Teenagers have a higher risk of health complications and death from pregnancy

Ms. Nakibuuka Noor

On Thursday, Center for human rights development held a national dialogue at Golf Course Hotel, Kampala which aimed at discussing the current state to maternal health, sharing challenges and role of the stakeholders in ensuring better maternal health in Uganda, and to track the progress on implementation of the 2011 Parliamentary resolutions on Maternal Health

The dialogue gathered different people from Civil Society Organisations, Lawyers, Consultants, media, Members of Parliament, Adolescents, Ministry of Health and other stakeholders. They are ensuring that all women have access to proper Maternal health services so as to have healthy pregnancies and safe deliveries in Uganda.

Uganda’s Maternal Mortality Rate is estimated at 336/100,000 live births translating in an estimated 6000 maternal deaths per year (UDHS 2016) and teenage pregnancy remains a major contributor to maternal and child mortality.

According to Cehurd, teenage childbearing has remained high at 25% despite the policies and strategies in place, and adolescents contribute 17.2% of Maternal deaths in Uganda.

On 15th, December 2011, the Parliament of Uganda adopted a landmark motion urging the government to address the country’s alarming rate of Maternal deaths and should consider compensating the families of victims ~ Ms. Nakibuuka Noor, Director of Programs, Cehurd.

The motion is a formal expression of Parliament’s position and expectations on a matter of national importance, and the motion is also a milestone in the advocacy for protection and promotion of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights ~ she added.

Parliamentarians remarked and demonstrated their commitment by presenting how far they had gone with implementing the 2011 parliamentary resolutions but the question today is; how far have we gone on improving maternal health in the country.

According to the Dr. Mihayo from Ministry of Health, there’s need to address the referral system in Uganda and all hospitals should have a community blood harvesting to save mother’s, and to reduce on the maternal deaths in the country, the government should focus more on adolescents because it is one of the strategies that will guide the health sector towards curbing maternal deaths.

There are hard areas to reach such as Islands; women face major challenges in accessing proper health facilities, people have to move from one island to another to get health care and this needs to be revised, and the Parliament of Uganda should task government through Ministry of Health to strictly enforce maternal death audits and take action on established causes ~ Ms. Esther Dhafha.

Children born to teenage mothers have a higher risk of dying due to the fact that teenage mothers are not prepared and old enough to provide child care. Maternal mortality is high among teenagers because they fear to go to health facilities for antenatal services.

Most young girls resort to abortion due to stigma and discrimination, and unfriendly health workers. Research shows that half of all unsafe abortions in Uganda are among young women aged 15-24 years. Unsafe abortions cause about 13% of all maternal deaths, with adolescents disproportionately affected.

Muzira Johnson, sexual reproductive health advocate said “Safe motherhood day is the only way to go in the reduction of Maternal deaths”

The Parliamentarians committed at ensuring the motion on urging the government to institute measures to address maternal mortality into an Act of Parliament

Let us make this Safe Motherhood Day a movement to help all women realize their health rights for respectful and respecting the women’s right to ask questions and seek all information they need to make informed decisions is key in ending Maternal deaths in Uganda

`Maternal deaths in Uganda is everyone’s concern’

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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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