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Uganda: Govt asked to increase health budget

Uganda: Govt asked to increase health budget
Petride Mudoola
March 4, 2013
Newborn News

This article was originally published in New Vision

The Government has been asked to increase financial resources for healthcare if Uganda is to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

The national coordinator of White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, Robina Biteyi, said according to the Abuja declaration, Uganda committed itself to allocate 15% of the National Budget to the health sector, but the health budget is still at 9%.

“Much as the maternal mortality ratio has gone down, it will be difficult to achieve the target set by the Millennium Development Goals because Uganda ought to have reduced the maternal Mortality ratio to 131 per 100,000 live births by 2015, she said.

The Uganda Demographic Health Survey reports indicate that the current maternal mortality rate is 435 per 100,000 live births. Even if the ratio is reduced to 350, there is still a long way to reach the expected target.

Biteyi noted that, 16 women die every day in Uganda due to complications related to pregnancy and child birth.

Uganda has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in sub-Saharan Africa, with half of its girls giving birth before the age of 18.

According to research carried out by the White Ribbon Alliance, only 42% of births are assisted by a skilled health provider and 63% of women in rural areas give birth at home.

“Some mothers opt to give birth at home with the assistance of traditional birth attendants because they do not appreciate the benefits of delivering at health facilities due to lack of medical equipment,” Biteyi noted.

Increasing funding to the health sector will help ensure that health facilities have the necessary equipment. This will improve service delivery and reduce the mortality rate, she added.