The Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah has urged Marie Stopes Uganda to focus on increasing access to maternal and child health services among the most vulnerable.
Oulanyah said this was critical considering the effect Covid-19 has had on people’s health seeking behaviors.
“I had a meeting with UN Women and they said as a result of Covid, antenatal care has reduced; I asked them why, they said fewer mothers are coming to the health centres,” Oulanyah said.
Oulanyah tipped Marie Stopes on the changes within the health system, urging them to employ strategies that would enable them reach people in dire need. “Covid has an impact on teenage pregnancies, they are now in places where we never used to expect them, in our houses. You need to move from what you used to do to target this population” he said.
Oulanyah made these remarks while officiating at the opening of Marie Stopes Hospital and Maternity Centre at Forest Mall Lugogo, on Tuesday, 12 October 2021.
He said he was concerned about health programmes that support mothers to deliver but never follow up to ensure the babies’ health and called on Marie Stopes to consider comprehensive programmes that follow up mothers after delivery.
“I think there should be a deliberate comprehensive programme to follow up mothers and babies up to a certain age because a lot is critical. In the case of stunting, the baby will develop into a human being but with no capacity; by the time you hand him over to the education system, the brain will not be fully grown. Whatever you teach, cannot be appreciated,” Oulanyah said.
The Country Director of Marie Stopes Uganda, Dr. Carole Sekimpi said through outreaches, Marie Stopes has managed to reach a substantial percentage of the vulnerable population with family planning services.
“By December 2020, 30 per cent of the demand for family planning in this country was satisfied by Marie Stopes and as a result 210 maternal deaths were averted” said Sekimpi.