About 75% of Ugandans have access to safe water, compared to only 53% 10 years ago, according to a report released by the Ministry of Finance on 5 December 2010.
The report showed that Uganda had made significant progress towards many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The September 2010 report noted that progress had been made, especially in reducing the number of people in absolute poverty and those facing food shortage. It also showed that progress had been made in gender equality and women empowerment. The report said the target of gender parity between boys and girls in primary school had been achieved, adding that the country was also on track to meet the target of access to HIV/AIDS treatment and safe water. There has also been progress in the global partnership for development, notably in ensuring debt relief and sustainability, as well as expanding access to information and communication technology.
However, the Government said progress has “been too slow to meet the MDGs”. While access to primary education has improved, rates of completion of a full course of primary education have stagnated in recent years. The Government agreed that several of the health targets, such as child and maternal mortality, access to reproductive health, and the incidence of malaria and other diseases, had also progressed slowly.
Commenting on HIV/AIDS, the report revealed that there were significant challenges in sustaining past gains, adding that new infections had increased. “Population growth is adding to the number of new infections, as is transmission of HIV between older age groups, especially those that are married or cohabitating.”
The Government also noted that the dwindling of foreign development assistance was expected to continue because of the global financial crisis.
The analysis showed that even if there was progress towards many of the MDGs, the benefits were unevenly shared. “Levels of poverty are more than twice as high in rural areas than in urban areas, and poverty levels remain higher, and have fallen less rapidly, in the northern and eastern regions of the country,” the report said.
On maternal health, the Government reported that every day, about 16 women die while giving birth in Uganda. To combat the trend, it proposed interventions in emergency obstetric care, which addresses the direct causes of maternal death. These are bleeding, sepsis, unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorders and obstructed labour. These are responsible for about 80% of maternal deaths.
The Government acknowledged that special effort is needed if the MDGs are to be met not just in national averages, but also in real progress for all Ugandans.
Source: Barbara Among, New Vision /allAfrica.com, 6 December 2010