Luweero district was the site of a fierce civil war that left thousands of civilians dead and hundreds more infected with HIV/AIDS through many tragedies including rape during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Because of this war, poverty has left its mark and millions of children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS and thousands of women die annually in childbirth. The WHO estimates that the current HIV prevalence rate in Uganda is 5.4%, higher than the average in Sub-Saharan Africa of 5.2% and much higher than the world average of 0.8%. In Uganda, women are more disproportionately affected, accounting for 57 % of adults living with HIV. This especially occurs in rural Uganda, where women tend to marry and become sexually active at a younger age due to cultural pressures. Another pressing concern in Uganda is that 18% of new HIV infections occur from mother to child. A major reason for this is a lack of antenatal clinics providing education and support.
Uganda also faces many challenges in maternal health. Uganda has the 2nd highest rate of births in the world, with an expected 6.4% infant mortality rate at birth and 1 in 25 women die giving birth. There is a tremendous shortage of trained health care workers in maternal health. The United Nations estimates that in 23 health care workers for every 10 000 people are required to achieve the Millenium Development goals in maternal health and Uganda only has 8 maternal health workers per 10 000 people.
For all these reasons, Shanti Uganda has focused its programs and support for women living with HIV/AIDS, teen girls and birthing mothers.