UNICEF has recently outlined Uganda as one of the few sub-Saharan countries that have made strides in reducing maternal and child health cases, especially child morality. The 2018 report titled ‘‘Every child alive, the urgent need to end newborn deaths’’ , indicated that Uganda is the second best country after Rwanda in East Africa, with 21 deaths of every 1,000 babies before their first month.
Maternal and child health
The health ministry indicated that though there are a number of interventions to drop the rates to zero newborn deaths. According to the ministry’s 2018 quarterly District Health Information System on maternal and child health, 19,846 (64%) of the 33,078 pregnant women in Acholi and only 19,846 (60%) of 33,078 women in West Nile go for their fourth antenatal care. The same report indicated 26,736 (87%) of 30,742 deliveries in Acholi and 25,967 (60%) of 43,549 deliveries in West Nile are attended to at health facilities during reporting period.
To solve the problem, the district health officers (DHOs) and chief administrative officers (CAO) from Acholi and West Nile have welcomed a project titled Strengthening Maternal, Newborn, Child Health and Nutrition implemented by AVSI. The one-year project is supported by UNICEF, with sh3.2b from Korea International Co-operation Agency (KOICA) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The project that will be running in Agago, Kitgum, Pader, Maracha, Nebbi, Packwach and Zombo is aimed at strengthening district health teams and local governments to plan, implement and monitor high quality and equity-focused interventions for maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition.
The project will improve the capacity of health facilities to provide a range of essential maternal, neonatal, child health and nutrition services, newborn and antenatal care, deliveries, postnatal care and integrated community case management. It will also focus on community awareness, demand, acceptance and utilisation of the available services. Through this project, we will sensitises traditional birth attendants on the dangers of mothers not delivering at health facilities.
Dr Lawrence Ojom, AVSI Uganda health programmes director