10 May 2010

Uganda: Men Are Key in Helping Reduce Death of Mothers - First Lady

Kampala — MEN can take part in curbing maternal mortality rates in Uganda by being fathers to their children as early as conception or before, through planning for their children says the First Lady, Janet Museveni.

She said this during the launch of a two-month campaign for accelerated reduction of maternal mortality in Uganda (CARMMA), on May 5, Namboole Stadium. The campaign is spearheaded by the Ministry of Health in partnership with then United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA), Save the Children in Uganda and other partners.

It is a national response to the African Union-initiated campaign which was launched at continental level in Addis Ababa during a meeting of health ministers in July 2009.

Ten other countries within sub-Saharan Africa have also launched the campaign.

Mrs. Museveni explained that men accompanying their pregnant wives for antenatal visits and deliveries, helping them achieve the nutritional status they need is far more important than paying school fees, which is when men presume that true parenting starts.

The launch of the campaign coincided with the International Day of Midwives. Abigail Kyei of the International Confederation of Midwives, said to achieve the millenium development goal 5 - reduction of maternal mortality rate - more midwives have to be trained and equipped to promote safe motherhood.

Dr Richard Nduhura, the state minister for health, said the ratio of maternal death in Uganda is 435 deaths per 100,000 live births.

He said these deaths stem from delays at home, cultural and religious practices that bar women from seeking medical help and early marriages, which can all be avoided. Ignorance about the danger signs during pregnancy and delayed intervention are other causes .

The UN family pledged to support national efforts towards the appropriate training and recruitment of midwives and boost the morale of those working to ensure that women access health centres for deliveries and family planning in rural areas where there is dire need.

"The status of women leaves a lot to be desired much as the government has done a lot to ameliorate it," said Hon Janet Museveni.

UNFPA and the Government have joined hands to improve on the midwifery services in the country. Mrs. Museveni said strengthening health facilities by well equipping and well staffing, coupled with improving the terms and conditions of the health workers will also see maternal death take a downward trend.

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