Presidential candidate Warren Kizza Besigye has promised to make maternity care a priority if he is elected in the Uganda poll today, writes White Ribbon Alliance Citizen Journalist Williams Moi.

While Campaigning in Oyam district and in various venues of Lango sub Region in Northern Uganda on Monday evening, Besigye expressed his deep regret that 19 mothers die every day in Uganda due to lack of good quality maternity care.

As one of Uganda’s presidential aspirants in this 2016 general election, Besigye has said that he would invest in maternal health services. Besigye promised that if he is elected to the Presidency, he will ensure that neither newborns nor mothers will die from preventable causes while giving birth.

“We must invest in maternal health care services and to make sure the health centres staff their facilities so that every mother can attend Antenatal Natal Care (ANC),” he said.  He also stressed the importance of self-care and personal responsibility: “every mother should have prepared their kit ready for the birth, what we call the ‘Mama kit’ which has items all mother needs during delivery.’’

Besigye added that after delivery he would give all mothers a maternity pack, to include what the mother and the newborn needs for the first month after birth. ‘’These measures will go a long way to secure our mothers and also their newborns, because so many of them die at delivery and during the first months after birth” said Besigye. “I want to invest more in maternal health and social services.”

‘’The mothers die not because they are sick but simply because they lack skilled care while giving life to young ones. Women just want their children born safely. We must pay specific attention to our mothers; to lose 19 per day during birth and afterwards is really scandalous. In addition,  40% of Ugandan children are stunted, not just physically but in brain development. Lack of nutrition is a disaster for the country. We want to invest in immunisation and hygiene as well, to ensure every home handles hygiene carefully, not sharing accommodation with animals such as pigs and goats.”

Besigye is also concerned about the high number of widows and orphans in Uganda left behind by war, and many who are becoming infected with HIV/AIDS.
‘’We want to focus on preventive health care and health education. I plan to provide good programmes and resources for Ugandans to address their plight especially on maternal health.”

If Besigye is elected, White Ribbon Alliance Uganda will be holding the new President to account for his promises.