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Rates down but Uganda's maternal mortality still high

Donors have lauded Uganda government's efforts and interventions to bring down the under-five mortality rate from 109 to 53 deaths per 1,000 live births between 2006-2016.

But at 336 deaths per 100,000 live births, the country’s maternal mortality rate is still among the highest on the continent and in the world. As such, minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng has called on stakeholders to work out strategies that would bring the rates further down.

“As we meet today, we shall review and come up with innovative measures that will sustain the interventions supported by the Saving Mothers Giving Life programme, celebrate our success and share the lessons we learnt since the first implementation in 2012,” she said during the National Saving Mothers and Giving Life (SMGL) dissemination meeting at Protea hotel in Kampala today.

A mother with her newly born baby. Many mothers are not so lucky to survive through child birth

Aceng said the relative success is attributed to Saving Mothers Giving Life model implemented through Local Government structures to bring positive change in the districts.

“We have trained the Village Health Team workers, recruiting new health workers, refurbishing health facilities, availability of transport system to have quality services in these districts,” she said.

“We can only celebrate when there is no mother or child dies during labour,”

US Ambassador Deborah Malac said they have joined the celebrations for launching the SMGL since every two minutes a woman dies somewhere in the world during pregnancy or childbirth.

“We are here because an estimated 80 per cent of maternal and newborn deaths are preventable with the implementation of known evidenced-based, high-impact interventions. We want to save that 80 per cent,” she said.

Malac said, the governments of Ethiopia, India and the United States of America convened the child survival call to Action in Washington D.C to revive the global child survival movement.

“Since then, over 178 governments including Uganda and hundreds of civil society and faith based organisations have signed ‘A Promise Renewed' pledge, vowing to do anything to stop women and children from dying of causes that are easily avoidable during child birth,” she said.

“As of 2016, 41 per cent of all pregnancies in Uganda were unintended. 25 per cent of women in Uganda have had their first child by age 18 and we all know that childbirth for teenagers is much more fraught with risk than those in their 20s and 30s,” she says.

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