The activists have asked the Supreme Court to hear their petition seeking to compel the Government to provide essential adequate kits in referral hospitals.
By Hillary Nsambu
Human rights activists for improved maternal health services have asked the Supreme Court to hear their petition seeking to compel the Government to provide essential adequate kits in referral hospitals for the mothers’ safe deliveries.
The activists, who congregate under the umbrella of Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), appealed to the Supreme Court after the Constitutional Court rejected their petition branding it “a political question doctrine”.
The Constitutional Court in 2012 ruled that the petition did not fall within its mandate of interpreting the Constitution but; a preserve of the Executive and the Legislature and, therefore rejected it.
However, the petitioners through their lawyers Pro Peter Mukidi Walubiri and David Kabanda blamed the Constitutional Court for refusing to hear their petition on its merits.
However, when the court convened yesterday, Senior Principal State Attorney Patricia Mutesi, who represented the Attorney General, asked the court for an adjournment of the appeal, saying that she was indisposed and as such she was unable to reply to the appeal effectively.
Justices Bart Katureebe, Esther Kisaakye-Kitimbo, Jotham Tumwesigye, John Wilson Tsekooko, Benjamin Odoki, Christine Nakaseeta-Kitumba and Galdino Magellan Okello presided over the court.
The lawyers told the court that the petitioners were challenging the Constitutional Court for referring to the petition rejecting their petition citing politics.
They told the court that their petition was not political but after saving mothers who are in very precarious situation for lack of adequate equipment and elementary kits on health centres and Government referral hospitals that would ensure safe deliveries of their babies.
They said that they were seeking courts’ intervention not on political basis, but in their efforts to reduce the high maternal mortality rates that is rampant throughout the country because of lack of provisions of essential maternal commodities in health centres and Government referral hospitals.
They are also seeking court’s declarations that the right to have the highest attainable standards of health is a constitutional right for all Ugandans without discrimination. That inadequate human resource for maternal health and lack of emergency obstetric services at health centres and referral hospitals is a violation of mothers’ right to good health.
The appellants also seek declaration that Government’s failure to provide basic maternal health care kits in state referral hospitals, resulting into death of expectant mothers and their children is a gross violation of their inherent right to life.
The court allowed the adjournment of the appeal and directed the lawyers to present written submissions. They would give their judgment on notice.
Maternal health activists appeal to Supreme Court