call to Government: My call to the Government is to support our health centers III and IV with life-saving equipment to help detect and treat complications during pregnancy and birth early so that they can be addressed. Our health workers should be well motivated and equipped with what they need to deliver quality health services.

Advice to my fellow men:  A responsible husband should play his part when the wife is pregnant. I have had a real life experience of the issues (obstetric and newborn complications) we have been advocating for as citizens under White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood. Together with fellow residents in Lira District under ACT NOW TO SAVE MOTHERS campaign, we have been campaigning to Government to increase Emergency Obstetric and Newborn care services at our health centers III and IV in the district-as a result our district has allocated funds to renovate and equip the operating theaters at Ogur and Amach health centre IVs.  Buying food for women is not enough. Husbands, give your wives all the support they need during pregnancy, childbirth and after birth.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Development Partners Support the Creation of Global Financing Facility to Advance Women’s and Children’s Health

Posted by Senfuka Samuel

It's your responsibility to ASK your National Leaders (President, Ministers of Health and Finance, MP etc) to commit to ACT and fulfill their promises to improve#maternal and #child health in Uganda. #ActNowToSaveMothers#commit2deliver #MDGMomentum.

Below is a Press Release By The World Bank

New facility sets course to accelerate completion of the Millennium Development Goals and end preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030
NEW YORK, September 25, 2014–The World Bank Group and Governments of Canada, Norway, and the United States announced today that they will jumpstart the creation of an innovative Global Financing Facility (GFF) to mobilize support for developing countries’ plans to accelerate progress on the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and bring an end to preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030.
The GFF, in support of Every Woman Every Child, is being developed in close collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders, including partner countries; the H4+ agencies (UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO, UNAIDS, UN Women and the World Bank Group); civil society organizations; bilateral and multilateral development partners; foundations; private sector and others working in the areas of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health. The GFF will support countries in their efforts to mobilize additional domestic and international resources required to scale up and sustain essential health services for women, children and adolescents.
The initial donor commitments to the World Bank Group for the GFF include grants in the amounts of $600 million from Norway and $200 million from Canada. The GFF resources will be provided to countries in conjunction with low-interest loans and grants from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries. Based on strong country demand for health results-based financing programs, these bilateral contributions could leverage up to an estimated $3.2 billion from IDA, for a total of up to $4 billion in financing to support MDG acceleration and improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), on behalf of the United States, is committed to working with partners to establish the GFF, bringing its full arsenal of innovative financing mechanisms and public-private partnerships to the collaboration. Aligning USAID's support through these complementary mechanisms could bring upto $400 million in leveraged resources to these efforts.
“The creation of the Global Financing Facility will enable us to transform the business of global health and development with scaled-up, smart, and sustainable financing, so that all women and children have access to lifesaving care,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “This signals our collective resolve as development partners to help countries push further and faster to bring an end to preventable maternal and child deaths and extreme poverty.”
The support to create the GFF was announced by global leaders at the high-level event for Every Woman Every Child during the 69th UN General Assembly. The GFF will be designed to support the goals of the Every Woman Every Child global movement and the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the UN Millennium Development Goals Summit in September 2010, and supported by the G-8 Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, launched under the leadership of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “Under the Every Woman Every Child partnership model, the health community is leading the way in finding innovative solutions and expanding new partnerships. For the first time ever, we have the historic opportunity to end all preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths within a generation. This new funding boost and innovative financing approach will help us get closer to that goal, with United Nations agencies and multiple partners playing a major role.
The GFF will build on the experience, capacity and strong track record of the Health Results Innovative Trust Fund at the World Bank Group to support developing countries’ national plans for scaling up access to quality reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services.  
Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway said, Norway is committed to support the Global Financing Facility. With its diversification of resources, results focus and targeting of girls and women, this is tailor- made for the new development agenda.”
 A unique aspect of the GFF is to support developing countries in their transition to long-term sustainable domestic financing as they grow from low- to middle-income economies. The facility is expected to mobilize additional domestic and international funds from a variety of sources, including other bilateral and multilateral donors, domestic budgets, the private sector and innovative financing mechanisms.
A special focus area of the GFF will be to support countries to expand Civil Registration and Vital Statistics (CRVS) efforts toward universal registration of every pregnancy, every birth and every death by 2030. CRVS systems provide a critical accountability tool for reducing mortality and ensuring universal access to health care, education and other essential services. 
Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada said, “I am very proud that Canada is a founding member of the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman Every Child. Canada believes that maternal, newborn and child health must stay at the forefront of the post 2015 agenda. Today's announcement will help ensure that developing countries have access to capital that will strengthen their health systems and build the necessary civil registration and vital statistics systems to record and track essential data, which saves the lives of mothers and children.”
Administrator Rajiv Shah, of the United States Agency for International Developmentsaid, “As we set our sights on achieving great human aspirations, we have to reimagine development with new business models, innovations, and partnerships. The Global Financing Facility will harness the creativity and expertise of a range of impressive new partners in order to save the lives of moms and kids everywhere. It is a symbol of a new model of development that increasingly defines how we work around the world to help end extreme poverty."
The MDGs have enabled remarkable shared progress toward ending preventable child and maternal deaths, but the job is not done,” said Ray Chambers, UN Special Envoy for Financing the Health MDGs and for Malaria. “I salute the World Bank, Norway, Canada, and the United States for this visionary and unprecedented collaboration to funding better health, and hope to see impact from this funding in the remaining 462 days of the MDGs.”
Consultations on the design and implementation of the GFF are now underway with countries and with key partners and organizations working on women’s and children’s health. The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2015.
We are delighted with this development,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization. “In the last year we have estimated the investment needs for countries to end preventable maternal and child deaths by 2030 (an additional 5 US$ per capita per year in high-burden countries) and also to scale up CRVS plans. We are convinced we can work together so this facility will be the way to channel and leverage efficiently the funding needed to achieve these ambitious but realistic goals.
I welcome this initiative to support and increase national capacity to take leadership on financing women's and children’s health,” said Gra├ža Machel, Chair, The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health. “PMNCH looks forward to facilitating wide consultation among its 650+ members from government and development partners, to civil society, academia, health professionals and the private sector to realize this vision.”

