Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”
(Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania) – With the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to reduce maternal deaths falling far below the mark in Tanzania and other African countries, World Lung Foundation today urged President Jakaya Kikwete, Co-Chair of the United Nations Commission on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health, to use the occasion to commit his office even further to addressing the unacceptably high and needless deaths caused by this issue.
World Lung Foundation just completed a Maternal Health Summit in Dar es Salaam and in Kigoma that brought together international experts, government officials, donors and medical experts to identify best practices and gaps in emergency obstetric care.
According to latest estimates, there are about 450 deaths from pregnancy-related causes per 100,000 live births in Tanzania. In isolated rural regions, the cause is often a lack of obstetrical care, including emergency surgery for obstructed labor. Additionally, sixty-seven deaths occur before age one for every 1,000 live births.
Since 2006 World Lung Foundation has been working closely with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to implement a state-of –the-art maternal health program in Tanzania. The program has trained personnel, renovated health centers and constructed operating theaters, maternity wards, laboratories and staff housing in Kigoma, Morogoro, Pwani and Singida.
Serious gaps exist in timely arrival of medicines and other resources, which WLF urges the government to address.
Dr. Staffan Bergstrom, WLF’s Project Director, said, “In addition to the three critical delays that are at the root of maternal ill health and death globally – delays in seeking care, delays in transportation, and delays in receiving the adequate medical attention at a health facility – we must also have basic resources like drugs and sutures to care for women who come to centers. We appreciate our partnership with the Government of Tanzania and look to them for a strong and serious commitment to save the lives of mothers and infants. ”