Uganda aims to cut maternal deaths

KAMPALA, UGANDA- Uganda last week launched a major national drive to end maternal and child deaths across the country.As part of the global ‘Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed’ movement, the Vice President Edward Ssekandi, unveiled a sharpened plan that aims to prevent an additional 40 per cent of Under 5 deaths and 26 per cent of maternal deaths by 2017.

This sharpened plan is a critical step forward in Uganda’s efforts to eliminate preventable child and maternal deaths,” Ssekandi said.“We now call on all levels of Government, civil society, the private sector, community leaders and the international community to come together to vigorously implement this plan so that we soon have a future where no Ugandan child and mother unnecessarily dies from preventable causes.”The sharpened plan, projected to cost $682 million over the next four years, envisions five strategic shifts of focusing geographically on areas with the highest number of child and maternal deaths.
It will also focus on increasing access of health services to deprived and vulnerable populations and emphasizing high impact interventions that target the direct causes of death.

The plan will address the broader educational, economic and environmental context and strengthening mutual accountability.
“These strategic shifts represent a new way of doing business in Uganda’s health sector,” said Health Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.
 “With the potential of saving the lives of an additional 120,000 children and 6,100 women by 2017, over and above those who would be saved on the current path, all health partners across Uganda must now work together in earnest to adopt and implement them.”
By increasing the high impact interventions called for in the plan, it is projected that the Under 5 Mortality Rate will fall from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2011 to 53 deaths/1,000 live births in 2017, while the Maternal Mortality Rate will fall from 438 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2011 to 211 deaths/100,000 live births in 2017.

“If effectively implemented, this plan will greatly accelerate progress towards Uganda’s child and maternal mortality – MDG 4 and 5 – targets by 2015,” said the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie.
“Having identified child and maternal health as a priority area of focus in Uganda, the United Nations now looks forward to providing its full support to implement this plan so that those children and women who are most at risk of perishing across the country can and will survive,”  Ms. Onochie said.