Maternal Health in Tanzania
In Tanzania, approximately 11,000 women die from complications of pregnancy or childbirth every year. The vast majority of these deaths can be prevented with access to timely emergency obstetric care. Moreover, many Tanzanian women want to delay or avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern contraception due to a lack of information, or inadequate access to health care services.
From 2006 to 2019, Bloomberg Philanthropies partnered with the Government of Tanzania to support the implementation of a new model that sought to increase access to emergency obstetric and reproductive health care in Kigoma region. The program took a comprehensive approach, upgrading village-level health centers by constructing operating rooms; training non-physician clinicians to provide emergency obstetric care, including performing caesarian sections; incorporating family planning and post-abortion care into health centers; and running mass media campaigns and employing community health workers to educate community residents about the importance of skilled birth attendance and family planning.
Recent evaluations show that between 2013 and 2018, the institutional maternal mortality rate in Kigoma dropped 43%, the stillbirth rate dropped 52%, and deliveries in a healthcare facility rose 74%.
In 2019, the Tanzanian government took over the program and prepared to replicate the model across other parts of the country where maternal mortality was high.
Top photo: By building operating rooms and training more health care workers, the Maternal Health program in Tanzania has expanded the coverage of maternal health and brought life-saving emergency obstetric care to the women who need it most.