A government report has emphasised that Uganda's progress in attaining Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, remains slow, especially in achieving universal primary education (UPE), infant mortality and maternal health.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report for Uganda 2013 was today launched by Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka, at Golf Course hotel, Kampala.
The report notes that although the country has reduced the number of people locked in extreme poverty and hunger, there is a soaring income inequality, which is likely to trigger conflicts. The report shows that goal number two of achieving UPE, shows that enrolment numbers have shot up but quality and low completion rates remain a big challenge.
"Dropout rates and grade repetition remains high. It is unlikely that all Ugandan children will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling by 2015," the report reads.
After decades of leading the global efforts to halt and bring down the spread of HIV/Aids, the report notes that Uganda is currently experiencing a worrying reversal of trends. Recent statistics indicate that 353 new infections take place every day while 60,000 Ugandans die every year of HIV/Aids.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, said Uganda needed to step up its efforts to achieve the goals.
"Trends in maternal mortality and HIV/Aids are particularly worrying, given their direct impact on the lives of so many Ugandans, particularly the future generation," she said. "As we talk, before the end of today [today] 16 women will have died during pregnancy and child birth. In most cases the [deaths] could have been prevented."
On maternal health, Eziakonwa-Onochie, said three strategic, low-cost and high-dividend interventions could significantly help - family planning, skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care.
More specifically, these interventions need to be targeted at making health centre IVs fully functional, providing support to a functional, motivated and community-based health workforce, the village health team and addressing the twin problem of teenage pregnancy and early marriages.
But Finance Minister Kiwanuka said Uganda was focusing on infrastructure development as one way of achieving the MDG targets.
The UNDP, in conjunction with Makerere University's department of Journalism and Communication, recognised seven Ugandan journalists for their outstanding reporting on humanitarian and development issues affecting the country.
The Observer's Edward Ssekika emerged the overall winner in the print category, for his outstanding story titled, Agriculture praised as central but starved of government funding, published in August this year. He received a certificate and a cash prize of Shs 3m.
Other winners in the print category were Stephen Ssenkaaba (New Vision) and Francis Mugerwa (Daily Monitor) as first and second runners-up respectively.
Solomon Sserwanja (NTV) was the overall winner in electronic category ahead of Fred Mugira (Radio West), Michael Wambi and Patience Atuhaire both from Uganda Radio Network (URN). Chris Kiwawulo and Gerald Tenywa both from New Vision won in the online category.
The overall winners were given a cash prize of Shs 3m while the first and second runners-up were given Shs 2m and Shs 1m respectively..