Today is Mother’s Day! This day was set aside to honour mothers, motherhood, the maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is therefore only right that as we remember our mothers for bringing us forth to the world, we also reflect on the challenges mothers face as they play this very important natural duty.
This week, Save the Children, an international organisation dedicated to the welfare of children, released its 14th State of the World’s Mothers Report. The report measures the best and worst countries to be born and to be a mother.
Using two indexes – the Birthday Risk Index that measures the chances of first day survival of new-born babies and the Mothers Index which measures the chances of mother and child wellness and survival – it ranks the best and worst countries to be a mother or to be born.
Uganda, as we may all have feared, is among the worst 50 countries to be born in and to be a mother. According to the report, 15,100 children in Uganda die on their very first day of life from causes that are 75 per cent preventable and avoidable! And equally bad, we lose an average of 130,900 children under five years, again majorly to preventable causes. And specifically for mothers, one in every 49 mothers is likely to die while giving birth!
These are unacceptable statistics and one would expect that the government, which must be fully aware of the magnitude of this problem would do all it takes to reverse this sad situation. Yet just a week to the release of this report, the government announced a huge cut in the ministry of Health budget to cater for ostentation of State House and Defence.
We invite our political leaders making such ignominious decisions to use this Mothers’ Day to reflect a little more on the dire situation facing our mothers, unborn and newly born children so their decisions are guided by not just their political survival but the survival and continuity of our society.
No mother deserves to die while bringing forth life and no new life should die when it could have been easily prevented.