Uganda has celebrated a significant reduction in its Maternal Mortality Rate, dropping from 108 to 90 per 100,000 live births. The country has also seen a decrease in Neonatal Mortality, down from 27 to 18 per 1,000 live births. These statistics were disclosed by Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, during the ongoing 3rd National Safe Motherhood Conference at Speke Resort Munyonyo. The conference is under the theme, “Reach Every Mother, Reach Every Newborn.”
Dr. Atwine convened with a team of scientists, academicians, frontline health workers, local government representatives, and development and implementing partners to review the progress made, identify critical challenges, and establish suitable strategies to enhance safe motherhood practices.
The substantial improvement in maternal and neonatal health outcomes is primarily attributed to the enhanced accessibility of maternal health services.
Dr. Atwine elaborated on the advancements, noting, “In the past five years, we have increased the number of Health Center IIIs by 411 facilities, with 380 being upgraded from Health Center IIs, and 31 newly established facilities. Moreover, we have elevated ten Health Center IVs from Health Center IIIs. Additionally, 400 Health Center III facilities have been equipped with basic Maternal and Child management equipment, and another 40 previously non-functional Health Center IIIs have been fully revitalized.”
Dr. Atwine also recognized the dedication of health workers and the support extended by partners as crucial in driving this remarkable improvement. However, she called for the necessity to address the underlying factors responsible for maternal and neonatal mortality, which continue to affect the nation.
“We must address issues such as absenteeism and negligence among some health workers, the involvement of traditional birth attendants, teenage pregnancies (contributing to 12% of maternal mortality), malaria, delays in accessing care, and inadequate emergency response, which can lead to complications like haemorrhage,” Dr Diana added.
It’s worth noting that the statistics shared by Dr. Atwine were drawn from the Annual Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response Reports (MPDSR reports), which offer insights into institutional care levels annually. These statistics stand distinct from routine data and survey statistics provided by the Uganda Demographic Survey report, which is conducted every five years.