By Fred Ouma
THE health ministry needs at least sh40billion every year to reduce maternal and newborn deaths but currently receives only sh80million, minister Dr. Stephen Mallinga has said. This, said Mallinga, is only 0.2% of the required amount.
Presenting the roadmap to reduced maternal and newborn deaths at Kampala Serena Hotel, Mallinga regretted that childbirth, which should be an event of celebration, many times turns tragic when life is lost.
The chief guest, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga observed that maternal health should be considered a national priority for which more funds should be diverted from other ministries to address the unnecessary predicament faced by women. â€œIn the past we have successfully diverted funds for security, State House and most recently CHOGM, why not mothers now?â€ she asked
The ceremony was attended by MPs, government officials and development partners. Health experts described the high maternal mortality rates as a national emergency, and identified emergency obstetric care, family planning and skilled attendance as key intervention to sustain the current decline of the rates to 300 per 100,000 live births or below by 2010.
The 2006 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey showed that women, who die due to pregnancy complications, have slightly declined from 527 in 1995 to 435 per 100,000 in 2006 , while children, who died before their first birthday, have reduced from 88 to 76 deaths per 1000 lives births.