On May 15th 1989 my mother, Resty Nakanwagi, passed from this life, leaving me and my older siblings motherless. A sadder detail is that she left a new born baby because she died in child birth. In my native toungue, Luganda, giving birth is refered to as a woman’s fight. How true that is! Fast forward 24 years later – 2013: September, 23 year old Florence Nakamya lost her life in child birth while in labour in Mukono, a municipality of Uganda; August, 21-year-old Janet Aloyo lost her baby and died in Gulu Regional Referral Hospital corridors. Sylvia Nalubowa (Mityana), Jennifer Anguko (Arua) … One would think so many years down the road the story would be different – hopeful, changed.
Millenium Development Goal number 5 is to improve Maternal health being the one would think it would be better. With 2015 closing in, the deadline for these goals, the report is not a good one. According to the UNDP, maternal mortality has declined by nearly half since 1990, but falls far short of the MDG target. The progress reports note that Despite good progress, Africa still has the greatest burden of child and maternal deaths.
In Uganda some petitioners have sued the government for allegedly failing to prevent maternal deaths and this case is yet to be heard. One can only ask what is the hope for all these women? Can these unnecessary deaths be avoided? If so where is the solution. If not? Where does the problem lie?