A Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Issue in Uganda: the Situation of Maternal Health

Author(s): Laureen Karayi
Final project
Year of publication:
Gender and Sexual/Reproductive Health
Number of pages:


The Beijing Platform for Action and the International Conference on Population and Development Plan of Action marked a paradigmatic shift in the women´s rights struggle in recognizing sexual and reproductive health (SRH), particularly maternal health, as a key human right, which must be prioritized to advance development efforts and achieve gender equality. Two decades later, 6000 women in Uganda continue to die annually giving birth from preventable complications, the leading cause of maternal death in young women aged 15-19 years. This suggests that the Government of Uganda is failing to comply with the health obligations and the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5a target that it has committed to for its citizens. This paper analyses the SRH related legal and policy frameworks in Uganda vis á vis the unequal gender relations deeply rooted in social, cultural and patriarchal patterns where the most oppressed, women, are denied their core right, the right to life. The paper will use an analytical gender perspective and human rights based approach to argue for the need to amend the policies and programmes already in place, the need to address the roots of oppression buried in gender systems and sex stereotyping and address the gender discriminatory practices that still prevail through enactment, resourcing and implementation of gender responsive laws, policies and programmes.