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Strides for family health, 2009-2014

Publication year: 
Publication details: 
Kampala: Management Sciences for Health, 2014

In recent years, new oil discoveries in Uganda have fueled dreams of a booming economy and a much improved standard of living. The nation has already made important gains in reaching some of its development goals, such as reducing mortality among children under the age of five, the number of people living in absolute poverty, and the proportion of those who lack access to safe water and sanitation.In spite of improvements, significant challenges remain. Malnutrition lingers as a serious problem, contributing to about 60 percent of child mortality.1 One in three Ugandan children suffers from stunting, a lifelong condition caused by malnutrition that negatively affects the country’s overall development by increasing children’s vulnerability to illness and likelihood of dropping out of school.2 The maternal mortality ratio remains high at 438 deaths
per 100,000 live births, compared to 320 in nearby Rwanda, for example, or 16 in developed countries.3,4 Although a greater number of women are giving birth in health facilities, which helps reduce maternal and newborn deaths, more than 40 percent do not. The average Ugandan woman gives birth to 6.2 children—a fertility rate that is among the five highest in sub-Saharan Africa—increasing the chances of complicated pregnancies and deliveries.5 Uganda’s population, estimated at 34.9 million in 2014,6 is one of the fastest growing in the world. More than one
million Ugandans are born every year, putting ever more pressure on the nation’s resources and its health services.