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Government plans to tame maternal deaths by 6,000

An expectant mother is induced into anaesthesia before she is taken through the caesarean-section procedure. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA- Ministry of Health plans to save an additional 6,350 maternal lives in the next five years, prevent maternal mortality and improve health and quality life of women.

Dr Jesca Nsungwa, the Commissioner for Child Health at the Ministry of Health, on Tuesday, July 30, said this move will enable the country to achieve global targets of 2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030.

Despite the progress that was noted in a global maternal mortality survey published in a British medical journal, Uganda still experiences the world’s highest number of maternal deaths.

The Uganda Demographic and Health Survey of 2016, indicates that the number of mothers who die while giving birth has reduced from 438 to 368 deaths per 100, 000 live births.

WHO says the 336 deaths per 100,000 live births, the country’s maternal mortality rate is still among the highest on the continent and that the five leading causes of death include communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, respiratory tract infections, and diarrheal diseases.

“To end preventable maternal, newborn child and adolescent deaths and improve the health and quality of life of women, adolescents and children in Uganda, we want to save an additional 6,350 mothers, 30,600 newborns and 57,600 children (2-59 months) live over the five years,” said Dr Nsungwa.

Dr Nsungwa made the remarks at a media dialogue on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health in Kampala where she represented Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the State Minister for Primary Healthcare.

The ministry intends to end preventable maternal, newborn, child and adolescent deaths by undertaking the five strategic shifts of the sharpened plan and investment case that include emphasising evidence based on high impact solutions, increasing access for high burden populations, geographical focusing and addressing the broader multi-sectoral context.

“Because we have limited resources we want to go where deaths are happening the most,” Dr Nsungwa said.

Mr Robert Odedo, the chief operating officer at the African Centre for Global Health and Social transformation, appealed for an increase in the number of midwives in health centres in order to reduce the burden of maternal mortality.

He said Uganda is among the countries in the world that have an unacceptably high level of maternal deaths.

Currently, the ministry is focusing on functionalising health centre IVs to cater to mothers who develop life-threatening complications.

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