Nov 2, 2015

Landmark court decision against Ugandan Government may finally improve maternal health

AUTHOR:Asia RussellSOURCE:The Guardian

Unfortunately maternal and neonatal health services have long been neglected in Uganda. Even though the Ugandan constitution guarantees that 'essential health services' be available to save a woman's life in pregnancy and childbirth, the law has not been enforced. In 2011, Life for Mothers was in Uganda when a lawsuit was filed against the government regarding 2 women who died during childbirth. Civil society along with academics and the Center for Health, Human Rights and Development joined forces to compel government to implement the policy. The government argued that only the executive branch has the power to change health policy and that the judicial branch none. The lower court dismissed the case in 2012. Only after years of sustained efforts the Supreme Court finally heard the the case and in an unanimous decision on October 20 2015 compelled the lower court to hear the case. Certainly this is a victory for the women and people of Uganda, albeit small, it is a step forward and highlights the need to increase access to health services, as well as demonstrating the lack of political will. If the will to save women was in place that would have obviated the need for any litigation. Imagine how many women's lives could have been saved over the 5 years (16 pregnant women die each day in Uganda)! We can only hope that these actions will lead to a paradigm shift for the country and women will receive health services. The world community needs to keep these issues alive and publicized.To access the complete 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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