Thursday May 8 2014

Uganda second best place in EA for mothers

Ms Christine Kahwa Yemina breast feeds her baby Joslyn Ahuriza

Ms Christine Kahwa Yemina breast feeds her baby Joslyn Ahuriza at a health centre in Hoima District last month. Photo by Stephen Wandera  

By Agatha Ayebazibwe

Kampala- If you are looking for the best place to be a mother in East Africa, go to Rwanda.
If you are in Uganda, don’t despair, however, because you are in the second safest country to be a mother in the region.

But don’t celebrate yet as the report on the state of world mothers also ranks Uganda as one of the 35 worst places to be a mother on earth. Rwanda is also among the 60 worst countries for mothers.

The State of the World’s Mother’s 2014 report released on Tuesday by Save the Children, an international NGO focusing on maternal and child health, considered five indicators; maternal health, children’s well-being, educational status, economic and political status of each country.

In East Africa, Rwanda was ranked number one while it takes the 121st position out of 178 countries compared. Uganda stands at 133 globally, making it one of the 35 worst places to be a mother.

In East Africa, Uganda is followed by Tanzania (135) in third position, Kenya (143), Burundi (147) and South Sudan (158) in the fourth, fifth and sixth position respectively.
According to Mr Patrick Aliganyira, the programme specialist for Save Newborn lives project at the NGO, Uganda provides a relatively safer environment for pregnant mothers and their newborns compared to other East African countries.

However, Ms Robina Biteyi, the national coordinator White Ribbon Alliance, an organisation focusing on safe motherhood, said little is being done to reduce maternal and child mortality.

About 16 women in the country die daily while giving birth.
Ms Biteyi said the same report ranks Uganda number 133 globally and also ranked among the 35 unsafe countries for mothers.

“It’s not comforting because we are being ranked with other poorly performing countries. We are not making progress and our maternal mortality is actually going high,” Ms Biteyi said, urging the government to allocate more funds, recruit health workers and make health facilities safe.

According to the report, Mauritius which is in the 54th position globally is the best place to be a mother in Africa followed by Libya, Tunisia and Angola.
Finland on the other hand, is the safest country for mothers in the world, according to the mothers’ index ranking for 2014.

It emerged best performer on all the five indicators of maternal and child health, as well as political, economic and education fronts.
Somalia is the worst since it was ranked 178th among the 178 countries surveyed.
The report further highlights the plight of mothers and children in humanitarian emergency situations.

Mr Aliganyira said the government should make a work plan on how to specifically respond to pregnant women and babies in times of crises such as floods, landslides, and war because they have special needs that if not responded to appropriately, increase maternal and child mortality.