Uganda has performed poorly on the Millennium Development Goal 5, with a maternal mortality ratio of 435/100,000. For this reason there is concern that the country may not attain the 2015 targets.
In response, the country developed a roadmap aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality: the government needs to take urgent action to increase the health budget for maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH).
At the Kampala summit in July 2010, the government again committed to take action to provide sustainable financing to meet the 15% Abuja target, especially for pregnant women and children under five. April 2011 marked the 10th anniversary of the Abuja Declaration that made this health financing commitment, but Uganda is still far from achieving it.
For every 100,000 new mothers, 435 die while giving birth. Sixteen women lose their life every day in Uganda while giving birth, 13.7 per cent of children die before their fifth birthday. Over 50 per cent of HIV positive pregnant women cannot access PMTCT services in Uganda and 150,000 children in Uganda are HIV positive.
Failure to invest adequately in health accounts for 10 to 40 per cent of ill health in most countries and aggravates death, especially in children and women.
It is now five months since the maternal health petition was adjourned due to lack of a quorum in October 2011. Activists were disappointed and to date the government has not responded to the much awaited maternal health petition Number 16 of 2011, which was last heard on 28th of September 2011.
Lawyer David Kabanda is worried. “This is a constitutional requirement that the petition must be heard by judges. They informed us that they have been relocating and so many things have been disorganized so they will let us know the date later but as activists we are still pushing and waiting because women are still dying.
“16 women are the figures we have today but new cases are coming up so we expected that the court can hear this petition and come up with a judgment to remedy the situation we face today in Uganda. It is disappointing because we were talking and negotiating to have a date in any upcoming session. We shall be waiting for another date,” he adds.
Many Ugandans had a hope that for the women’s day celebrations government will find ways of reducing the number of women dying in the country.
Meanwhile the president of Uganda warned people about teaching sex education in schools, because it just teaches children to learn sex in bedrooms.