Women MPs Demand Action From Govt Over Maternal Deaths

Women Members of Parliament have vowed to block the passing of supplementary budgets and the National Budget that is soon to be tabled without the component of improving the health sector specifically with outstanding efforts geared to reduction of maternal deaths and presentation of the government’s plan towards the health sector.

Female legislators in parliament recently
Female legislators in parliament recently

Women MPs also resolved not only to block the passing of the 2013-2014 National Budget, but to also block any supplementary budget that Government will come up with unless it is a health sector supplementary or it indicates government’s fulfillment of the 15% funding of the health sector that was agreed on in the Abuja declaration which Uganda’s government was party to.

The resolutions made by the legislators came up after a delegation from FIDA Uganda that is currently taking up a case of a parliamentary staff Remmy Wamala who died over the weekend in International Hospital Kampala (IHK) a private entity. She died in child labour. The delegation had presented a report regarding the increased number of maternal deaths arising out of negligence of doctors in both private and public hospitals as well as the inadequate qualified human resource and medical facilities.

Sylivia Namabidde Ssinabulya, the Chairperson of the Network for Women Ministers and Parliamentarians and MP for Mityana, said that leaders tend to focus on unproductive issues yet countries that previously had high maternal deaths like Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania have managed to lower them because there is political will.

She revealed the legislators plan to meet the president not to provide them with money but to appeal to him to give more attention to the sector and to make sure that even the little money appropriated to the sector is not mismanaged.

Women activists under FIDA Uganda noted that apart from inadequate funding of the health sector, government should consider putting up a monitoring mechanism for both public and private health facilities to ensure that they meet the required standards and also appoint qualified medical practioners.

Berna Bakkidde, a board member with FIDA, decried the inadequate human resource in private facilities in terms of qualified and experienced doctors and midwives which she said has increased the risk of maternal deaths and also the non-supervision of private health facilities by Government which has resulted into unprofessionalism of health workers in handling expectant mothers.

She appealed to the Ministry of health to institute an investigation into the high rate of maternal deaths in private health facilities.

This comes after Parliament mourning the passing on Remmy Wamala, formally a staff with the Parliamentary Children’s Forum and resolved to form an adhoc committee to investigate matters concerning her death, investigation of IHK where she passed on and also carry other maternal related matters, parliament also compelled the Minister of health to present the measures taken by government to implementing the budget that was passed last year on health in regard to recruitment of staff.

Betty Amongi, the Chairperson of Uganda Women Parliamentarians (UWOPA), noted that they have written to the speaker requesting a meeting with the president to find out what more can be done to avert maternal deaths and the procedure on implementation of the millennium development goals.

Article 33 (3) of the Constitution of Uganda requires the Government to protect women and their rights taking into account their unique status and natural maternal functions in society.

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