13 June 2018

Tanzania's Deputy Speaker Wants More MPs Into Maternal Health

Dodoma — The deputy speaker of Parliament, Dr Tulia Ackson wants more and more Members of Parliament (MPs) to get involved in issues pertaining to maternal health.

They should take their time to advocate an improvement in the quality of care provided at health facilities to save the lives of mother and newborns.

Speaking during a seminar for Member of Parliament (MPs) who are champions of safe motherhood, she said it was sad that Tanzania was still recording increasing cases of maternal deaths despite various efforts being taken by the government.

According to Tanzania Demographic Health Survey 2015-16, 556 women out of 100,000 die due to childbirth-related complications. This number has increased from 458 per 100,000 live births between 2010 and 2015.

More than 30 women and 180 newborns die each day in Tanzania due to labor complications and lack of quality care stemming from the lack of critical infrastructure, equipment, lifesaving supplies and adequate health workforce.

Out of the 700 health centers in Tanzania, only 117 - which is equivalent to 16 per cent - provide emergency maternity services.

"Let every MP take the matter serious. You should visit health centres in your areas to establish the challenges facing expectant mothers during delivery. That way, you will also be debating such issues candidly in Parliament since you will have evidence of what you say," she said.

The event, organized by the non-governmental organization, White Ribbon Alliance (WRA), also saw the MPs receiving certificates in recognition for their efforts in improving maternal health care.

WRA National Coordinator Ms Rose Mlay said since 1996 there have not been enormous strides in reducing the number of women dyeing during or after delivery, calling for the MPs to physically visit health facilities in their areas to see the situation on the ground.

The group's chairperson, Ms Jenista Mhagama said everybody can play a role in helping save mothers and newborns.

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