Jun 1, 2011

Groundbreaking Case for Maternal Mortality in Uganda

AUTHOR:International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organisations

Legal action, in the form of a Constitutional Court Petition, was initiated on May 27th in Kampala, Arua and Mityana, the district in which Life for Mothers operates, to urge the Ugandan government to stop ignoring the deaths of as many as 16 women per day due to its refusal to increase spending for maternal health care. Currently, the Ugandan government spends just 50 cents per capita on maternal and child health, despite its promise to implement the World Health Organization’s “mother and baby package,” which specifies $1.40 per capita. The deaths of these women in Uganda result from a lack of trained medical professionals, ill-equipped clinics and maternity units, drug stock-outs, and a lack of access to emergency care for obstetric emergencies such as obstructed labor and hemorrhage, all factors LFM aims to remediate through its holistic model. Also cited is widespread corruption within the healthcare sector, where women are refused treatment and left to die if they are unable to pay bribes to nurses and doctors for care. The petition argues that the government’s unwillingness to increase spending to help prevent the deaths of mothers and children in childbirth “violates the fundamental obligation of the country to uphold the Constitution and defend, protect and promote the right to health and the right to life.”  Life for Mothers agrees. We are working in the Mityana District to implement a model that overcomes the deficits mentioned above while also maintaining an essential focus on making family planning options available to women of reproductive age. Increasing access to antenatal and emergency obstetric care must be executed in conjunction with efforts to curb the area’s remarkably high fertility rate in order to successfully create a functioning health system capable of sufficiently supporting maternal health and protecting lives of women throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period. To read the International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organizations’ article click here.

Did you know?

The leading causes of maternal deaths are hemorrhage, infections, unsafe abortions, high blood pressure leading to seizures, and obstructed labor.

Source:United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 2010

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