FIRST LADY EMPHASIZES CENTRALITY OF FAMILY IN ADDRESSING RMNCAH ISSUES 29/11/2018
Stakeholders in the Reproductive Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) Assembly have been urged not to overlook the importance of family in the efforts to address issues in the lives of women and children in Uganda.
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni says that leaving the family and parents out of whatever measures and plans designed to address issues of Reproductive Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health is counterproductive since they are the parents and communities that need to take up their roles again as Government also does its part. She said that parents and families are the first nurtures and first teachers but have abdicated their responsibilities and must be at the forefront in fight against HIV/AIDS, school dropout, abortions
The First Lady, who is also the RMNCAH Patron, said this while opening the 2018 Annual Reproductive Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) Assembly that brought together stakeholders in the country at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala to share progress on the country’s performance on the investment case (Sharpened Plan).
The Assembly is an annual event that was adapted into Uganda’s Investment Case for RMNCAH to address the “Every Woman Every Child” global strategy that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, private sector and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women, children and adolescents with a roadmap to ending all preventable deaths and ensuring their well-being within a generation.
Mrs. Museveni noted that the number of deaths among women and children remain unacceptably high and are mostly due to preventable causes. She cited a research she recently undertook in Ruhaama and the causes of maternal death were found to include bleeding, infections, unsafe abortions, obstructed labour, high blood pressure, delay at home, malnutrition, malaria, and lack of knowledge.
She called for a strong management team at the District level to strengthen service delivery, investing in skilling district leaders and managers to improve performance plus improving the skills of health care providers and quality of services provided in the health facilities. She said there is need to do more work and invest more resources in improving coverage of services for mothers, newborns, children and adolescents. “It is amazing that when we had less health centres and health workers in our rural areas, the services reached our people much better than now. We need to continue on what it is we are not doing”, she said.
She pointed out the National Multi-sectoral Framework for Adolescent Girls and its Communication and Development Strategy and the Sexuality Education Framework as some of the efforts that can ensure that the battle is won.
The National Multi-Sectoral Framework for Adolescent Girls and its Communication and Development Strategy is meant to facilitate better coordination of efforts to address the closely related multiple issues across several sectors that affect the adolescent girl, while the Sexuality Education Framework is intended to guide those equipping the children with correct information on the appropriate sexual behavior for health living.
The Minster of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng said that Government has committed USD 110 million towards RMNCAH for the next five years. She added that these funds will address three components, namely offering services on the result-based financing covering the entire country and people will be receiving all RMNCAH services free of charge, building capacity of facilities that still lack infrastructure and equipment and building capacity of critical cadres like midwives, anesthetists, anesthesiologists and laboratory technologists.
She also reported that Government has committed to pay a monthly allowance to the Community Health Extension Workers unlike the VHTs who were working without pay. They will undergo comprehensive training starting in January and after this they are expected to sensitize the people with better information and also mobilize them to access services from the health facilities.
The Key note address was delivered by Prof. Khama Rogo and he emphasized that RMNCAH should be put in the Center of Socioeconomic Transformation in Africa.
The World Health Organization Country Representative Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam observed that in spite of a lot of progress being made to ensure improvement of quality health care by Government of Uganda, there are still challenges such as inadequate human resources, supplies, drugs and equipment, infrastructure, transport, communication and behavioural change. He called for urgent significant and innovative effort to address the current slow-moving indicators in RMNCAH in Uganda.
The assembly under the theme “Better accountability and coordination for reproductive maternal newborn and adolescent health brought together stakeholders at the national, regional and international level including development partners, bilateral and multilateral agencies, officials from Ministry of Health and its implementing partners and representatives from line Ministries, departments and agencies plus Local Government, Civil Society Organization and young people.
They shared innovations, good practices, challenges and lessons regarding implementation and resource tracking of the national RMNCAH Investment Case at national, district and community level and also renewed commitments on resource allocation.
During the Assembly three interventions namely RMNCAH Key family Care practices, Strategy to enhance Civil Society Organizations Engagement in RMNCAH and “We care Solar” a light every birth initiative were also launched.