Thursday, September 25, 2014


Senfuka Samuel

Luyiga Faridah -Communications Officer at WRA Uganda speaking at PMNCH Accountability brunch-New York
The 69th Session of the UN General Assembly is convening in New York City from 16th September to 31st October 2014. It is convening at a time when the deadline to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set in 2000 is remaining with less than 500 days. One of the agendas at this 69th session is that Governments around the world are sitting to reflect on delivery of their commitments to their citizens as they deliberate on new development targets beyond 2015. 

During this session, White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) for Safe Motherhood is working with other civil society advocates to ensure that global leaders do not talk to themselves alone but also give space and listen to what citizens want (citizens' voice) to be in the new Health Development Agenda. WRA's pressure exerted on the usual suspects (the familiar faces at UN top tables) to give up their speaking slots to citizens' voice yielded some results with appreciation. Ray Chambers, Special Envoy on Malaria to Secretary General of UN moved over for a citizen leader, Flavia Bustreo of WHO and Kathy Calvin of UNF gave up their seats to civil society leaders at the Every Women Every Child (EWEC) accountability     reception. Read about WRA Citizens Post-

Faridah Luyiga Mwanje of White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Uganda was one of the civil society advocate for maternal health spoke on behalf of citizens at Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) brunch on the sidelines of UN General Assembly in New York. Faridah shared her personal story of losing a sister and her experience as a maternal health advocate which emotionally touched many attentive attendants.

"I thank the PMNCH for this rare opportunity to speak about the work we are doing- with families, with communities, with districts, with midwives, with politicians. Uganda still loses high number of women and newborns due to pregnancy and childbirth related causes. "My sister Remie Wamala bled to death. There was no blood to save her life. It's then that I realized if this level of neglect happens in a high end facility, what is birth like for most of my countrywomen? I joined White Ribbon Alliance where I am campaigning to make birth safe for women and newborns." Luyiga Faridah 
      Faridah reminded all of us that women should be treated with dignity while seeking healthcare with equity in health service delivery. "We should be cognizant of the fact that every woman has the right to quality, respectful, maternity care – and it is the role and responsibility of Govt to fund the provision of that care.
L-R: Dr. Robert C. Orr, UN Assistant Secretary General for Policy Coordination& Strategic Planning, Luyiga Faridah, Communications Officer WRA Uganda, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General WHO and Richard Horton Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet 
      Government of Uganda Commitment to provide Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC)- Faridah said that despite Government's commitment to the UN Global Strategy for Women and Children's Health that half of health centres in Uganda would provide EmONC services, when WRA Uganda surveyed 43 health facilities in Kabale, Lira and Mityana districts it was found NOT ONE health facility (out of 12 health centre IVs) provided comprehensive EmONC- 

      "Our survey brought leaders together with district leaders, health workers and community members; for the first time they began to work together as partners, without fear of blame. I therefore implore you as global leaders and Governments to support the citizens who are working so hard to bring the change needed and wanted in their own countries." Luyiga Faridah

      #ActToSaveMothers #commit2deliver #MDGMomentum #UNGA2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Govt Concerned About Power Blackout At A Football Match Not Life-Saving Health Centres

Senfuka Samuel

Where Are Our Country's Priorities? In #Uganda we have hundreds of health centres NOT connected at all to the National Power Grid. #Midwives are struggling daily to save thousands of women by delivering them using their cell phone torches and kerosene lamps- A health facility assessment conducted by White Ribbon Alliance Uganda in October 2013 found that out of 43 Govt health centres (IVs and IIIs) in Kabale, Lira and Mityana District, 24 of them were not connected to national power grid! Read full report

As Advocates for safer #pregnancy and #childbirth, therefore we are puzzled to read headlines in our local dailies and in some international media that police arrested, interrogated and charged the Namboole stadium manager with negligence because of a less than 10-minutes power blackout when our national football team was playing against Guinea on the evening of Tuesday 9th Sept. Also the power distribution company, #Umeme immediately issued a statement about the incident that it was due to fluctuation in electricity supply. See

We all agree that there should not be power failure at such an international game but we have not seen same action(s) by Uganda Police or other Govt agencies strongly coming out to ASK WHY our health centres are operating in darkness or even arrest those responsible to connect them to electricity because this is a matter of LIFE and DEATH!

Our Govt should rethink about our priorities. We ask our Govt  to ACT urgently to FULFILL the commitments made to secure women's and children's health. Availability of electricity is essential in provision of life saving health services especially to pregnant women and their newborns.

#ActNowToSaveMothers #commit2deliver #MDGMomentum  #EveryNewbornCounts