Ugandan court rules maternal health a constitutional right

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Uganda’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the government’s failure to provide basic maternal healthcare services violates the constitution and subjects women to inhumane and degrading treatment.

The court also awarded $84,000 (£64,000) in damages to the families of two women who died during childbirth at public health facilities.

The judgement, nine years after the case was filed, is being celebrated as granting maternal healthcare a place in Uganda’s constitution.

This public litigation case was brought by health rights activists and two mothers whose daughters died while giving birth.

The families in their petition argued that the two expectant women died at public hospitals because of lack of basic maternal health kits and unethical behaviour of health workers. The court agreed with their argument.

The case aimed to highlight the shocking state of public maternal healthcare in Uganda and the government’s failure to fix problems

The court ruled that authorities have to increase maternal health spending and make sure personnel are properly trained and facilities equipped within two years.

According to the Uganda Demographic and Health survey 16 women in die each day in the country from complications related to pregnancy and child-birth.