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Senfuka Samuel

Luyiga Faridah -Communications Officer at WRA Uganda speaking at PMNCH Accountability brunch-New York
The 69th Session of the UN General Assembly is convening in New York City from 16th September to 31st October 2014. It is convening at a time when the deadline to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set in 2000 is remaining with less than 500 days. One of the agendas at this 69th session is that Governments around the world are sitting to reflect on delivery of their commitments to their citizens as they deliberate on new development targets beyond 2015. 

During this session, White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) for Safe Motherhood is working with other civil society advocates to ensure that global leaders do not talk to themselves alone but also give space and listen to what citizens want (citizens' voice) to be in the new Health Development Agenda. WRA's pressure exerted on the usual suspects (the familiar faces at UN top tables) to give up their speaking slots to citizens' voice yielded some results with appreciation. Ray Chambers, Special Envoy on Malaria to Secretary General of UN moved over for a citizen leader, Flavia Bustreo of WHO and Kathy Calvin of UNF gave up their seats to civil society leaders at the Every Women Every Child (EWEC) accountability     reception. Read about WRA Citizens Post-

Faridah Luyiga Mwanje of White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda was one of the civil society advocate for maternal health spoke on behalf of citizens at Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) brunch on the sidelines of UN General Assembly in New York. Faridah shared her personal story of losing a sister and her experience as a maternal health advocate which emotionally touched many attentive attendants.

"I thank the PMNCH for this rare opportunity to speak about the work we are doing- with families, with communities, with districts, with midwives, with politicians. Uganda still loses high number of women and newborns due to pregnancy and childbirth related causes. "My sister Remie Wamala bled to death. There was no blood to save her life. It's then that I realized if this level of neglect happens in a high end facility, what is birth like for most of my countrywomen? I joined White Ribbon Alliance where I am campaigning to make birth safe for women and newborns." Luyiga Faridah 
      Faridah reminded all of us that women should be treated with dignity while seeking healthcare with equity in health service delivery. "We should be cognizant of the fact that every woman has the right to quality, respectful, maternity care – and it is the role and responsibility of Govt to fund the provision of that care.
L-R: Dr. Robert C. Orr, UN Assistant Secretary General for Policy Coordination& Strategic Planning, Luyiga Faridah, Communications Officer WRA Uganda, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General WHO and Richard Horton Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet 
      Government of Uganda Commitment to provide Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC)- Faridah said that despite Government's commitment to the UN Global Strategy for Women and Children's Health that half of health centres in Uganda would provide EmONC services, when WRA Uganda surveyed 43 health facilities in Kabale, Lira and Mityana districts it was found NOT ONE health facility (out of 12 health centre IVs) provided comprehensive EmONC- 

      "Our survey brought leaders together with district leaders, health workers and community members; for the first time they began to work together as partners, without fear of blame. I therefore implore you as global leaders and Governments to support the citizens who are working so hard to bring the change needed and wanted in their own countries." Luyiga Faridah

      #ActToSaveMothers #commit2deliver #MDGMomentum #UNGA2014