Bloomberg to support maternal health plan in Tanzania
An innovative maternal health programme in Tanzania funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies is projected to impact at least 50,000 mothers and their children over the next three years, Mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg has announced.
According to a statement issued by the World Lung Foundation office in Dar es Salaam, more than 100 local non-physician clinicians including assistant medical officers and nurse midwives in Tanzania’s most isolated areas have been trained to perform life-saving procedures including caesarean sections since the programme began.
The statement said that the number of maternal deaths from bleeding and other complications in Tanzania have been reduced; in one district alone, maternal deaths declined by 32% in less than 2 years due to the project. It further said that to date, more than one thousand babies have been delivered by c-section in villages where women previously had to travel several hours to receive care – often when it was too late.
Women in Tanzania deliver an average of 5.5 children in their lifetime, meaning every mother’s life saved not only impacts her and her newborn but also the well-being of her other children. World Lung Foundation is implementing the project, sponsored by Bloomberg.
The sponsorship started since 2006 and this month Bloomberg declared that it will continue to support the project. Another organization H&B Agerup Foundation has also committed itself to support the project. The statement further said that this means that the sponsorship for the project will extend to another three years, which will cover other regions and districts.
Tanzania has the eighth highest number of maternal deaths in the world; a woman dies from complications of pregnancy and childbirth almost every hour in Tanzania. “No one should have to die giving birth,” said Michael R. Bloomberg.
“Sadly, in some parts of the world, too many women die due to complications in childbirth because of inaccessible and inadequate care. We are implementing a pilot in Tanzania, a country with one of the world’s highest rates of maternal deaths, where we have built a unique program that we know is already saving lives by providing emergency obstetric care in rural communities.”
“Reducing maternal deaths requires innovative approaches to delivering care in the hardest to reach places,” said Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. “I am encouraged by this type of partnership which, as we see in Tanzania, promises to improve the lives of women, their families and communities.”
“Through the efforts of Bloomberg Philanthropies and their partners, we are making progress in reducing maternal deaths in Tanzania which has been a high priority for my government,” H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of Tanzania, said.
“The results-oriented approach of this program has provided life-saving procedures to thousands of women, and we look forward to expanding this effort with the additional support of the H&B Agerup Foundation to save lives and improve the health of Tanzanians.”
“After traveling to Tanzania to see firsthand the work, progress and results of this maternal health program, we saw an opportunity to contribute to the continued development and implementation of this program,” said Helen Agerup, chair of H&B Agerup Foundation.
“As an entrepreneur and medical professional, I was impressed by how this program challenged conventional medical approaches to improve mothers’ and children’s health and to save lives in some of the most remote parts of Tanzania.”
Source Tanzania Daily News
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