First Lady Salma Kikwete has urged the government to make midwifery as a subject to be taught in schools to create awareness on maternal health.
Speaking during the launch of a three-year campaign called “Stand Up for African Mothers” in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, Salma Kikwete said it was important to ensure midwifery was taught in schools to encourage students to opt for science subjects and enable them to become midwives to save mothers’ and children’s lives.
She said the campaign was intended to train at least 15,000 midwives in Africa and 4,222 midwives in Tanzania.
She thus called upon well-wishers to donate money to facilitate midwives’ training as a way of supporting the government’s efforts of improving maternal health to reduce maternal mortality.
The campaign was organised by African Medical and Research Foundation (Amref) and aimed at raising funds for midwives across the continent.
“Although the meaning of Amref’s campaign is to improve maternal health services in Tanzania, it will not be successful if stakeholders and companies will not contribute to the campaign,” the First lady said.
She appealed to development organisations, local governments and community institutions to invest in training midwives to reduce a shortage of midwives to 50 per cent because the total number of midwives in the country was too small to meet the need of maternal and child health services.
For his part, Minister for Health and Social Welfare Dr Hussein Mwinyi said apart from the maternal mortality, they also faced many problems during child delivery as some children died in the first week after delivery. “Today, we are experiencing the impact caused by the maternal mortality.
“There is an increase in the number of children growing without mother care. According to reports, about 1.5 million African children are left motherless each year,” he said.
Amref Tanzania Director Dr Festus Ilako said the awareness campaign drew attention to the plight of African mothers and mobilised citizens to give them basic medical care needed to spare their lives.
“Without basic medical care infant and maternal mortality remains a critical problem in sub-Saharan Africa where 70 per cent of African women do not receive prenatal care and half of all deliveries take place at home without medical assistance,” he said.