The title of the inaugural lecture is: MATERNAL HEALTH RIGHTS, POLITICS AND THE LAW."
Uganda is a party to international and human rights instruments that recognize maternal health rights (MHRs). It also has a Constitution and policy frameworks, which contain provisions with a bearing on MHRs. In spite of the recognition of MHRs in legal and policy frameworks, realization of these rights remains elusive as evidenced by the alarming rates of maternal mortality and morbidity. Consequently, this lecture seeks to answer the following question: why does realization of MHRs remain elusive in Uganda? I argue that realization of MHRs remains elusive because the Ugandan state, which has the primary responsibility to protect MHRs, relies on neo-liberal policies and criminal laws, which exalt private and class interests to the detriment of maternal health issues. I also argue that it is not a mere lack of resources that explains non-realization of MHRs in Uganda, but absence of political will to tackle the structural causes of maternal mortality and morbidity. The lecture advances juridical, administrative and other measures to tackle neo-liberal policies, criminal laws, and inequitable gender relations, which inhibit women from realizing their MHRs.