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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

TANZANIA; Shortage of midwives spurs maternal, infant mortality in Lake, Western zones

11 September 2016

The remark was made here on Friday by Mwanza Regional Commissioner (RC) in a speech read on his behalf by the Assistant Administrative Secretary (AAS), Mr Rubonzibwa Projestus, when he was officiating a one-day meeting to introduce the “ More and Better Midwives for Rural Tanzania (MBM-RTz) to the Lake and western zone regions health stakeholders.

The aim of the meeting was to understand the context of midwifery and human resources for health initiatives globally and in the Lake and Western Zones on how they link to and complement MBM-RTz.

The meeting also aimed to ensure all MBM-RTz project stakeholders understand the goal and scope of the project, the key players of the project and the expected results.

The RC said Demographic Health Survey of 2010 shows that the lake and western zone regions are experiencing high mortality rate due to maternal deaths as well as high infant mortality.

“This situation is significantly contributed to the reduction of midwives in our centres which offer health services in the rural areas,” he said.

He said the shortages of midwives have contributed to the reduction of students, who wish to study science subjects and poor understanding of the profession of midwifery in the community.

Given the situation, he urged regional education officers to cultivate a culture to inspire students to build morale and love in studying science subjects and apply for the nursing and midwifery careers.

He thanked the Canadian government for funding the project which has been carried out with the cooperation of three partners, Jhpiego, Amref and the Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM) through the Tanzania Midwives Association (TAMA). Acting Mwanza Regional Medical Officer, Dr Silas Wambura, said Mwanza Region has many challenges in the health sector including maternal mortality rate where in the year 2015 there were a total of 145 deaths.

“Out of those deaths, 130 deaths occurred in the health centres and 15 deaths occurred in the community,” he said, adding that the region had serious shortages of staff by 40 per cent.

Introducing the project to the Western and Lake Zone regions health stakeholders who attended that meeting, Director of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH), Jhpiego Tanzania Dr Dunstan Bishanga said the project was very important as it would significantly reduce the mortality rate for pregnant women and children under five.

“The project intends to work close with the government of Tanzania to ensure that children and pregnant women will not die from preventable diseases,” he said, adding that the project was implemented in the regions of Simiyu, Mwanza, Tabora, Geita, Shinyanga, Mara and Kagera.

The MBM-RTz is a five year project (2016-20) funded by the government of Canada at the cost of 7.6M/- USD ( ) and implemented by Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, in partnership with Amref Health Africa in Canada and the Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM) and in close collaboration with the Tanzania Midwives Association (TAMA).

The project will support the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children and the President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG), to fulfil national priorities for maternal and newborn survival as well as address inadequate numbers and inequitable distribution of human resources of health for midwifery care.

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