Rotary International President launches Maternal & Child Program at Kawempe Referral Hospital

Kawempe, Uganda; Uganda continues to make remarkable progress in improving the health of women and children. The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) for women aged 15-49 has slightly improved from 438 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2011 to 336 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2016, according to UBOS’s latest data. Regardless of the slight improvement, the mortality of mothers is still unacceptably high with one woman out of every 49 women dying from maternal complication related to pregnancy or delivery.

The coming of the COVID-19 pandemic, the responses thereafter has not only over stretched the existing healthy system of Uganda, but it also has negatively impacted maternal, child and neonatal health with the biggest and longest lasting impact seen in increase in teen pregnancies, complications of pregnancy, stillbirths and low birth weight infants likely due to delayed care-seeking behavior.

To support maternal child health care, Rotary International District 9213, an arm in the international service organization that is non-political and nonreligious this morning launched the Maternal & Child Program at the Kawempe Referral Hospital.

Rotary International President, Shekhar Mehta (C), First Lady Rashi Mehta (R) pose with other delegates of District 9213 after launching the MCH Program at Kawempe Hospital in Kampala

The launch was led by the Rotary International President, Shekhar Mehta together with the coordinator of the program in Uganda, past president of the Rotary Club of Bukoto, Mercy Kainobwisho.

Speaking at the launch, the Rotary International President said any impactful Maternal and Child Health Program calls for not only strategic partnership with a multitude of stakeholders but also collaborative efforts and interventions to support the Government of Uganda and private sector endeavors in saving mothers and children. Hence the mantra of “Saving mothers and children together”.

He said ‘I am privileged to be here as Rotary International District 9213 starts the implementation of its multi-year signature Maternal and Child program in the vulnerable communities of Uganda whose situation has been exacerbated by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank all partners and stakeholders who agreed to become part of this life-saving initiative’

Mercy Kainobwoisho, the coordinator of the maternal & child program said she was glad Rotary International had placed their efforts in ensuring that the lives of mothers, their health and their children was priority. ‘The successful implementation of the program being launched today is anticipated to increase planned pregnancies and respectful antenatal attendance; reduce maternal and newborn mortality and severe morbidity, reduce perinatal mortality and child mortality while ensuring safe deliveries for many mothers who choose Kawempe Hospital. I want to thank Rotary District 9213, our partners, government of Uganda for supporting us make this contribution’ Kainobwisho said.

Rotary International President , Shekhar Mehta (C), Maternal & Child Program Coordinator Mercy Kainobwisho (3rd R) in a group photo after the launch of the program the Kawempe Referral Hospital

The main five areas under this MCH program include empowering adolescent girls and young women, supporting Antenatal Care (ANC), delivering and post-partum women and children under age five, enhancing capacity and motivation of MCH workers, enhancing advocacy through awareness creation for communities and infrastructure development.

The launched maternal & child program is also hinged on the Strategic Development Goals (SDGs) which call for a major reduction in maternal, neonatal, and child mortality and universal access to sexual and reproductive health services by 2030.  It is believed the implementation of this signature MCH program dubbed “Saving mothers and children together” by Rotary International’s District 9213 reinforces the attainment of this global maternal and child health goal at local levels.

The launch of the program was also addressed by the executive director of Kawempe Referral Hospital, Dr. Nehemiah Katusiime, Stanbic Bank Uganda CEO, Anne Juuko.

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