SWEDEN ANNOUNCES 200 MLN USD AID TO SUPPORT UGANDA’S CHILD, MATERNAL HEALTH SERVICES

KAMPALA, July 29 The Swedish government has earmarked 200 million US dollars aid to improve child and maternal health in Uganda over the coming five years under its new development co-operation strategy for 2014-2018.

The aid package for Uganda seeks to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as promote sustainable growth and employment. Sweden also wants to use the aid to strengthen respect for human rights, according to a statement issued by the Swedish Embassy here Monday.

“Swedish development co-operation with Uganda will change. The focus will continue to be on reducing poverty, reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health,” added the statement.

“By broadening our co-operation, especially with civil society and the private sector, the prospects for making a difference in meeting the most crucial challenges in Uganda are increased.”

The new allocation bolsters Sweden’s position as one of Uganda’s key development partners. In 2013, the total amount of Swedish aid to Uganda was 21 million pounds sterling.

In March, Sweden was among the donor countries which announced aid cuts to Uganda after the signing of the controversial anti-homosexuality law in February.

Sweden’s Minister for International Development, Hillevi Engström, said at the time Sweden had chosen to suspend 1.0 million USD in budget support directly to Uganda with the exception of research co-operation.

Sweden was the fourth donor to cut aid following the World Bank, Norway and Denmark. The new areas of co-operation, according to the statement, will include innovation, employment issues and strengthened collaboration with the business sector and the research community.

“Sweden wants to help create better conditions in Uganda for sustainable economic growth and development. This is why Swedish aid to Uganda will remain substantial. Sweden continues to support human rights and freedom from violence,” the statement quoted Hillevi as saying.

SOURCE: NEW VISION

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