The first lady, Ms Janet Museveni, has called upon health workers to carefully handle mothers during child delivery to reduce cases of maternal and child mortality in the country while at the same time lowering the avoidable causes.
Citing carelessness and negligence as some of the causes of maternal death, Ms Janet Museveni said health workers are trained to save lives whether with or without equipment in the hospital or drugs.
“I have visited countries which are not blessed as Uganda is but their social systems function better than ours. Most of the mothers do not die because of circumstances beyond our control, they are avoidable but because people do not know that saving lives and mothers in particular is a calling,” she said.
Ms Museven was addressing leaders of 27 African countries at the official opening of the African Regional Consultation on achieving millennium Development goal 5 in kampala yesterday.
The two-day meeting brings together policymakers, advocates and researchers from across sub-Saharan Africa to reaffirm national and regional commitments to MDG 5 – reducing maternal mortality and ensuring universal access to reproductive health. The participants are expected to come up with best practices to foster women and girls’ health beyond 2015.
While Sub-Saharan Africa has made progress toward improving maternal, sexual and reproductive health, significant challenges still remain. Since 1990, maternal mortality has decreased by 26% across the region, but 39% of pregnancies are still unintended, and only 17% of married women of reproductive age use modern contraception.
According to the President of Women Deliver, a global advocacy organisation that brings together people from around the World to call for improved health and wellbeing of girls and women, Ms Jill Sheffield, a woman in sub-Saharan Africa has a 1 in 31 chance of dying during pregnancy or childbirth. At least 570 women die each day of pregnancy-related causes in Sub-Saharan Africa while in Uganda 16 women die daily.
In Uganda, data from UNFPA shows that only 26 per cent of women have access to modern family planning methods, 44 per cent of pregnancies are unintended while 40 percent of pregnant women attend ante-natal care. 66 per cent give birth without skilled birth attendance.
Whereas the government is struggling to reduce maternal and child mortality, which currently stand at 454 per 100,000 live births, and 54 per 1000 babies born respectively, Ms Museveni said that such government objectives can only be met as a result of the quality of people from whom leaders are derived.