There are an estimated 1.2 million births, and 4,700 maternal and 35,000 newborn deaths every year in Uganda.

While the country has made significant strides in improving maternal health since 1990, a Ugandan woman's lifetime risk of maternal death – the probability that a 15-year-old girl will eventually die from a maternal cause—is 77 times greater than that of high income countries such as the U.S. and Norway.1

Maternal and newborn deaths are largely preventable and are indicative of inaccessible and poor-quality health care facilities, inadequacies of the health system, and low demand for and utilization of maternal and newborn health services. For example, although 95 percent of Ugandan women have at least one antenatal care visit, only 58 percent give birth in a health facility.

In January 2012, the Ugandan Ministry of Health identified four pilot districts for Saving Mothers, Giving Life: Kabarole, Kibaale, Kamwenge, and Kyenjojo. They were selected because of the strong leadership and commitment of the local government, the availability of existing United States government platforms in each district, and the connection to a common regional referral hospital which, combined with the intensified efforts of Saving Mothers, Giving Life to decrease maternal and neonatal mortality, could have an immediate and significant impact. The initiative directly supports the Government of Uganda's Roadmap to Accelerate Reduction of Maternal and Neonatal Mortality and Morbidity.

1 WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and the World Bank. 2012. Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2010.