By Carol Kasujja and David Lumu
A Save the Children report indicates that Uganda is one of the worst places to be a mother.
At the launch of the State of the World’s Mothers Report 2014 at Imperial Royale Hotel, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the minister for Health, said Uganda ranks 133 out of the 178 country’s that were surveyed this year.
“This means we still have many gaps that we need to address,” he said.
The report notes that each day 16 women die trying to give life in Uganda while an estimated 800 mothers and 18,000 young children around the world die from largely preventable causes.
“In Uganda alone, around 16 mothers die every day, along with 106 newborns. These are alarming statistics that should not be ignored,” said Topher Mugumya, the director of emergency, communications and security at Save the Children.
However, Rugunda says that: “The NRM government is committed towards increasing the accessibility of healthcare in all parts Uganda. He also said efforts to ensure that “every newborn and mother survive the first day of life” are being amplified by the health ministry.
This year’s report examines the impact of humanitarian crises on maternal, newborn and child survival in countries considered to be the most difficult for mothers to survive.
The report that sampled countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and East, Latin America, Middle East and North Africa urges leaders in these countries to ensure that every mother and newborn living in crisis-prone areas has access to high quality care.
To achieve this high-quality health care index, the report recommends that governments invest in women and girls, build longer term resilience mechanisms to minimise both infant and maternal mortality, design emergency long term interventions and also ensure political engagement and adequate financing for research on how to prevent maternal and newborn deaths.
“Every country must be better prepared to assist mothers and children in emergencies,” the report notes.
Rugunda said the report would be used by government as working document for policy strategies and interventions in the quest to achieve the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 that emphasise the end of maternal and infant mortalities.
“The dramatic progress made in saving women’s and children’s lives and achieving MDGs 4 and 5 is at risk if we fail to reach [or save] these women and children,” he said.