Sentamu explained that he will make an effort to increase the number of rotary clubs in Uganda and Tanzania and encourage members to conduct and embrace blood donation drives.
The newly installed rotary governor for District 9211 – which takes in Uganda and Tanzania – has outlined his priorities, placing improvement of maternal and child health high on his agenda.
Francis Xavier Sentamu was installed on April 28 ahead of the start of rotary year on July 1. An incoming rotary president is announced three years in advance, serving one year as governor nominee, the second as governor elect and governor in the third year.
Sentamu told New Vision on Tuesday that improving maternal health will be top on the list of areas of focus during his one year governorship. Other areas of intervention that rotary focuses on include disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, peace and conflict prevention and resolution, economic development and basic education and literacy.
“We focus on six areas, but my major focus is going to be on maternal and child health. It is very unfortunate that women continue to die while giving birth; some enter labour suits and do not leave alive. We can do small things to bring about change,” he added.
Sentamu explained that he will make an effort to increase the number of rotary clubs in Uganda and Tanzania and encourage members to conduct and embrace blood donation drives. There are 113 rotary clubs and 130 rotaract clubs (for people aged between 18 and 30 years) in Uganda currently. District 9211 comprises 4,300 rotarians today, of these, 3,600 are Ugandans.
The geographical size of the rotary district is determined by the population of rotarians and number of clubs. The number of members in a rotary District is limited at about 4,000 members. Previously, District 9211 comprised Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan.
“Our District is the fastest growing on the continent and fifth fastest growing in the world. We set up a blood bank at Mengo Hospital and it has made a big contribution in improving access to blood for patients,” Sentamu said.
He added that 2o ultrasound machines will be distributed under rotary movement to health facilities during his tenure. Sentamu, formally a lecturer at the Makerere University and Makerere University Business School, also intends to recruit more people into rotary and ensure each district and municipality gets a rotary club.
“We supplement on what governments do. We want to make more people aware of the little things they can do to improve their lives. We need the people to get involved in efforts to address challenges in their communities. That is why I want to get more people in rotary clubs,” he said. The outgoing governor is Sharmila Bhatt, a Tanzanian.
According to the health ministry, infant mortality rate stands at 43 per 1000 livebirths and (mortality rate under five) at 64 per 1000 livebirths.
In addition, maternal mortality ratio stands currently at 336 per 100,000. Statistics also show that the inpatient malaria deaths have decreased to 9.38 per 100,000 from 20 per 100,000 between 2016 and 2017.
An analysis of the national health accounts shows that Uganda earns spend over sh1trillon on treatment on preventable disease each year.