By Geoffrey Mutegeki Araali
The Ugandan government should allocate more funding to the health sector to improve maternal health, World Health Organisation (WHO) country director Dr Johquim Saweka has said.
Speaking during the commemoration of the World Safe Motherhood Day in Kyenjojo District last Wednesday, Dr Saweka commended the government for providing an additional Shs49.5 billion to the health budget. However, he said more funds were still required.
“I congratulate the parliament and government of Uganda for the efforts made to increase budget allocations to the health sector. I call upon the government to increase more funding so as to make it possible to realise the functionality of health centre IVs and district hospitals,” Dr Saweka said.
He added: “Special attention is also required to ensure commodities for maternal health are available at the lowest levels of care where women first go for health services.”
Dr Saweka said improving maternal and child health requires political commitment, involvement of all stakeholders and the right strategies. He also called on the government to do more to alleviate poverty.
“Unless something is done about extreme poverty in our villages, communities and households, all the talk about scaling up best practices will amount to nothing,” he said.
Dr Saweka also urged people to practice family planning.
“We will only achieve both economic and social growth and better health if we can plan pregnancies so that babies come when parents have appropriately planned. There is evidence that family planning can save mothers’ lives by reducing risk pregnancies and maternal mortality,” he said.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah cautioned leaders against politicising interventions by various organisations to improve maternal and child health.