Presidential candidate Dr. Abed Bwanika has pledged to offer free medical care to all expectant mothers and children once he is voted into power next year.
By George Bita
“All pregnant women will get free medical care. Children under five years of age would equally benefit from that arrangement,” Bwanika, of the PDP, promised.
He decried the 'high number of women dying from pregnant related complications', saying it was unacceptable in the 21st century.
“A hospital is planned to be built per district in Uganda to ensure efficient medical care for all. This would improve people's standards of living,” he revealed.
He made the remarks Thursday afternoon while addressing residents of Namutumba from the taxi park in Namutumba town.
According to the 2014/15 Annual Government Performance Report, the number of women who die from birth-related complications at health facilities in Uganda has reduced by 5.2% over the last two years, The facility-based maternal deaths fell from 168 per 100,000 live births in the financial year 2013 to 146 in 2014.
The data excludes statistics of women who die from birth-related complications outside health facilities without assistance of a skilled health worker.
The improvement partly results from an increase over the years in the proportion of births attended to by skilled health personnel, from 37.8% in 1995 to 57% by the end of 2013.
But the Countdown 2015, a global report on maternal health shows that Uganda's maternal mortality ratio has been reducing at an annual rate of 3.2% over the last two decades.
It estimates the country's maternal mortality ratio at 360 deaths per 100,000 live births by the end of 2013, down from 600 per 100,000 live births in 1990.
Earlier, Bwanika held another rally in Kaliro and made several stopovers at trading centres before finally entering Namutumba town.
His appearance atop a van as he waved to supporters attracted a crowd that escorted him to the rally venue.
He also pledged to help locals add value to their produce to benefit more from international markets.
“You Basoga are good at growing ground nuts. I think if you are availed with oil-extraction machines you can get groundnut oil to put on world market,” Bwanika said.
Several policemen took position at the rally venue as his campaign team kept distributing campaign posters to excited locals.