Urgent Evoke

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No woman should have to pay with her life to be a mother: HEALTH WORKERS

Hundreds of thousands of women, nearly all of them in developing countries, die in childbirth every year, but this does not have to be the case, says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, calling for global support for United Nations efforts to make motherhood safe for all.

“No woman should have to pay with her life for giving life,” he writes in an opinion piece published in the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman and several other media outlets, ahead of Mother’s Day, which will be celebrated in many countries this weekend.

Mr. Ban notes that saving mothers’ lives involves simple blood tests, a doctor’s consultation and someone qualified to help with the birth. The risk of death can almost be eliminated with the addition of some basic antibiotics, blood transfusions and a safe

In Uganda for example, health care services are still in a very poor state, mainly centered around the major cities and trading centers. People in the diaspora have to walk between 10 to 30 kilometers to access a basic health care unit like a clinic. Even though most of these are government owned, the facilities are not available in many of them. The private clinics are rather very expensive and with the immense poverty these are barely affordable.

This implies that roughly 80% of the pregnant women don't get access to proper health care during pregnancy.

In her speech at the healthy Mothers Healthy Nation Day organized by the Save the Mothers Programme at Uganda Christian University Campus Mukono on Saturday 6/03/2010 the First Lady of Uganda - Janet K. Museveni said that "the delays that lead to mothers dying include staying at home and delaying to take a decision to seek medical care, going to hospital at the very last minute and taking long to get appropriate care in the hospitals.
“None of these delays happen in isolation and the solution requires the entire community to become involved. Each one of us must play their role because saving mothers is beyond the doctors and midwives."

The First Lady Janet Museveni also said that most causes of Maternal Deaths can be prevented if everyone in the community plays their role to stop the delays encountered by mothers before they reach the hospitals.

On Wednesday, the First Lady, Mrs. Janet Museveni, launched the campaign for accelerated reduction of maternity, Newborn and Child Mortality in Uganda.

The drive, code named 'EVERYONE', was launched at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole, in Kampala. The ceremony was attended by the social affairs commissioner of the Africa Union, Biance Gawanas.

"There are indications that maternal mortality is reducing gradually. It is our responsibility to ensure that no other mother or child dies due to birth-related complications," Mrs. Museveni said.

Citing her experience in community service, Mrs. Museveni said the causes of maternal and infant mortality are preventable.

Inadequate access to antenatal care, lack of sufficient knowledge on family planning and poor nutrition for pregnant mothers, Mrs. Museveni added, were the lead cause of mortality.

She urged heath workers to ensure that no woman dies in child-birth.

Mrs. Museveni, who is also the Karamoja affairs state minister, said there is need to strengthen the health sector.

She also noted the need to increase health workers' salaries and supporting village health teams.

The First Lady noted a very important point here. The need to increase on the number of Community Health Workers. This would help reduce on the number of mortality rate for expecting mothers and infants.

The Secretary-General notes that in poor countries, pregnant women often must fend for themselves, with no healthcare and nowhere to turn. They give birth at home, perhaps with the help of a midwife who most likely has no medical training.

Last month, the UN launched a joint action plan with governments, businesses, foundations and civil society organizations to advance safe motherhood worldwide. Reducing maternal mortality by three quarters is among the ambitious targets world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Mr. Ban, who himself was born not in a hospital but at home in a small village in his native Republic of Korea, urges that everything be done to make motherhood safer for all and to end this “silent scandal.”

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