Deputy Speaker of Uganda parliament, Jacob Oulanyah was asked to lend a hand in helping Buhweju district residents, who they say are living in difficulty due to maternal health woes.
At a function to belatedly celebrate the International Women’s Day, MPs and local leaders said they are already overwhelmed, seeking immediate government intervention.
“I brought you here to see for yourself the problems we go through so that when we come to Parliament, you know what we are talking about; we have a health centre II for the whole district, our women are suffering walking long journeys to access maternal health care,” said MP Oliver Kwoyekyenga (NRM, Buhweju).
MP Francis Mwijukye said maternal deaths are disappointing, and that he had to buy an ambulance for the district due to the difficulties women face.
“Women dying in labour? It is very unfortunate that this is happening in the 21st century. We must see how to reduce that,” said Mwijukye.
Buhweju District Chairman Nyakusinga Asiimwe weighed in, saying that maternal health challenges are coupled with increasing cases of domestic violence.
He said his leadership is working on a list to name and shame perpetrators of domestic violence.
“Domestic violence is a very serious problem. As a district, we are going to profile all the families where there is domestic violence, which we will publish in places,” he said.
Asiimwe added a long list of problems his administration faces, including bad roads due to the mountainous terrain, no presence of the judiciary and struggling public schools.
Oulanyah promised to address their problems in the next budget, working with their MPs.
“This is the time to scrutinize the policies of government, the interventions of government. We need to look at the budget to see how it has transformed the women in this country,” he said.
“When the time comes, working with your MPs, we shall have to find resources within the budget to address some of those concerns you have raised,” he said.
Oulanyah handed the women a dummy cheque of Shs124m from the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development under the Uganda Women Empowerment Programme.
He also contributed Shs 2 million to the women self help groups.
The function attracted MPs Catherine Ndamira (NRM, Kabale), Dorothy Azairwe (NRM, Kamwenge), Rose Kabagyenyi (NRM, Kisoro) and Pauline Kemirembe (NRM, Lyantonde).