Rural maternal services still poor- Experts

Many women face life-threatening challenges during child birth in rural Uganda. The Uganda Demographics Health Survey (2016) estimated that there were 336 deaths per 100,000 live births – approximately 16 pregnant women die every day due to direct obstetric causes, like hemorrhage and hypertensive disorders.

According to Christine Namayanja, the Chief of Party of the USAID Uganda Voucher Plus Activity, a reproductive, maternal and child health Activity that aims to reduce maternal and child deaths in Northern and Eastern Uganda, an effective way to reduce these deaths is to provide skilled care during the antenatal period, at delivery
and after childbirth.

To end preventable maternal and child deaths, the Activity pursued three key activities, as described below, to ensure that under served poor women access affordable quality maternal, newborn and child health services within their communities. Key elements of these activities include putting local leadership at the center, remaining focused on building both clinical and managerial skills, and supporting change.

District leaders attest to the impact that USAID Voucher Plus has had, and they are hopeful that the private facilities are prepared to transition to innovative and cost effective ways to enable poor pregnant women to continue accessing care when the Activity closes.

Transition into long-term financing mechanisms, like the results-based financing initiative: The Activity engaged the Uganda Reproductive Maternal and Child Health Improvement Project Results-Based Financing to ensure that the capacity of voucher service providers to implement strategic health financing mechanisms developed through participation in the Voucher Plus Activity is sustained.

The Activity helped the Ministry of Health Planning Unit establish an implementers’ working group. The key objective of the group is to promote collaboration, learning, and adaptation, ultimately fostering strong coordination of activities among partners implementing innovative health financing mechanisms. “The  Ministry of health  is working closely with USAID/Uganda Voucher Plus activity to ensure this materializes.” Mr. Mwaka Agoba, Regional RBF officer-northern region, Ministry/RBF unit.

Story By

Leah Kahunde