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Midwives critical in improving maternal, child health - Mrs Museveni

By Vision Reporter

Added 10th April 2015 09:51 PM

The First Lady, Mrs Janet Museveni has launched the midwives4all campaign in Uganda and applauded the Swedish Government for highlighting the role of midwives in reducing maternal and child deaths.

Midwives critical in improving maternal, child health - Mrs Museveni

The First Lady, Mrs Janet Museveni has launched the midwives4all campaign in Uganda and applauded the Swedish Government for highlighting the role of midwives in reducing maternal and child deaths.

By Taddeo Bwambale                                

The First Lady, Mrs Janet Museveni has launched the midwives4all campaign in Uganda and applauded the Swedish Government for highlighting the role of midwives in reducing maternal and child deaths.

The six-week global campaign is an initiative of the Swedish Foreign Ministry for Affairs to mobilise communities, influence policy makers and attract young people to join midwifery in countries with a heavy burden of maternal and newborn mortality.

Uganda is one of seven embassies of Sweden that are participating in the ‘midwives4all’ campaign.

The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda, Urban Andersson said the purpose of the campaign was to spark greater discussion on the benefits of investing in the midwifery workforce.

“Expanding the ranks of well-trained midwives, working alongside other health professionals, could save thousands of lives every year,” the envoy stated.



First Lady Janet Museveni being welcomed by the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, Urban Andersson for the Midwives4all launch . PHOTO/Maria Wamala


In Uganda, only 50% of births are with the assistance of a trained midwife, making it difficult to prevent deaths resulting from pregnancy-related complications. At least 20 women die during pregnancy or child birth daily.

Narrating the experience of his country, Andersson said in one century, Sweden was able to cut maternal deaths from 900 per 100,000 live births from 1751 to 230 by 1851 by focusing on the midwife.

He said the new campaign would explore how countries like Uganda can realise the Millenium Development Goals 4 and 5 of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health.

He hailed government for reintroducing professional midwifery courses in the majority of the country’s training schools, as well as taking steps to improve remuneration and training for health workers in hard-to-reach areas.

The campaign is expected to help attract more young people to become midwives and make a difference in their communities.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign at the ambassodor’s Kololo residence on Wednesday, Mrs Museveni who is also the patron of the Campaign for Safe Motherhood, said the new campaign was timely since Uganda is one of many countries still faced with a deficit of midwives.

“As you know the cause of maternal and child health has become the most challenging topic in our health sector. Therefore, the midwives4all campaign, whose objective is to fast-track and increase the number of midwives in Uganda and the whole world, is right. It is timely and must be saluted,” she stated.

She noted that training, employment and retention of midwives in health facilities was the single most important investment in the struggle to reduce maternal and child health.

Uganda has a 36% deficit in the number of midwives and the gap is wider in rural areas. The North eastern, western and Karamoja regions are most affected.

Whereas the World Health Organisation recommends an average of 175 births by a midwife annually, a Ugandan midwife attends to 350-500 women, signifying a high workload.

Drawing cue from Sweden, she observed that the Nordic country achieved one of the best health indicators in the world by focusing on increasing the number of midwives.

The First Lady explained that government had initiated a bursary fund for districts with the highest midwife staffing deficit in the Karamoja region, in collaboration with partners.



First Lady Janet Museveni chats with some of the champions of midwives4all campaign (L-R) Dr. Sylvester Arinaitwe, local music artist Juliana Kanyomozi and Prof Magid Kajimu after launching a six-week ‘midwives4all’ Campaign.  PHOTO/Maria Wamala

“The initiative is already contributing towards reducing the gap in the number of midwives in the region. Though the numbers are still small, the spinoffs are substantial,” she noted.

Out of 40 students inspired to enroll for midwifery under the pilot project in three districts of Karamoja, eight have completed training and are set to be deployed in their home districts.

At one health facility in Kotido district, where a midwife was posted, deliveries rose from an average of three women per month in 2009 to 42 by 2011.

Mrs Museveni pledged government support to ensure that the campaign is successful and paid tribute to midwives.

Vision Group, will run a series of radio talk shows to raise awareness about the role of midwives in increasing access to life-saving care to women and babies.

Seven personalities were unveiled to be champions for the Uganda campaign.

They include retired professor and consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Florence Mirembe, World and Olympic champion, Stephen Kiprotich; state minister for health (general duties) ,Dr Chris Baryomunsi; Prof Majid Kagimu from the Uganda Muslim Medical Association; CatherineMwesigwa, a journalist and New Vision deputy editor; singer Juliana Kanyomozi; and Rev Dr Sylvester Arinaitwe, the executive director of the Uganda Joint Christian Council.


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