MTN Kampala Marathon seeks to curb maternal and neonatal deaths

Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) president Dominic Otucet (R) introducing 2022 Commonwealth gold medalist Victor Kiplangat (extreme left) and 2020 Olympic steeplechase champion Peruth Chemutai at the media launch of the MTN Kampala Marathon. PHOTO/MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

What you need to know:

The biggest athletics outing in the country, returns November 20 for the first time since 2019 and proceeds will be used to equip neonatal and maternity facilities in Kampala, Kaabong in Karamoja and Kachumbala in Teso sub-region.


Every year, 3600 babies die in Kampala, within the first 28 days after birth. That is 70 deaths every week, 10 every day, KCCA executive director Dorothy Kisaka said at the launch of the Kampala Marathon yesterday.

To put the neonatal deaths in perspective, Dr Dan Okello, KCCA director of public health, said if those babies were to be loaded in taxis, Jinja Road will be jammed.

“Are we angry enough for the 10 babies we lose every day?” Okello demanded, to amplify this year’s theme: Run For Babies. “I hope this time we shall be and come in big numbers to fight this cause.”

The biggest athletics outing in the country, returns November 20 for the first time since 2019 and proceeds will be used to equip neonatal and maternity facilities in Kampala, Kaabong in Karamoja and Kachumbala in Teso sub-region.

Most neonatal deaths result from asphyxiation—the state of being deprived of oxygen, which can result in unconsciousness or death. Dr Okello told Daily Monitor that many mothers are trapped due to unnecessary delays during and after labour, “hence the need for more oxygen facilities.”

The last 16 editions since 2004 have attracted a total of Shs4.5b which has been dedicated to several humanitarian causes and this year new MTN CEO Sylvia Mulinge, said anything in the region of Shs1.5b expected from over 25000 participants projected to turn up, will be a solid start towards saving mothers and their new-borns.

One of the billboards promoting the event show a bearded man running, with a baby at his back. “We chose men to send a message that the fight to save babies cannot be left to women. It’s a collective effort for all,” Mulinge said.

A total of Shs300m has been put aside as prize money and will be apportioned according to the number of kilometres won. For instance, the winner of the 42km race will bag Shs42m irrespective of their gender.

Dominic Otucet, the president Uganda Athletics federation said they have invited elite athletes across East Africa, who must confirm participation by the end of October.

Besides the usual 42km, 21km, and the 10km wheelchair races, the event will also be a family day as children will enjoy bouncy castles, face painting.

Registration started yesterday October 10, while the kits will be available from November 8 to 16.


DETAILS 

PRIZE MONEY: Shs300m

PROJECTED TURN-UP: 25000


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