Pregnancy shouldn’t be a death sentence

On Friday, September 30th, 2019, activists stormed the streets and matched to the constitutional court to demand justice under constitutional Petition 16

According to activists, losing 16 women every day is outrageous and something should be done

Every day, approximately 16 women die from childbirth and pregnancy-related causes. Some of these deaths can be controlled by health workers. However, some health workers are reluctantly leading to these many deaths every day

The center for health, human rights and development opened up a petition in 2011, Petition 16, to fight this great evil. Petition 16 was a case filed against the government of Uganda for not meeting the standards of Maternal health services. Although a petition was filed, justice was not met. Women continue to die in hospitals due to poor services and the reluctance of the health workers

Uganda’s Health Sector still faces a number of challenges ranging from a huge disease burden of non-communicable diseases, limited infrastructural facilities, to limited financial and human capital

All women have a right to good health services but health workers continue to neglect them and maybe the Government is not monitoring the situation in hospitals. Some women die due to insufficient funds to access good medical attention, and some expectant mothers stay from the health centers. In public hospitals like Mulago, Maternal Health services are supposed to be free but there is still a lack of enough midwives and medication

Few hospitals in Uganda match up to good maternal health services and these are mainly private hospitals. This makes it harder for the poor to access these services thus they flock from public hospitals.

Due to a large number of people in need of services, the number of health workers is few thus many of the women are left without medical attention

We all believe that access to reliable pre and post-natal care is a right that every woman deserves and yet every year hundreds of women around the country die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth

Although the deaths of these women are pinned on the irresponsibility of the government and health workers, expectant mothers have a role to play in this. They are supposed to prepare for birth and plan for delivery. This helps health workers to help them effectively when it’s time for delivery. If a mother lacks all the necessary tools for delivery, a health worker cannot be in a position to help

The constitutional petition No. 16 is supposed to improve the standards of maternal health services for all but what if it’s not only about maternal health standards? Let it be a call to all expectant mothers, health workers and the government to take action, it is a collective effort and when all the involved parties unite against this burden, maternal deaths will be curbed

There is a need for more Ambulances, more skilled health workers, more public hospitals and lifesaving technology to rural communities in Uganda


Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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