UGANDA – Members of Parliament under the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) call for Ugandan government to allocate funding for maternal health.

UWOPA members stated that the health sector budget required more money to combat the increasing rate of maternal mortality in the country.

In addition, the legislators urged that the government needed to act fast and prioritize maternal health in order to save pregnant mothers.

According to World Bank figures, Uganda suffers a persistently high maternal mortality ratio currently at 336 per 100,000 live births which translates into 16 women dying every day during childbirth.

The main causes of maternal deaths were lack of basic maternal health commodities such as gloves, syringes, blood and medicines.

The Members of Parliament suggested that with the reduced Covid-19 cases, the funds previously budgeted to fight the pandemic should be transferred to maternal health.

Adding that the President and Cabinet should take a stand against maternal deaths as they have done to fight COVID-19 epidemic.

“Mothers in Uganda are dying at an alarming rate yet we know the causes. We want to request government to put in adequate resources and effort to address the gaps within provision of maternal health,” said Sarah Opendi, the chairperson of UWOPA.

She noted that the government greatly pushed for COVID-19 funds allocation and requested for the same energy to be reflected in availing funds to end maternal fatalities.

Ministry of Finance proposes health sector budget cut

Agitation for more funds by UWOPA comes at a time when Ministry of Finance is seeking to trim off UGX113.14 billion (US$31.96m) from the health sector budget to raise additional resources to fund national development projects.

The Committee on Health led by the Chairperson Dr Charles Ayume is however pushing for a reversal of this decision saying it will affect key interventions.

According to Ayume, the sector has several unfunded and underfunded priorities amounting to UGX1.8 trillion (US$508M).

Some of the affected items include: a funding gap of UGX27 billion (US$7.6M) to procure 100 vehicles for consultants, UGX50 billion (US$14.1M) to rehabilitate dilapidated health facilities, UGX70 billion (US$19.8M) to minimize stockout for essential medicines and health supplies.

Instead of budget cuts, the legislators proposed that since Covid-19 cases have reduced, the funds earlier allocated to fight the pandemic should be channeled to maternal health.

“We have seen a lot of funds that have been put a side to fight death caused by Covid-19, in a similar way we want to request government to avail funds in ending maternal deaths,” said Opendi.

MPs said that they want to see the President and Cabinet come out strong against maternal death as they did in the fight against Covid-19.

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