By Vision reporter
UGANDA'S First Lady, Mrs. Janet Museveni, has said the struggle to save lives of women and newborns must continue.
She noted that the maternal mortality ratio in Uganda had changed minimally over the last 10 years and that 16 women still lost their lives daily and 45,000 newborns die every year as a result of preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
â€œWe must resolve to act now and change this unacceptable situation,â€ she said.
Mrs. Museveni was officiating at the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda Chapterâ€™s dinner in celebration of the 100th International Womenâ€™s Day at the Sheraton Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday.
She said the Government must take strategic actions to ensure that it prevents women from dying in the process of giving birth.
The measures, Mrs. Museveni added, include honouring its contribution of 15% of the national budget to the health sector, ensuring an adequate health infrastructure close to the people and equipping them.
She also called for training of adequate numbers of skilled health workers and improving their remuneration, plus stepping up provision of family planning services.
Mrs. Museveni called for increased awareness about the Government health services and the importance of accessing skilled health care during pregnancy, delivery and after delivery.
She added that as the Government continues to assist families to improve their household incomes, individual families must save some money to enable pregnant mothers access skilled care.
Mrs. Museveni said she hoped that the new Cabinet and Parliament would ensure allocation of adequate resources to the health sector so as to address maternal health needs, and called for concerted efforts of all Ugandans to champion the maternal health cause.
Primary health care state minister James Kakooza said the Government had borrowed $30m (about sh70b) for improving maternal health as part of meeting its commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goal 5.
Dr. Olive Ssentumbwe Mugisa, the chairperson of the White Ribbon Alliance Uganda Chapter, said Uganda had been ranked among the 22 African countries making progress in promoting maternal health.
The assistant country representative of the United Nations Population Fund, Dr. Ochan Wilfred, called upon the Government to make maternal health a priority by increasing investment in midwifery training and health infrastructure.
During the dinner, best journalists and media houses in maternal and newborn health reporting were awarded by the White Ribbon Alliance Uganda.
The White Ribbon Alliance is an international coalition of individuals and organisations working to make safe motherhood a priority in every country.Members from143 countries subscribe to the movement.