Tanzania: President Vows to Fight Maternal, Child Mortality

President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has vowed to continue with efforts to reduce maternal and child mortality in the country. Addressing the National Assembly for the first time in Dodoma on Thursday, the president expressed the government commitment to ensure that no woman dies while giving birth.

"When I was the Vice President I launched a project dubbed "Jiongeze Tuwavushe Salama" to encourage participation of all stakeholders in reducing maternal and child deaths ... this is my heartfelt project ... personally I become very sad to see women dying while giving birth due to factors that could be prevented," she said. President Samia noted that the campaign aimed at ensuring women and newborns remained safe.

This campaign has helped to reduce maternal and child deaths to some extent, but concerted efforts are needed to address the problem. She said that the country's health sector has recorded notable achievements over the past five years including construction of 1,887 health facilities countrywide, including 1,198 dispensaries, 487 health centres and 99 district hospitals. It has also constructed 10 regional hospitals and three zonal hospitals.

"In the next five years, the government will strengthen access to health services, by continuing to construct health infrastructure, employ more health personnel, and increase medical equipment and reagents," she said.

Jiongeze Tuwavushe Salama campaign was launched in 2018 by the then Vice President who is current the sixth phase President. The campaign sought to sensitize government and religious leaders, non-governmental organisations, development partners, health service providers, families and society in general to take part in the fight against maternal and child mortality.

During the launch of the campaign, the Vice-President tasked regional commissioners to make the maternal and child health a long term agenda in their Regional Consultative Committees (RCCs). Tanzania Demog tality ratio is 556 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is equivalent to 11,000 deaths in a year and 30 deaths every day. Child mortality is 25 in every 1,000 live births.

The then Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, said that an expectant mother was required to make the first antenatal visit as soon as she finds out that she was pregnant and attend clinic for six weeks after giving birth.

She said that statistics shows that in every 100 expectant mothers in the country only 24 of them make their first ante- natal visits when the pregnancy is less than three month, while 86 per cent do not visit clinic in the first three months of their pregnancy.

Ms Mwalimu noted that expectant mothers who visit antenatal clinic four times during pregnancy were 51 per cent while 49 per cent make a visit once or twice only.

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