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Support Efforts to Boost Blood Supply in Kigoma

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(Kigoma) ––On the eve of World Blood Donation Day, World Lung Foundation (WLF) is supporting the Tanzanian government and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in their efforts to officiate this important event in Kigoma region. The region has only 14 health facilities that provide Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care (CEmOC) of which 9 facilities in Kigoma Urban, Kibondo, Kakonko, Kasulu and Uvinza districts have been upgraded and receive support from WLF

A safe, robust, blood supply is critical to improving the outcomes of complicated deliveries in rural parts of the country. Postpartum haemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal deaths and many key component of Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care and directly impacts the maternal health project.

Having any of blood in our Health centers is a matter of life and death,” said Dr. Nguke Mwakatundu, who leads WLF’s work in Tanzania. “This is a critical area where any person can contribute to the well-being of mothers and newborns in our country, so we urge everyone to come and donate blood now.”

World Blood Donation Day marks the culmination of the “Safe blood for saving mothers” campaign in Tanzania, which aims to increase awareness about the need for timely access to safe blood and campaign that aims to promote voluntary blood donation. World Blood Donation Day is an important event for WLF.

World Lung Foundation can point to several accomplishments across geographically strategic health centers and hospitals in seven districts in the Kigoma, Morogoro and Pwani regions. Since 2006:

• WLF has actively upgraded, renovated or rebuilt 12 rural health centers and four district hospitals to safeguard the existence of life-saving comprehensive emergency obstetric care. Prior to the program, patients had to travel 3-4 hours to the nearest hospital. Now, emergency obstetric care is available in the community.

• 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 3,500 deliveries per year in 9 health centers prior to the program to about 9,000 in 2011 after the intervention

• More than 1,000 C-sections have been performed

• The Ulanga district, one of 7 districts where the program is operating, saw a 32% decline in maternal deaths after the program was implemented.