Prioritise fight against infant mortality

Written by: 
Eronie Kamukama

According to a recent report, 70,000 babies in Uganda die within one month of birth every year. Most of these deaths are a result of poor facilitation of health centres which indicates that a lot is still lacking in the health sector.  In the NRM Manifesto for 2011-2016, the NRM stated that it advocates for health for all Ugandan people and that its policy was to prevent preventable diseases. This is a good policy but what is its use if nothing much is being done to implement it? A year after 2011 elections in a 2012 report by World Health Organization, statistics revealed that Uganda had the highest rate of Infant mortality in East Africa. Uganda had 131 deaths per 1000 live births from 76 deaths per 1000 births in 2011. In the same report, most of the deaths from Uganda were caused by malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition yet these are diseases that can easily be prevented or treated.

Unless the government enforces reforms in the health sector, its efforts to create efficient service delivery will come to nothing. There has been an increase in number of health workers from 56% in 2010 to 69% in 2014 according to the Ministry of Health annual health sector report but there is need to monitor and evaluate their performance. More health facilities should be constructed and well equipped to cater for children’s needs especially in rural areas. Workers, especially in hard-to-reach areas should be motivated by paying them a salary that can sustain their lives. Hospital administrators should ensure drugs are available and given to sick infants. Parents should be sensitized on importance of immunization, proper sanitation and nutrition. Ugandans are glad that investment in the health sector has increased but government must prioritize fight against infant mortality because every child has a right, not just to life but a healthy one.