Uganda Still Fails to Save Babies at a Cost of One Dollar

1511 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
10 out of every 1,000 children born alive in Uganda die on their first day yet they can be saved by solutions that cost 2,650 shillings.

10 out of every 1,000 children born alive in Uganda die on their first day yet they can be saved by solutions that cost 2,650 shillings.
A 2013 State of the World’s Mothers Report released today shows that out of the total 130,900 children under-5 years, dying annually, 15,100 children or 12 percent die on their very first day of life.
Another 42,700 die in their first month- making Uganda one of the worst countries in the world to be born. According to Ministry of Health, 80 percent of new-born deaths are driven by pre-term births, intrapartum-related complications and severe infections.
Dr Hanifa Sengendo, the programmes Manager at Save the Children, explains that this include complications during birth, premature birth and infections at birth. 
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However, these causes can be solved with more funding to the health sector considering the solutions to these problems cost less than one dollar. The solutions include use of Cortico steroid injections to speed up lung maturation for unborn babies, given to mothers at risk of pre-mature births.
A health worker can also use injectable antibiotics to treat common bacterial infections such as pneumonia and use of chlorhexidine to clean umbilical cords and belly buttons that both cost less than one dollar each.
Only the resuscitation equipment to help babies with first-breath difficulties costs 15,570 shillings.
The 2013 Mothers Index, which measures the chances that a mother and her baby will survive and socio-economic environments put Uganda in the 132nd position of 176 countries. This again keeps Uganda in the worst 50 countries to be a mother; 15 places behind Rwanda who are in the 117th position. Tanzania, Burundi & Kenya are in the 135th, 137th and 156th positions respectively.
Barbara Burroughs, Save the Children Uganda Country Director, stated that although the grim reality is that Uganda is likely not to meet her Millennium Development Goal Four, key steps in the right direction could bring Uganda closer to achieving the target soon after 2015.
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Other factors that lead to early baby deaths include the poor health of mothers, early marriage before girls’ bodies have properly matured, low rates of contraceptive usage and healthcare, that the report says is woefully insufficient.
According to the report while Finland stands out as the best place to be a mother, Democratic Republic of Congo is rated as the worst place for a mother to give birth.