The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Parliaments Vow to End Maternal Mortality

Global legislators under the Inter-Parliamentary Union will tomorrow make resolutions urging various parliaments in the world to address maternal health issues through their legislative powers. While drafting the report on maternal health, which will be presented to the IPU-plenary session tomorrow, legislators on the IPU standing committee on health proposed that national parliaments influence the access to maternal health through legislation and budgeting.

"We are calling up on our colleagues in the entire world to make use of their legislative powers to cause change and reduce the death of mothers who die everyday while giving birth," said Dr Lulume Bayiga (Buikwe South), the Ugandan delegate on the IPU health committee.

Maternal health and reduction of child mortality are some of the pertinent Millennium Development Goals that governments are called upon to achieve before 2015. Maternal and child mortality are evidently associated with lack of access to good health care services and poverty.Appreciating the fact that many IPU member countries have failed to make progress in alleviating maternal and child mortality, 159 parliaments congregating in Kampala want parliaments to lead the struggle.

"We are the people who make laws. It's time that we legislate to come up with such legal instruments to target the fight against maternal mortality," Lulume said, adding that legislators of the different parliaments should ensure that national resources are directed to the course of ensuring better health care services.

Addressing the Women Parliamentarians Assembly on Saturday, Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, urged female legislators to strive tirelessly to save the lives of dying mothers and children.

"We need to seek solutions to mitigate the death of 342,900 women who die every year due to pregnancy and child birth. This is an issue that affects women directly and as women we need to work tirelessly to stop this," she said.

Kadaga said that women should also participate in fighting poverty because it has a direct bearing on maternal deaths.

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