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UWOPA Tasks Gov't on Health Budget

Opendi raised concern about the alarming rate at which mothers are dying for causes that can be easily detected and treated. "We have seen a lot of funds that have been put aside to fight death caused by COVID-19, in a similar way we want to request the government to put money in ending these maternal deaths,” said Opendi.
Sarah Opendi, the UWOPA chairperson and others addressing Journalists.

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Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) has asked the government to realign its priorities and find money to boost the budget of the health sector in order to effectively fight maternal mortality, which they said is rampant.  

Led by their Chairperson, Sarah Opendi, the legislators told journalists during a media briefing on Tuesday that the proposed health sector budget for the next financial year 2022/2023 is deficient despite the increasing reports of maternal deaths, inadequate medicines, and supplies in health facilities.

Opendi raised concern about the alarming rate at which mothers are dying for causes that can be easily detected and treated. "We have seen a lot of funds that have been put aside to fight death caused by COVID-19, in a similar way we want to request the government to put money in ending these maternal deaths,” said Opendi. 

The Tororo Woman MP requested the government to avail adequate resources to address the gaps in maternal health provision.

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Under the Budget Framework Paper for the next financial year 2022/2023, the government proposes to allocate the health sector Shillings 2.2 trillion. 

Recently, Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng tabled a complaint before the Budget Committee of parliament regarding several cuts in the health sector budget, which she said will undermine service delivery.

Hope Nakazibwe, the Mubende Woman MP, said that the mortality deaths in the country are preventable but it is surprising that the health budget has been reduced, something that further complicates access to medical services.

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The MPs cited the Uganda Bureau of Statistics report 2021, which puts maternal deaths at 338 per 10,000 live births. “This is on a higher side, why should we experience it? We need to wake up and handle it. We have another situation, teenage pregnancy now contributes 17 percent of maternal mortality," said Henry Kibalya, the Bugabula South MP.

Kibalya added that UWOPA needs to see President Yoweri Museveni and his cabinet come out strong against maternal death as they did in the fight against COVID-19. He said that the health sector needs a special budget for maternal services. 

Opendi also criticized the corruption tendencies in health facilities where pregnant mothers are asked to pay money before they are attended to. She said that some health workers ask for money ranging from between Shillings 300,000 and1 million.

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