Tuesday, November 25, 2008

News Article Prioritize maternal healthcare, First Lady tells policy makers

Prioritise maternal healthcare, First Lady tells policy makers

Publication date: Monday, 24th November, 2008

The New Vision (Uganda)

By Anthony Bugembe

LEADERS and policy makers from developing countries should address the high maternal and infant mortality rates.

This, according to the First Lady, Janet Museveni, will help to achieve sustainable development as the causes of the mortality are largely preventable.

“We cannot just sit back and watch as our women continue to die during pregnancy and child birth,” said the First Lady.

Mrs. Museveni was yesterday opening an international forum on population and development at the Imperial Royale Hotel that attracted political leaders and experts from 24 developing countries.

The health minister, Dr. Stephen Mallinga, decried Uganda’s poor progress on most health and social indicators.

“We still have a low contraceptive prevalence rate at 24%, low supervised deliveries at only 39%, high infant and maternal mortality at 76 and 435 respectively.”

“Although we have considerably reduced HIV prevalence to 6.4%, HIV/AIDS remains an epidemic in our country,” he said.

Mrs. Museveni said that Ugandan women continue to face risks during pregnancy and child birth.

“Uganda loses 6,000 women per year during pregnancy and child birth. These poor and powerless women continue to die, year in year out, most of them in remote villages.”

“For every woman who dies in pregnancy and child birth, six others survive but with chronic debilitating injuries and ill-health,” she said.

Mallinga noted: “As countries of the south, we need to realise that we have somewhat similar backgrounds. We should act in concert to promote a common health agenda.”

The theme for the conference is, ‘ICPD@15: Progress and prospects’. It is reviewing the progress of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in 1994 in Cairo, Egypt.

“While we need to find new champions for family planning and promote greater resource mobilisation for reproductive health programmes, we need perhaps more importantly to re-inforce political commiments and promote good governance,” said Harry Jooseery, executive director, Partners in Population and Development (PPD).

Besides Reproductive health, the conference will address new concerns like food crisis and human security, climate change and environmental degradation and review the south-to-south cooperation as a modality of change.

Jotham Musinguzi, the PPD chief for Africa, said governments pledged at the 2000 Abuja declarationto commit 15% of national budgets towards health.

This article can be found on-line at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/661183

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