Approximately 300,000 women and girls around the world die each year during pregnancy and childbirth, while countless others are left with disabilities and morbidities as a result of obstetric complications. The World Health Organization recently reported that Uganda has a maternal mortality rate of 343 per 100,000 births, making it one of the highest risk countries in the world when it comes to maternal health.
As maternal and reproductive health are issues central to our cause, the Centre For Youth Driven Development has launched and is joining the global #WhatWomanWant campaign to reach out to over 1000 women and girls in the community, beginning at our headquarters here in Ndazabazzadde, Wakiso District. #WhatWomenWant is a global advocacy campaign that aims to improve the quality of maternal and reproductive healthcare for women and girls by amplifying their voices, listening to their concerns and supporting their ideas on how to improve the problems and barriers they face towards strengthening health systems.
In 2018, the campaign is connecting with women and girls in countries and communities around the world to learn, first hand, what women want changed in all aspects of their health care and treatment relating to maternity and reproduction. In 2019, the campaign will work towards putting these objectives into action through coordinated advocacy campaigns seeking to drive policy changes and engage with healthcare providers.
Maternal and reproductive health is of particular significance in Uganda, which had the sixth highest fertility rate in the world in 2017 with approximately 5.71 children born per woman. The country suffers from a high maternal mortality rate, limited access to health care services, understaffing and underfunding at hospitals and clinics and a relatively low rate of health literacy. Additionally, the country has a low usage rate of contraceptives and family planning, a high rate of teenage pregnancies and, in certain communities, cultural barriers to women seeking professional maternal care. Despite efforts by the government to promote maternal health through the national Safe Motherhood Programme, the country remains behind on its objectives.
On launch day, the campaign had participation from over twenty of the seventy women who attended CFYDDI’s first annual Sports Gala Day. CFYDDI is currently sharing the #WhatWomenWant photo survey with women and girls in Ndazabazzadde and neighbouring communities and will be reaching out at future events and in new locations of Buvuma Island and Rural Namulesa village in Jinja to meet with, listen to and embrace the ideas of women and girls who are demanding change. Responses collected through our reach will be used to create a global picture of what women want and national advocacy agendas to help policy makers respond to the demands of women and girls.
Working together is by far the best way to effect real change. If you want to help CFYDDI reach out to more women and girls, please visit our Global Giving page and dedicate your support towards the #WhatWomenWant Campaign. Together, we can help grow a global movement for quality maternal and reproductive health care for women and girls by helping governments, health professionals, private health providers and civil society organizations better understand what is most important to women and by continuing to push for positive change!
To see our growing campaign in action, visit our Facebook page here.