The government, through the Ministry of Health has registered progress in promoting better reproductive, maternal and child health despite various disruptions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Reproductive, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health department has over the years aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality as well as reduction of total fertility rate by increasing contraceptive prevalence and improving the sexual and reproductive health of the people, all key elements for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3 and 5.
Within the financial year 2019/2020, the Health Ministry noted, maternal and neonatal mortality reduced, according to the annual Health Sector Report (2019/2020).
“The trend of maternal deaths per 100,000 deliveries in a health facility has declined over the years to surpass the Health Sector Development Plan (HSDP) target of 98. In the same way, perinatal mortality including still birth rates has reduced beyond the HSDP target of 9 per 1000 deliveries,” the report reads in part.
Maternal Perinatal Death Surveillance and Review (MPDSR)
The department also compiled the annual Maternal, Perinatal Death Surveillance and Review (MPDSR) report and disseminated to stakeholders picking out key actions executed in 2019/2020.
There was facility-based training and mentorship on MPDSR in 14 Districts for 440 Health workers (390 in 13 districts, 50 health workers in Mulago and Kawempe Hospitals.)
The department supported facility based mentorships on strengthening MPDSR committees and capturing reports in DHIS-2 in 113 districts with focus to improve functionality of existing facility MPDSR committees, notification, reporting and review of Maternal and Perinatal deaths Response Actions.
It also revised and distributed MPDSR reporting and review tools to the health facilities across the country with partners’ support; USAID SITES, URMCHIP and CHAI according to the report.
“We convened 3 national MPDSR Committees for improved partner coordination, implementation of response interventions including confidential inquiries and follow ups. As a result of the efforts, maternal and perinatal death were reviewed in accordance with the national guidelines, achieving 66% of the maternal death reviewed beyond the 65% Health Sector Development Plan (HSDP) target, and also reviewed 2,744 out of the 28,164 (9.7%) reported perinatal deaths increasing from 3.6% in FY 2018/19,” the report outlines.
In order to promote neonatal health, the Ministry of Health conducted support supervision in 4 new-born care units in Busia districts and supervised the setup of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Kawempe Hospital.
They also conducted technical support supervision for Integrated Community Case Management (ICCM) in 30 districts.
“The proportion of children reached and treated on time for common childhood illnesses is improving considerably every Quarter RMNCAH Assembly was held and the National family planning Conference combined with the World Contraceptive Day Commemoration and raised awareness to the population,” the health ministry notes.
The Ministry rolled out the Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health scorecard implementation through orientation and training of district leadership in 4 districts of Amuria, Kaberamaido, Kanungu and Kiryandongo.
It also built capacity of 625 health workers in the provision of comprehensive family planning in United Nations Populations Fund supported districts to enable provision of a wide method mix of contraceptive options leading to dispensation of at least 3.5 million Couple Years of Protection (CYP) of a wide method mix.
“420 health care providers have been trained by the national and district trainers from the 14 SIDA project focus districts on Clinical management of rape and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). We supported 24 health facilities in 8 Districts to set up and demonstrate levels for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights/HIV/GBV integrated services and initiated the Regional Referral Hospital mentorship program for the integration of service in the target facilities,” the health ministry said.
There has been training of health workers in the 14 targeted districts on Provision of Adolescent friendly services and the National School Health Menu was developed.
Despite the limitations posed by covid-19 in implementing healthcare guidelines, the Ministry developed procedures for continuity of health services in the context of Covid-19 for the different service sections including; safe motherhood, family planning, community services, guidelines for adolescents and youth, Standard Operating Procedures for reopening Schools and protocol for conducting adolescent targeted outreaches.