Kilolo — Maternal mortality statistics in 2015 show that there was an average of 556 deaths of mothers and children, which occurred per one hundred thousand families in Tanzania.
There were many causes for this, some of which included the lack of responsible healthcare staff, poor infrastructure, lack of reproductive education and a deficiency of medical supplies in hospitals.
The Government of Tanzania, through the health ministry took action in an attempt to control the number of maternal deaths and there was an improvement in a space of two years. The maternal death toll declined from 500 deaths in 2015 to the average mortality rate of 175 deaths in 2017.
Ilula is a Hospital located in the district of Kilolo. It testifies of this drastic improvement. Dr. Benjamin Chotta, medical doctor in charge in the hospital, said that for the last two years only one death occurred at the hospital.
"For two years now, only one death has occurred. This is because of the commitment the staff towards ensuring that every pregnant woman receives special care from us." He continued, "Though there are still some challenges that we face, we thank the Government of Tanzania through the Ministry of Health for modifying hospital services and ensuring that they are free for women, children and the disabled."
Mr. Chotta also said they take special care to watch for any causes of maternal death and make deliberate effort towards reducing maternal death rates.
"There are many causes of death in pregnant women and babies. However, the most common are hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, postpartum infections, obstructed labor complications from unsafe abortion and HIV/AIDS. These diseases and many others might cause death in pregnant women," he added.
Nurses in the hospital also explained how they execute their daily routine in helping pregnant women who come for checkups or deliveries.
Ms. Redemption Kihwelu is a nurse at the hospital and heads the parental ward at the institution. She said care is given to pregnant women from the first time they visit the hospital to about 42 days after giving birth.
"When we receive women with complications, they have to undergo surgery. The services are free as directed by the government," she said.
Pregnant women are grateful to the government for improving health care for pregnant women and infants.
Lucy Kamdede is among the many pregnant women who appreciate the work done by the government of Tanzania and the staff of Ilula Hospital.
"I would like to thank the Government of Tanzania for the effort it has put towards improving the health of pregnant women. We get all medical supplies for free which is different unlike in the past when delivering at the hospital was expensive and some women simply opted to deliver at home," she said.
Despite the good care offered by doctors and nurses at this Hospital, the biggest challenge is that there are a few beds in the delivery room. Sometimes two pregnant women share a single bed. This is not healthy for the women and the unborn babies.
There is still a lot that needs to be done by the Government of Tanzania to improve the health of mothers and their infants. The government has to work towards ensuring their safety.
Naetwe Kimweri is a journalist from Tanzania. This article is part of the Gender Links 16 Days News Service #VoiceandChoice campaign.