White Ribbon Alliance

Photo1-Ms Robina Biteyi National Coordinator WRA Uganda handing-over petition to Hon  Sarah Opendi Minister of Health- Primary Health Care as other min

White Ribbon Alliance Uganda petitions Minister of Health

October 18, 2013

White Ribbon Alliance Uganda has petitioned the Minister of Health Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda over the increasing deaths of women during pregnancy and childbirth since 2006. They have attributed this to the government’s continued inadequate financial investment in maternal health.

The petition was handed-over to the State Minister for Primary Health Care Hon. Sarah Opendi Acheng by White Ribbon Alliance Uganda National Coordinator Robina Biteyi during the official National Safe Motherhood day commemoration. It was signed by over 800 Ugandans from districts of Kabale, Kampala, Wakiso, Lira, Kole, Mityana, Gulu and Apac.

In the petition, Ugandans argue that many pregnant women and newborns with life threatening complications in the country could be saved if they had access to Basic and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care services at Health Centres IIIs and IVs nearest to them.

It says, the only way to avoid these preventable and unnecessary deaths is by pregnant women having access to Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care services in a facility where, among other things, caesarean sections, surgical capability for uterine rupture and safe blood transfusions can be performed.

The petition reads, “Saving the lives of tens of thousands of our mothers and daughters and newborns is critical, it reduces suffering and builds successful, productive families and communities for now and the future. It will also create a more stable, secure society where all women and children’s lives are valued”.

The Government of Uganda committed to the UN Secretary General Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health (Every Woman Every Child) that it will ensure comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care increases in health centres IV from 17% to 50% and that basic emergency obstetric and newborn care services are available in all health centres (100%) by 2015, which is fast approaching.

Early this month, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda conducted a health facility assessment of the status of emergency obstetric and newborn care in Kabale district where the findings are shocking.

The preliminary findings show that none of the seven health centres IVs in Kabale district is providing comprehensive emergency obstetric care and women have to travel long distances from their villages to get access to life saving care at Kabale regional referral hospital

These Ugandans who signed the petition called on Government of Uganda to uphold its commitment and urgently fund these life-saving obstetric emergency care services by providing sufficient funds for basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care at HC IIIs and IVs respectively in the health sector budget for Financial Year 2014/2015 to ensure that these services are provided at these levels.

Minister for Primary Health Care Sarah Opendi Acheng who was greatly moved by the asks in the petition pledged to forward it to her senior minister. She thanked White Ribbon Alliance Uganda for its continued role of supplementing the ministry’s efforts in reducing maternal mortality.

White Ribbon Alliance is continuing to gather signatures to the petition to show the Minister that citizens are strengthening their call on the Government of Uganda to uphold its commitment and urgently fund life-saving emergency obstetric and newborn care services.

Robina Biteyi speaking to jornalists after presenting the petition to the minister at Boma Grounds Apac District

White Ribbon Alliance is continuing to collect evidence in Lira and Mityana districts to assess the level of emergency obstetric care in health centres in context with the Government commitment and use it to hold government accountable to its commitment. White Ribbon Alliance is leading a national advocacy campaign where community members, CSOs, professional health workers political leaders, media and the private sector have identified the key priority as EmONC to reduce maternal deaths in Uganda.

Emergency obstetric care must be prioritized. We can save our mothers lives. We need the political will to make this a reality- ACT NOW TO SAVE MOTHERS.

Join us in this campaign, sign the petition https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-government-of-uganda-stop-deaths-in-childbirth-increasing-provide-budget-for-emergency-life-saving-care-in-2014-2015-budget