Uganda: Find money for maternal health, says UWOPA
Members of Parliament under the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) have asked government to re-align its priorities and find money to fight maternal mortality which they said is on the increase.
UWOPA members said that the budget proposed for the health sector for financial year 2022/2023 is inadequate to address the escalating maternal deaths.
“Mothers in Uganda are dying at an alarming rate yet we know the causes. We want to request government to put in adequate resources and effort to address the gaps within provision of maternal health,” said Sarah Opendi, chairperson, UWOPA.
The proposed budget for the health sector for the financial year is Shs2.2 trillion, which translates into a decrease of Shs1.1 trillion for the financial year 2021/2022.
Citing the Uganda Bureau of Statistics report 2021, which puts maternal deaths at 338 per 10,000 live births, MPs said government needed to act fast and save pregnant mothers.
“This is on a higher side; why should we experience it? We need to wake up and handle it,” said Bugabula South MP, Henry Kibalya adding that “we have another situation, teenage pregnancy now contributes 17 percent to maternal mortality”.
Legislators proposed that since Covid-19 cases have reduced, the funds earlier allocated to fight the pandemic should be channeled to maternal health.
“We have seen a lot of funds that have been put a side to fight death caused by Covid, in a similar way we want to request government to avail funds in ending maternal deaths,” said Opendi.
MPs said that they want to see the President and Cabinet come out strong against maternal death as they did in the fight against Covid-19.
“Can we see President Museveni and mama Janet stand up and say the next struggle is ending maternal mortality such that we see a huge chunk of money going to maternal services?” asked Kibalya.
Kibalya said government has spent money in testing several development models such as operation wealth creation, emyooga and proposed that a special fund be set aside to fight maternal mortality.
UWOPA has proposed to government to revitalise an earlier campaign championed by President Museveni on maternal health, where all maternal deaths were audited and culpable health workers apprehended. They have also asked the Ministry of Health to set up a special toll free line where pregnant mothers can report cases of corruption.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.