Government today failed to send its lawyers to defend it in the petition on maternal death filed in the constitutional court by a group of civil society organizations.
The matter was set for scheduling this morning but government attorneys did not turn up.
A group of civil society organizations petitioned the constitutional court demanding a declaration that it is a violation of the right to life when expectant mothers die due to lack of basic maternal health care in government hospitals.
The petitioners’ lawyer, David Kabanda told court that the respondents have neglected the directive of the notice with no reason. The state was served with the scheduling notice on May 14th as, ordered by court. Kabanda asked court to fix a hearing date for the petition.
Appearing before the constitutional court registrar Elias Kisawuzi, Kabanda said that women have continuously died in labour due to lack of health services.
He adds that in 1999 government abolished payment of fees in hospitals but that when women go into labour, they are asked to pay money and other maternal commodities which they cannot afford.
Currently in Uganda statistics show that 16 women die every day due to complications related to pregnancy and child birth. The petition highlights the case of Sylvia Nalubowa, a mother in Mityana and Jenifer Anguko, a mother and district councilor in Arua both of whom died in child birth.
The petitioners add that the inadequate human resource for maternal health including midwives and doctors, frequent stock-outs of essential medicines and supplies and lack of emergency obstetric care services at health centres, is an infringement of the right to health under Article 8A of the constitution.
They want court to declare that families of mothers who have died due to negligence be compensated as a redress measure for violation of their rights.
The civil society members were dressed in black t-shirts and carried a banner with words: “Not another needless death: Government must stop the deaths of mothers now!.
Dr. Lydia Mungherera, founder of the Mama’s club, an organization supporting HIV positive mothers, says government should take ownership and responsibility for its mistake instead of failing to appear in court.
//Cue in: I think the govt…”
Cue out:…should be done about it.”//
Kisawuzi advised Kabanda to amend parts of the petition and file it on the 7th of June.
maternal death in uganda
health civil society organisations
dr. lydia mungerera