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Northern Uganda and West Nile Regions, 22 April: Fourteen districts in the Northern and West Nile regions of Uganda have received fuel vouchers worth UGX 67.6 million (approx. USD 17,835) for ambulances to transport mothers to health facilities so they can deliver safely, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, there are 61 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Uganda. The Government of Uganda is determined to contain the pandemic, taking very bold steps including a nationwide lockdown, announced by President Yoweri Museveni, four days after the first case was confirmed on 21st March.

However, many expectant mothers have struggled to access maternity care due to challenges with public transport. As a result, there has been a sharp decrease in the number of women delivering from health facilities, putting them at risk of experiencing complications during delivery, and even death.

UNFPA is supporting District Local Governments in Northern and West Nile regions of Uganda to address the second delay that leads to maternal deaths – the delay for a mother in labour to reach a health facility due to lack of transport or failure to afford the cost of transportation; as well as the third delay in receiving adequate health care due to inadequate referral systems and lack of medical supplies.

Source: The numbers are picked from the District Health Information System 2 (DHIS II).

 “In this difficult time for all, let's do everything in our power to ensure that mothers are able to access skilled health care while giving birth and also keep their newborns safe,” said Mr. Alain Sibenaler, UNFPA Representative in Uganda.

The emergency obstetric care support programme was launched early this week by the Local Council V (LCV) Chairperson of Koboko district, Mr. Hassani Nginya, who is also the overall West Nile Leaders’ Forum Chairperson.

The support also includes facilitation for district leaders and technical staff to provide the necessary support supervision for lower local governments. Local Council (LC) 1 Chairpersons and Village Health Teams (VHTs) will ensure that all pregnant women in their area are registered, monitored and supported to access essential maternal health care services.

Health Centre staff including clinicians and midwives have also been supported to provide the necessary care and follow up before, during and after obstetric management and referral.

“We thank UNFPA for this focused support and pledge that the intended beneficiaries will be served,” said, Dr. Denis Oloya, the District Health Officer (DHO), Koboko.

An estimated 5,400 babies are born in Uganda every day, according to Amidst the growing COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to stand firm and ensure the health and dignity of mothers, ensuring safe births, everywhere.

  • Compiled by Denis Bakomeza and Simon Ichumar /UNFPA Uganda