White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, Uganda
- Capital City
- Lifetime risk of maternal death
- 1 in 49
- Maternal Mortality Ratio
- Births attended by skilled personnel
White Ribbon Alliance Uganda (WRA Uganda) formed over a decade ago to give a voice to the women at risk of dying in childbirth. Our mission is to inspire and convene advocates who campaign to uphold the right of all women to be safe and healthy before, during and after childbirth. We help citizens recognize their rights and hold the government to account for commitments made to maternal and newborn health.
CURRENT CAMPAIGNIn Uganda, adolescent pregnancy robs girls of their potential and causes the death or disability of thousands of young girls and newborns every year. Teenage pregnancy has negative consequences for the young mother, child, family, community and nation.
- 1 in 4 girls in Uganda aged 15-19 is already a mother or pregnant with her first child. The teenage pregnancy rate is 24% (UDHS 2011).
- A young girl is twice as likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth compared to a mature woman in her 20s (UNFPA 2013).
- Babies born to adolescent mothers face a 50% higher risk of being stillborn or dying in the first few weeks than those born to mothers aged 20 to 24 years old (WHO 2015).
- 34% of teen girls drop out of school due to pregnancy, according to a survey on re-entry of pregnant girls in primary and secondary schools in Uganda (FAWE 2011). Early pregnancy is the biggest reason students leave secondary school, according to a study conducted by the Ministry of Education and Sports. WRA Uganda recently launched the national "Act Now to End Teenage Pregnancy" campaign. The campaign unites voices of key stakeholders in reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health at national and sub-national levels. The campaign is youth driven under the umbrella of Africa Youth and Adolescents Health Network on Population and Development – Uganda Chapter, with youth engaging, advocating, and demanding that decision makers are held accountable for improved adolescent sexual and reproductive health.
- All sub-county and county health centers will provide basic emergency obstetric and newborn care services (BEmONC).
- Half of county health centers will provide comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care (CEmONC) services. By 2013, despite the government’s commitment, health centers across Uganda remained understaffed and ill-equipped, with women continuing to travel many miles to receive lifesaving care. Further evidence was needed to identify the main barriers to providing care, thus White Ribbon Alliance Uganda (WRA Uganda) brought together district leaders, community members, midwives, and district health officers. They conducted interviews with health workers and citizens in 43 government-funded health centers in three districts in the central, western, and northern parts of the country. The assessment uncovered shocking gaps and shortfalls in the provision and availability of the most basic emergency obstetric and newborn care services across all three districts.
One key objective of the campaign is to convince Ministries of Health, Education and Gender of the need to work together to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to reduce adolescent pregnancies. WRA Uganda’s activities to date have focused on galvanizing public opinion, especially of young Ugandan citizens, and working with policy makers to raise the issue of adolescent pregnancies up the political agenda. The impact of the activities so far has been very exciting and the campaign has quickly gained momentum and garnered the support of politicians and Ugandan citizens alike.
Four district meetings were convened with the purpose of introducing the campaign to a wider scope of stakeholders, mobilize support, and secure commitments for community and citizen actions. Specifically, WRA Uganda successfully worked with its members in Lira, Mityana, Buikwe and Butaleja districts to organize and convene meetings which included political leaders, district technical leaders, representatives from schools, religious and cultural representatives, media, adolescents and teen mothers.
Many stakeholders pledged to provide support to the campaign and various commitments were made. For example, WRA Uganda secured political support from district leaders, and many people committed to collect signatures to petition the Prime Minister for developing a multi-sector plan.
PAST SUCCESSESIn Uganda, 17 mothers and 106 newborns die every day due in part to inadequate government investment in life-saving emergency obstetric and newborn care. In 2011, WRA Uganda advocated to the Government of Uganda to make a commitment to the United Nation’s Every Woman, Every Child movement. In response, the Government committed to ensuring that by 2015:
WRA Uganda united its members to strategize and launch “Act Now to Save Mothers,” a campaign calling on the government to deliver on its commitment. WRA mobilized citizens to demand their rights, and supported policymakers to respond to these demands. In each district, WRA Uganda engaged citizens in health facility assessments, supported them to influence the planning and budgeting process through petitions, and trained citizen reporters to monitor progress and budget allocations. At the national level, WRA Uganda worked with policymakers to ensure that petitions signed by thousands of citizens were delivered and acted upon by the parliament.
As a result of this campaign, the Government of Uganda accelerated progress on its commitment and more women now have access to lifesaving emergency obstetric and newborn care. One of the top health officials at Kebisoni Health Center said: “As an approach, social accountability has helped us a lot. We now have an additional two midwives, and the number of women seeking maternal services has increased.”
- Citizens Claim – And Enjoy – Their Rights To Life-Saving Services April 10, 2017
- How One Woman’s Tragedy Shows Maternal Deaths Are Preventable April 6, 2017
- Looming Health Care Shortages Spark Fears of More Maternal Deaths in Africa March 29, 2017
- MP launches anti-early pregnancy campaign August 29, 2016
- Teenage pregnancy still sharp thorn in government’s side August 10, 2016
- A plan to reduce teenage pregnancies June 16, 2016
- Moving from dialogue to action May 26, 2016
- UGANDA: ALIGNING LOCAL AND NATIONAL CONCERN FOR MATERNAL HEALTH January 25, 2016
- ‘The child died as he was born, in between my legs’ January 19, 2016
- Health Center in Rural Uganda is defying the odds by standing out December 29, 2015
- Community member equipped with new skills September 12, 2015
- CITIZEN REPORTER TRAINING IN UGANDA August 27, 2015
- Mobilising to demand progress on reproductive health May 14, 2015
- The battle for better maternal health care in Uganda March 17, 2015
- Graft claims hit Uganda medic export scheme February 10, 2015
- Civil society opposes health workers’ export February 9, 2015
- In Uganda, saving newborns January 7, 2015
- In Uganda, public health facilities lack resuscitation devices November 20, 2014