12 Aug 2011

Uganda: Now Maternal health funds diverted to seminars

minister of  health: Dr. Christine Ondoa

The Ministry of Health has diverted Shs2 billion meant for maternal health to seminars and workshops, MPs heard yesterday.
The revelation by ministry officials infuriated the legislators, who then refused to pass the maternal health budget for this year. Health Minister Christine Ondoa and her team were asked to work out a budget that addresses key maternal health concerns.
Mothers dying
“I don’t know where this country is going and this is corruption using the pen. We shall not pass this money meant for training,” Ms Naome Kabasharira (Ntungamo), said. Statistics from the ministry and World Health Organsation indicate that 16 women die everyday in Uganda while giving birth.
The country is also a long way from achieving the Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal death by three quarters and improved access to reproductive health services by 2015.
The maternal health indicators for Uganda have generally remained poor in the last two decades. Over the years, maternal mortality stagnated at about 435 deaths per 100,000 live births.
The estimated maternal mortality from the Uganda Demographic and Health survey is 435 deaths per 100,000 live births. To meet the MDG target, Uganda needs to reduce its mortality rate from 435 to 131 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015. “Much of the money is for workshops and hotels yet several women are dying while giving birth. You people should go back and redraft your budget to reflect key issues as per the set objectives,” the committee chairperson, Dr Sam Lyomoki said.
Government allocated Shs24 billion from this year’s budget towards the improvement of maternal health in addition to a $130million (Shs390b) loan from the World Bank for the same.
The MPs queried the Shs64m allocated in the ministry’s budget for training of trainer’s workshops and Shs310m for post internship training. They also questioned the Shs165m for hands-on skills building for service providers and Shs390m for skills building for health workers.
Kinkizi West MP Chris Baryomunsi said the ministry is not committed to ending maternal deaths. “They must come with interventions which will result in impact otherwise maternal health will remain a problem,” he said.
The MPs also queried the criteria used to choose districts that would benefit from the Shs24b allocated in this year’s budget. “There must be a balanced distribution of resources in this country,” said Ms Judith Franca Akello (Agago Woman) said.
The MPs accused Ms Ondoa of being insensitive about women issues. “You are a woman and the budget must address women issues countrywide. The ministry should raise 100 per cent capital investment on maternal health. You can’t provide mama kits,” Ms Betty Amongi (Oyam South, UPC) said yesterday.
The MPs tasked the government to improve the health service provision and equip hospitals with the necessary drugs.


  1. please, visitors, leave your comments here. We shall forward the most incisive idea to the Ministry of Health. thank you,

  2. well, it would be good to know exactly what this 2billion for workshops was going to do.Is it for perdiems,stationery or what?We are all flustered about it but i would like to hear from the M.O.H their breakdown.Of course to all of us right now,it seems to be at the high end of things.We are talking billions here not peanuts!!

  3. the meaning of seminars and workshops is one not well defined in Uganda these days. Like Bwanika asked" per diems, stationery...?" capacity building is ideal to improve the maternal health status of Uganda but who are we training? in my view EVERYBODY should be trained, mothers, community, obs&gyn, midwives etc. But looking closely, i dont know who has been trained or is to be trained, and we have the worst habit of NOT MONITORING thus making an ideal intervention very luke warm in practice!!!! No wonder the bright ministers are against the concept.