By Patson Bariare
FOR every woman who dies during child birth, another 20 to 30 suffer short and long-term physical disabilities.
If reduced by 50%, this could save the country up to sh500b by the year 2013.
This was revealed by Dr. John Kabera, a consultant on population and development, during workshop on unplanned pregnancies, abortion and post-abortion care in Uganda at Acacia Hotel in Mbarara recently.
The two-day workshop aimed at equipping the media with skills in reporting on maternal morbidity and mortality without causing stigma and influencing policy formulation towards unplanned pregnancies and post-abortion care.
â€œIf the Government increased political commitment and investment in family planning, substantial savings could be made.
Strengthening family planning services could also help Uganda achieve the Millennium Development Goal number five,â€ Kabera, who recently retired from the Population Secretariat, said.
He explained that as families start getting fewer children, the cost of meeting their needs, including maternal health, immunisation, sanitation, education and diseases, goes down.
He cited Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland, where fewer births had reduced maternal deaths and increased family incomes.
â€œSimple effective intervention like family planning methods can help Uganda have healthier women and break the cycle of poverty among poor families,â€ he added.
Dr. Raymond Tweheyo of Makerere University School of Public Health said family planning is key to the prevention of maternal deaths of up to 2,000 women a year.
He said cited the need to reduce unplanned pregnancies, which lead to abortion and death. â€œThis can only be achieved with increased funding, social support and expanding post-abortion care services,â€ Tweheyo said.
In order for the country to meet its health and development goals, he said, steps must be taken by the Government and other stakeholders to ensure good policy formulation and implementation.