For the last two days I have been on a trip with the US Mission in Uganda to tour health projects that the US government supports in western Uganda. Two districts of Kyenjojo and Kabarole are somewhere the areas where the US government is partnering with different health facilities to support an ambitious government plan to reduce maternal deaths in four western Uganda districts by 50 percent by end of 2012. In the two days we visited 7 health centres including a regional referral hospital. Some were run by faith based organization, one privately owned and others government run.
Uganda has one of the highest maternal mortalities in the world. At 435 mothers per 100,000 live births that translates to 16 mothers a day.
Over the years the Uganda’s political leadership have found a scapegoat in health workers blaming them for the poor healthcare delivery system despite wide research on what many see as a crumbling health system.
On the trip was President Barack Obama’s top official in charge of health at the State Department, Lois Quam who heads the Global Health Initiative (GHI).
GHI was brought in when President Obama assumed office to ensure a coordinated foreign health support.
The US government has concentrated on maternal health in these districts that have some infrastructure to gauge what difference their interventions can bring.
The programmes are on voluntary family planning, skilled care at birth as well as emergency obstetric and postpartum care. The American government provide over $400 million annually in health assistance to Uganda.
I met great doctors and health workers who work with so little to save lives. Their stories I will run in the next few days.
I was able to talk to Christopher Dorval, Senior Advisor; Strategy and External Relations at the Global Health Initiative. He says to make a big reduction in numbers of women dying due pregnancy complications, Uganda leaders must show political will. Continue reading