NEW YORK, United States of America, March 9, 2016 —The Korean International Cooperation Agency and UNICEF in Uganda have today handed over three ambulances to the districts of Amudat, Kotido and Napak to enable pregnant women access life-saving services or health facilities quickly.
The support is part of the four-year UNICEF-KOICA partnership launched last year and focuses on strengthening the continuum of care for maternal, new-born and child health services, by addressing the three delays that are responsible for maternal and new-born deaths. The continuum of care includes integrated service delivery for mothers and children from pregnancy to child birth, immediately after childbirth and through childhood.
The handover ceremony took place at the UNICEF Moroto Zonal Offices in Moroto. UNICEF’s Representative to Uganda Ms. Aida Girma handed over the ambulances to the district leadership of Amudat, Kotido and Napak.
Maternal and new-born mortality remain a global challenge and more so, an area of concern for Uganda. Women and new-borns continue to die from preventable causes. In, Uganda, there has been a slow progress in averting maternal and new-born mortality specifically in hard-to-reach areas and among vulnerable populations living in Karamoja.
The Karamoja region still registers poor indicators. While the national maternal mortality ratio is 438 per 100,000 live births, that of Karamoja is estimated at 750 per 100,000 live births.
Uganda has a well elaborated health policy and strategies for the reduction of maternal and child mortality, such as the Reproductive Maternal New-born Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) strategy which is aligned to the National Health Sector Development Plan and the Global strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescent Health. This strategy also defines high impact interventions for the reduction of maternal and new-born mortality.
However, at district level, there is need to strengthen integration of services across the continuum of care; accountability and monitoring frameworks and to effectively support coordination of high-impact and cost-effective interventions that are defined in the RMNCAH strategy.
“The ambulances provided today are timely and will address the second delay which occurs at the community level before reaching the health facility,” said Mrs. Aida Girma, UNICEF’s Representative to Uganda.
“The delays bar pregnant women from accessing life-saving services in time,” she added.
The four-year partnership, costed at USD 8,552,020 (approximately 28 billion Uganda shillings) will target more than 100,000 pregnant women, over 15,000 pregnant women presenting with labour complications, and 100,000 children under five, including new-borns.
The project is being implemented in seven districts of the Karamoja region – Abim, Amudat, Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto, Napak and Nakapiripirit.