Implementing legal accountability to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in Uganda
Agaba, Daphine Kabagambe
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Accountability is a vital human rights principle to address preventable maternal morbidity and mortality in Uganda. The continuous use of ‘accountability’ as a term without elaborating on it gets in the way of using its underlying principles to improve laws and policies. The implementation of legal accountability requires creating avenues through which women whose maternal health rights have been violated may access legal remedies. The existence of adequate legal remedies is vital not only for redressing violations of rights but also for identifying and proposing strategies towards addressing the bottlenecks in health systems. Courts of law are principal judicial mechanisms and, therefore, it is incumbent upon courts to expand rather than limit maternal healthrelated rights. The Uganda Human Rights Commission is another body which is empowered with a protective and promotional mandate that should be used to promote and protect reproductive health rights. It is further emphasised that accountability is not a tool to be understood and interpreted only by legal practitioners. Rather, various forms of accountability, including social and administrative forms, are vital for complementing legal accountability in reducing preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.