By Grace Amme & Raymond Baguma
The Ministry of Health and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) have launched a one-year national campaign to reduce the number of Ugandan teenage mothers who die while giving birth.
Addressing journalists at the ministry’s boardroom on Thursday, the state minister for health Sarah Opendi said that the ministry targets to reduce maternal mortality .
Ahead of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) deadline, Uganda has made progress in reducing maternal mortality from 550/100,000 live births, down to 438/100,000 live births.
However, minister Opendi said despite the improvements, maternal mortality remains high with about 6,000 women dying every year due to pregnancy and related complications.
Further, according to the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) of 2011, of the 6,000 mothers who die from birth-related complications, about 24 percent of them are teenagers.
This translates into 1,440 teenage mothers dying during childbirth.
“The ministry of health has identified teenage pregnancies as one of the causes of this high maternal mortality,” said minister Opendi."
“Teenage pregnancy implies that the individual is carrying a baby while she is still below the age of 18. This makes her prone to experiencing many risks that endanger her health and that of her unborn baby,” added Opendi.