Maternal deaths: Women activists protest at IHK

A week after celebrated TV news anchor Nuliat Nambaziira died due to excessive bleeding after child-birth, women activists have launched a campaign to end maternal mortality in Uganda.

The campaign code named “End maternal Deaths” was launched at a press conference held at the Uganda NGO forum offices at Kabalagala, a Kampala suburb with a call on government to take urgent action to end preventable deaths of mothers and babies during pregnancy and childbirth.

The movement is born out of the increasing cases of deaths of mothers and babies at various health centers across the country with the most recent death being of a women rights advocate, Nuliat Nambaziira at International Hospital Kampala (IHK) on May 4.

The celebrated former WBS TV journalist died from complications after delivery.

Her husband, Abasi Ssemujju attended the press conference together with relatives of other women who died at the hospital during childbirth.

Ssemujju recounted Nambaziira’s final moments and the pain of a loss that he still goes through.

The activists want the government improve supervision of the private and public health facilities to ensure better adherence to the quality of care standards.

“Enough is enough. We don’t need another maternal death. We are saying that not another woman should die under such circumstances,” Sheila Kawamara Mishambi, the executive director of the Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women ( EASSI).

At the time of her death, Nambaziira was communications, programs and networking officer at EASSI.

“A number of women across the country die from preventable complications of severe bleeding, high and low blood pressure, sepsis (infection), obstructed labor, unsafe abortion, among others. Some survive pregnancy and child birth to suffer complications such as fistula,” Kawamara said.

The also demanded that government withsraws practicing certificates from all incompetent health practitioners that have caused deaths or maimed mothers out of negligence.

“We also demand that the Ministry of Health and the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners council conduct an immediate verbal autopsy of Nuliat’s death,” Kawamara said.

The verbal autopsy is a method of gathering health information about a deceased person to determine his/her cause of death.

The movement has asked the public to report any cases of neglect during and after child birth for immediate follow up.

From Kabalagala, the activists marched onto IHK premises in Namuwongo to demand for an accountability from the hospital on the cases of mothers that die during childbirth at the hospital.