Ms. Nakibuuka Noor Musisi is a lawyer with special interest in Human Rights particularly advancing women’s health and related rights. I am pursuing a master of laws degree at Makerere University. I have done short courses in the struggle for health (by IPHU), Justiciability of the right to health (by OHCHR) creative activism, arbitration and reconciliation.

Noor works for Center for Health Human rights and Development (see www.cehurd.org) as a Program Manager. At CEHURD, I am responsible for program development and implementation; resource mobilization; Monitoring and evaluation; reporting; Main streaming Human rights based approach; Advocacy; representation, networking and partnerships. While here, I have been able to contribute to the realization of women’s rights in Uganda and holding the government accountable to such rights using different strategies.

Abstract

The efficacy of public interest litigation in realizing maternal health rights in Uganda: a case study of constitutional petition no. 16 of 2011

Guided by the major objective, “To explore the effectiveness of public interest litigation in realizing maternal health rights in Uganda”, the research presents findings from an analysis of a maternal health case, Constitutional petition No. 16 of 2011 and draws examples from jurisdictions that have excelled in using Public Interest Litigation to realize maternal health rights.I used qualitative methodologies including desk top review and key informant interviews with various stakeholders to analyze the case.

The study found the institution of the PIL case led to formulation of policies aimed at reducing maternal mortality, parliamentary passing of a maternal health resolution, and civil society activism and resultant budgetary increment in the health sector. It further revealed the filing of other PIL cases on maternal health such as Civil suit No. 111 of 2012, created awareness on maternal health rights including within the judiciary, although as a negative impact the case re-awakened the political question doctrine which might make it very difficult to litigate and realize maternal health rights in Uganda.

It is recommended that to advance maternal health rights through PIL, there should be a well thought out advocacy strategy to accompany PIL, need to include maternal health rights in Uganda’s Constitution, enforce national policies and guidelines as PIL alone cannot lead to realization of maternal health rights, ratify the optional protocols to international convention on economic social and cultural rights to enable advocates to pursue human rights claims directly before treaty monitoring bodies and use of persuasive decisions while litigating before the Justices of the court.

In conclusion, the recommendations from the study highlight the importance of PIL in realizing maternal health rights despite the fact that the case being investigated is still pending before court. It is thus imperative that study findings be widely disseminated for practitioners, academia, and researchers to understand the importance brought forward by the strategy in realization of rights.

Contact: nakibuukamusisi@gmail.com