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Health Minister commends UN and partners for more safe birth as more women embrace Family Planning, skilled delivery

By Evelyn Kiapi, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

The number of mothers dying during childbirth has gone down following more women using family planning and delivering at a health facility under skilled care. The latest figures contained in the 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) reveal that pregnancy-related deaths have steadily been declining from 524 in 2001 to 438 in 2011, and now stand at 368 per 100,000 live births.

Uganda’s Health Minister Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng attributed this progress to concerted efforts by Government of Uganda, Development Partners including the United Nations Family, CAUM and other Non-Government Organizations, to provide high impact maternal, newborn and child health interventions in the under-served and hard-to-reach districts of Karamoja and South Western Uganda.

“It is motivating to the people in the health sector to see that the investments by Government and development partners have yielded good results,” said Dr. Aceng said, in her ending remarks at the launch of the preliminary report in Kampala, March 14, 2017.

According to the survey report, the proportion of women attended to by a skilled provider while giving birth has increased over the years, from 45 percent in 2006 to 58 percent in 2011 and now at 74 percent in 2016. Similarly, the proportion of women giving birth in a health facility has increased from 42 percent in 2006 to 57 percent in 2011 and now at 73 percent in the 2016 UDHS.

First Deputy Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Moses Ali (7th from left); Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng (6th from left); UNFPA Country Representative, Mr. Alain Sibenaler (7th from right); and UNICEF Representative, Ms. Aida Girma (6th from right) at the launch of the preliminary report the 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) in Kampala, 14th March 2017

Dr. Aceng specifically commended the health workers: “Health workers are the unsung heroes behind this work, without them we wouldn’t see an improvement in our indicators,” she said.

The report further showed that 58 percent of the total demand for family planning is being met with 39 percent cent of married women and 51 percent of sexually unmarried women in Uganda using a contraceptive method. This is an increase from 2011 where 24 percent of all women (30 percent of married women, and 52 percent of sexually active unmarried women) were using some method of contraception.

The UDHS is an important household-based survey that collects data which supports the formulation of the country’s development policies and programmes. “Up-to-date population data is indispensable for any country’s development as information on the people, their geographical distribution, their age and sex composition, their location, and other key characteristics is critical,” said Mr. Alain Sibenaler, UNFPA Country Representative.

Technical and financial support for the 2016 UDHS was provided by the Government of Uganda, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Technical support to ensure quality of the survey and build local capacity was provided by ICF International (USA).

At the launch, key findings were presented, a comprehensive analysis of the survey data will be presented in a final report to be published in mid-2017.

UN Agencies in Uganda