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November 11, 2016

Thamini Uhai: the next phase for successful maternal health project

(November 11, 2016, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and New York, USA) – In the presence of Dr. Koheleth Winani, National Coordinator for Safe Motherhood and acting Director of Reproductive and Child Health, Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, media and maternal health experts from across Tanzania, a new name in maternal health was launched today in Dar es Salaam. Thamini Uhai (“Value Life”) is the new name for World Lung Foundation Tanzania, marking its recent registration as a Tanzanian organization.

Since 2008, the Thamini Uhai team has increased maternal health care capacity, improved access to emergency obstetric care and facilities, and increased the use of family planning and health facility delivery. Under its new brand, the organization will continue to work towards its mission of improving maternal and newborn health and reducing preventable deaths in targeted districts. Thamini Uhai’s existing, highly experienced leadership team and staff remain in place and are committed to the organization going forward.

Dr. Nguke Mwakatundu, Executive Director, Thamini Uhai, said: “Over the past eight years, our expert team has improved maternal health outcomes and helped to save lives. We are proud of those achievements. Today’s announcement marks the next stage in our journey. Becoming a Tanzanian organization is central to our project’s ongoing mission and sustainability. It enables full ownership of our work and objectives, by Tanzanians, for Tanzanians, under a new brand that more closely reflects our core mission of improving maternal and newborn health.  We remain committed to those objectives and to working closely with the government of Tanzania, our partners and our stakeholders to help our country meet its maternal and newborn health goals.”

While independent, Thamini Uhai will remain a close affiliate of Vital Strategies (the organization formed in January 2016 from the merger of World Lung Foundation and the Union North America) and Vital Strategies will continue to be a strong supporter of Thamini Uhai and its essential work in Tanzania.

Sandra Mullin, Senior Vice President, Policy, Advocacy and Communication, Vital Strategies (formerly known as World Lung Foundation) said: “Since 2008, the Thamini Uhai team has grown into a strong force for progress in maternal and newborn health in Tanzania. Vital Strategies has been proud to support this important work and we are delighted that our commitment to sustainability has enabled the team to realize their vision of Thamini Uhai becoming a Tanzanian organization. Vital Strategies will continue to support Thamini Uhai as an affiliate organization. We congratulate the team on their successes to date, and are certain Thamini Uhai will continue to work with its extensive network of partners in government, the health system and communities to deliver the systems, programs, expertise, facilities and communications that are improving the lives and life opportunities of so many Tanzanians.”

About Thamini Uhai

Since 2008, Thamini Uhai (formerly known as World Lung Foundation Tanzania) has been working to help reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in Tanzania by implementing a state-of-the-art maternal health program. The program, which has received financial support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Blue Lantern, Fondation H&B Agerup,and Svenska Postkod Stiftelsen, aims to improve women’s access to good-quality, comprehensive emergency obstetric care, particularly in rural and isolated areas. Thamini Uhai can point to a number of accomplishments across geographically strategic health centers and hospitals in eight districts in the Kigoma, Morogoro, Nguruka, and Pwani regions. Since 2008: 

  • Thamini Uhai has actively upgraded, renovated or rebuilt 15 rural health centers and district hospitals, and supports a further five facilities, to ensure the provision of life-saving comprehensive emergency obstetric care. Prior to the program, patients had to travel three to four hours to the nearest hospital. Now, emergency obstetric care is available in the community.
  • Thamini Uhai 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 care has increased substantially, from about 21,661 deliveries in the program-supported facilities in 2011, to 26,189 deliveries in 2015.
  • The program has also supported innovative cross-channel communication and community campaigns to increase the use of health facilities and family planning.

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 envisions a world where every person is protected by a strong public health system.  Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change.  Vital Strategies is an affiliate of The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).

To find out more, please visit vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat

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

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