The Crisis

feetHealth in Uganda lags behind many other developing countries. Recent statistics show that life expectancy at birth in Uganda is around 49 years. Life expectancy is an indicator of the overall health status of a country’s population and of their quality of life, and in Uganda life expectancy has been increasing steadily from 45 in 2003 to 53 years today. This is similar to the SSA average of nearly 54 years, but lower than the LIC average of 58 years (World Bank 2011; World Bank 2010).

The infant mortality rate in Uganda remains high, at 76 per 1,000 live births, although there has been a decline from 85 per l,000 live births in 1995 (World Bank 2010; MOH 2011). Hospital-based data indicate that malaria is the leading cause of under-five death, at 27.2 percent, followed by anemia at 12.1 percent, pneumonia at 11.4 percent, perinatal conditions at 7.8 percent, and septicemia at 5 percent (MOH 2011).  The maternal mortality ratio for Uganda has declined significantly in recent years, but is still above the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2015 target of 13.1; According to the 2010/11 Annual Health Sector Performance Report (AHSPR), the maternal mortality in hospitals and health centers was estimated at 200 per 100,000 live births (MOH 2011). This estimate, however, does not capture deaths that occurred outside health facilities, and is likely lower than the national ratio.

The burden of disease in Uganda remains predominantly in communicable diseases, although there is also a growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDS), including mental health disorders.  Maternal and perinatal conditions contribute to the high mortality. Neglected Tropical Diseases remain a big problem in the country, affecting mainly rural poor communities (WHO 2006). Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity in Uganda, accounting for close to half of the country’s morbidity.

Causes of morbidity are presented in this pie chart: