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February 15, 2017

Ministry hears Thamini Uhai’s maternal health project increases facility delivery and saves lives

Since 2008, Thamini Uhai has supported 19 health facilities and 18 dispensaries in three regions, building a scalable model to save the lives of mothers and babies

(February 15, 2017, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania) – Today in Dar-es-Salaam, Thamini Uhai presented an overview of its activities to date and outlined its plans for 2017 to the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children and the President’s Office – Regional and Local Government.

Thamini Uhai (formerly World Lung Foundation), working closely with donors and regional governments, developed a model that has led to the decentralization of life saving, emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmONC) from hospitals to health centers. This unique healthcare model includes improving the functioning of facilities to provide EmONC, running mass and community communication campaigns to increase knowledge and demand, strengthening referral systems, providing round-the-clock access to expert clinical advice, and training, mentoring, supervision and continuous medical education that enables task shifting from doctors to trained and skilled assistant medical officers (AMO) and nurses, increasing capacity in rural communities.

Speaking of its successes, Dr. Nguke Mwakatundu, Executive Director, Thamini Uhai, said:

“One of the most important successes is the direct impact our intervention has had on patients in our areas of focus. We have seen consistent and meaningful reductions in maternal mortality and obstetric referrals in all our supported facilities in rural areas, alongside significant increases in the number of women choosing to deliver at these facilities.”

Highlighting some of the challenges, Dr. Mwakatundu pointed out that in order for the success stories to continue, there needs to be better resource allocation for the healthcare providers and improved distribution of equipment and medication.

The Minister of Health, Hon. Ummy Mwalimu commented on the work of Thamini Uhai, saying: “I would like to recognize your contribution to ensure that women are able to deliver safely in the given regions. I understand that you have worked on improving emergency services in health centers and hospitals, initiated communication campaigns and to strengthen referrals from health centers to hospitals.”

Thamini Uhai has already handed over to the government its maternal health program activities in two (2) regions – Morogoro and Pwani, and is planning in 2017 to start the handover process for its activities in the Kigoma region.

About Thamini Uhai

Since 2008, Thamini Uhai (formerly known as World Lung Foundation Tanzania) has worked to help reduce maternal and neonatal mortality by improving access to good-quality, comprehensive emergency obstetric care (CEmONC) in the community, particularly in rural and isolated areas where patients previously had to travel three to four hours to the nearest hospital. The program strategy is to support innovative cross-channel communication and community campaigns to increase the use of health facilities and family planning; improve facilities; and train and support non-physician clinicians to deliver emergency obstetric care. Across Kigoma, Morogoro, Nguruka, and Pwani regions:

  • Thamini Uhai has actively upgraded, renovated or rebuilt 15 rural health centers and district hospitals, and supports a further five facilities. It also supports 18 dispensaries in high catchment areas, to improve access to high quality skilled birth attendance and Basic Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (BEmONC) services.
  • More than 100 assistant medical officers, nurse-midwives, and clinical officers have been trained in comprehensive emergency obstetric care or anesthesia.
  • Health center utilization for delivery has increased substantially, from about 21,661 deliveries in the program-supported facilities in 2011, to 26,189 deliveries in 2015.

The program has received financial support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Blue Lantern, Fondation H&B Agerup, and Svenska Postkod Stiftelsen and Thamini Uhai is an affiliate of Vital Strategies.

To find out more, please visit, please visit www.thaminiuhai.or.tz or Twitter @ThaminiUhai, or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ThaminiUhai/

Maria Sarungi-Tsehai, msarungi-tsehai@vitalstrategies.org, +255 784235215

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that seeks to accelerate progress on the world’s most pressing health problems. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health expert, please contact Tracey Johnston, Vital Strategies, at +44.7889.081.170 or tjohnston@vitalstrategies.org

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