Ugandan women go to court over maternal mortality

Kampala - More than 100 women die during childbirth each week in Uganda, a heartbreaking statistic that has energised activists to go to the Supreme Court in a bid to force the government to put more resources toward maternal healthcare to prevent the wave of deaths.

The activists say they want the country's top judges to declare that women's rights are violated when they die in childbirth, the kind of statement a lower court declined to give last week. In rejecting the petition, the Constitutional Court said the matter was for the country's political leaders to handle.

The country's top judges have a serious role to play: A declaration favouring the women activists would shame the government into action that drastically reduces mortality among childbearing women in Uganda, activists say.

"All we want is a declaration that when women die during childbirth it is a violation of their rights," said Noor Musisi of the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development, a Kampala-based group that is championing the legal push. The groups presented the bid to the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Uganda loses 16 women in childbirth daily, a figure some activists boldly emphasise on placards during regular marches in the streets of the Ugandan capital. Most of these deaths happen in villages where bad roads and poverty make it difficult for women to reach health centres. Even when they get there, some say, the available care is poor.  (news24.com)


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