Activists have demanded urgent Government action to end preventable maternal deaths. The Constitutional Court hearing of Petition No. 16 of 2011 scheduled for the 7th of July at 9.30 am, was not heard. The petition argues that by not providing essential medical commodities and services to pregnant women, government is violating the constitutional rights of Ugandans including the right to health, right to life and the rights of women.

Highlighting the death of a mother in Mityana district Sylvia Nalubowa, and a district Councilor in Arua, Jannifer Anguko who both died while giving birth due to negligence of health workers, the Petitioner Ms. Nakibuuka Noor for this case from Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) had made a case.

It was unfortunate that no judge came to have this case heard; this has forced concerned Ugandans to storm court. She adds that, it was communicated by the registrar of the constitutional court that the case could not be heard due to lack of quorum, however it should be noted that this is a human rights case which is supposed to be heard expeditiously.

Many reports of maternal deaths have been reported across the country since the ground breaking case of Sylvia and Jennifer (deceased) case was filed on 3rd March 2011. This is a continuous violation of human rights, it is a shame, government is not making the health of Ugandans and women a priority, the lawyers are saying they were not saved, and have just got to know now. “We are tired, the more court postpones the better to set ourselves, the higher risks and more deaths, empty words cannot work, let us hope that the constitutional court will understand the unacceptable plight that expectant mothers face in Uganda.” Says Hilda Kironde of Uganda community based association for child welfare.

The leading causes of maternal death in Uganda include the massive shortage of trained health workers to attend to births, lack of access to emergency obstetric care for responding to hemorrhage, lack of access to quality antenatal care, and lack of access to family planning services.
If the government of Uganda provides these services in time and in all health centers, and referral hospitals, then this would reduce the death of 16 women every day during child birth in Uganda.
Source: Partners Uganda eforum 2011

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