By Joshua Zziwa & Michael Ssemakula
In solidarity and spirit of health activism, today we joined the ‘Coalition To stop Maternal Mortality, through a Public match, Public Dialogue and Blood Donation to create awareness about the blood shortage, and unethical practice of selling blood by some health practitioners. Access to blood should be free of cost. 46% of the maternal deaths in Uganda are caused by excessive hemorrhages during delivery especially through Cesarean birth operations.
Those we have entrusted with our health Mandate should prioritize funding for the national blood bank to avert the inconsistencies in blood supply. The Right To Health begins with the Right To Free Blood. HURIC and PHM were represented by two members; Michael Ssemakula and Joshua Zziwa
This was to create awareness and send a loud message across to those we entrust to implement the health mandate to scale up financing for maternal health.
What was entailed in this Campaign?
The event started with a public matching around the city center where all participants together with the public well dressed in attires and holding banners, placards that portrayed the theme “fight maternal mortality through donating blood” and other messages to communicate the intent of the campaign. We later had a blood donation exercise (HURIC team too donated) while a public discussion about the day’s theme was going on –where different individuals aired out their concerns about Maternal Mortality in relation to blood donation.
The most common concern was about the habit of medical practitioners selling blood to the patients in need of it and the inconsistences in the blood supply chain from national or regional blood banks to the health facilities. In this session stake holders and guest speakers engaged the audience with an awareness and question answer session. Among the guest speakers we had was Dr. Ekwaru from Uganda Medical Association, William from the National Blood Bank, and Mr. Omon Raphael who lost his wife due to blood shortage. There was also free legal consultation from the Uganda Law Society, and the public signing of the proposal document to be sent to the Parliament of Uganda for a debate seeking an increment of budget allocation to the health sector and in particular the national Blood Bank.