Monday, October 14, 2013

VP Bilal concerned over rising maternal death rate

THE Vice- President Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal on Friday admitted that the rate of maternal and child related deaths in the country was increasing, citing serious shortage of nursing midwives countrywide as the main reason. He said only 40 per cent of the needed midwives are available, causing severe situation in rural areas, which often rely on traditional methods that he said are very risky. The V-P was speaking during a gala dinner fund raising meeting organized by the African Medical Research Foundation (AMREF) Tanzania Chapter in a nationwide campaign ‘Stand up for Tanzania Mothers’ to reduce maternal deaths. About 20 local organisations including ITV and The Guardian Limited sponsored the event whose campaign in Africa Region was launched in May this year under the theme ‘Stand up for African Mothers’.  The campaign’s objective is to collect money from well wishers to train nursing midwives in various Tanzanian colleges with a view to helping save the lives of expectant mothers during their child birth. A total of Sh719.3 being cash and pledges was raised during the meeting; the V-P making one of Sh 5 million.  The Ministry of Health pledged Sh5 million.  Dr Bilal congratulated the AMREF Tanzania Office for its efforts of reducing maternal deaths and called on every Tanzanian to contribute at least Sh100 to support the programne. 

Tanzania's Vice- President Dr Mohammed Gharib Bilal

 The Minister for Health and Social Welfare Dr Hussein Mwinyi was among the invited guests. He said there were plans to increase operational units in hospitals to curb the increasing phenomenon. The initiatives are among the Big Results Now (BRN), which his ministry was working upon. First Lady Salma Kikwete, the Ambassador of the campaign, noted that urgent efforts are needed to reduce the rate of maternal deaths. She said poor technology exacerbated the situation and advised that joint efforts should be strengthened to reduce the deaths. The wife of the Prime Minister Mama Tunu Pinda, Chairman of the Bank M and Member of Parliament for Musoma Rural (CCM) Nimrod Mkono, and former Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources Zakhia Meghji were other dignitaries who attended the event. AMREF is Africa’s largest international health development organization founded in 1957 as flying doctors of East Africa with a view to providing critical health care to remote communities in East Africa region. The organization has been active in Tanzania and the then Tanganyika, and the level of its involvement has steadily increased over the years.  It established country office in Dar es Salaam in 1987.

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