Tanzania Improves Maternal and Newborn Care


DODOMA, Tanzania — Five hospitals and six dispensaries in the Ilala, Temeke and Kinondoni districts of Tanzania were awarded trophies and certificates of excellence in late May for improvements to maternal and newborn care. The awards were given by Sophia Mjema, Regional Commissioner of Dar es Salaam, the nation’s largest and richest city.

The health facilities were evaluated based on a system of quality improvement entitled the Standards-Based Management and Recognition (SBM-R) by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and were praised for providing “quality focused antenatal care and basic emergency obstetric and newborn care services.”

“SBM-R involves the systematic use of 58 maternal and newborn care performance standards that focus on normal labor and delivery, immediate newborn and postpartum care as well as management of complications,” says Dr. Dustan Bishanga, director of Maternal and Infants Safe, Healthy, and Alive (MAISHA).

The funding for SBM-R has been supplied by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Jphiego, a nonprofit health organization affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University. USAID hopes to improve health facilities for the whole country through the MAISHA program and their collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

Eight of these facilities qualified for Level 1 recognition for their basic emergency obstetric and newborn care by receiving above 80 percent in the SBM-R assessment, and three of the facilities qualified for Level 2 recognition by scoring between 70 and 79 percent.

Tanzania is close to achieving Millennium Developmental Goal (MDG) 4 to reduce child mortality rates for children under 5 by two-thirds. Between 2005 and 2010, the nation was able to reduce the amount of deaths per 1,000 live births from 112 to 81, as well as reduce the amount of infant deaths in children under 1 from 86 per 1,000 to just 51 per 1,000 in 2010.

Much of the progress made for child health can be attributed to the government’s efforts to increase the use of key health interventions including high coverage of routine under-5 immunizations, vitamin A supplements, insecticide treated bed nets and advances in drugs for malaria.

Although Tanzania is not as close to accomplishing MDG 5 to reduce the maternal mortality ratio by two-thirds by 2015, they have made headway. In 2010, there were 454 reported maternal deaths from 100,000 facilities. This number was reduced to only 119 maternal deaths from 111,480 facilities, a sign of improvement.

Representative of the Ministry, Dr. Ahmed Makuwani stated at the presenting of the awards that, “We won’t stop the efforts to make sure health facilities and health care workers providing services for pregnant mother are providing quality services.”

Sources: UNICEF, Business Week, Daily News
Photo: CARE


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