A Mwanza-based NGO, Tandabui Health Access Tanzania (THAT), has embarked on the implementation of a project meant to improve maternal and child health services.
The project, THAT/Afya Radio, will start with trial runs in the three Mwanza Region districts of Nyamagana, Ilemela and Geita before covering more areas upon showing reasonable success.
Its thrust is on achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals and the objectives of Tanzania’s National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty, preferably by the 2015 deadline, by incorporating as many stakeholders as possible.
Opening a one-day seminar on the project here at the weekend, Nyamagana District Commissioner Said Amanzi appealed to more organisations to emulate Tandabui by running seminars to enhance productivity and accountability among health personnel.
He said that the death rate among pregnant women in Mwanza Region was still alarmingly high, “and hence the need for other NGOs to take a leaf from THAT/Afya Radio by conducting seminars to help health personnel provide better services to the people”.
Jane Benedict, the project’s coordinator, said they have set out to identify the reasons behind the big number of deaths among pregnant women and to provide proper education on the usefulness of expert antenatal and postnatal care.
She explained that the project would closely cooperate with the government in reaching the MDGs, “particularly as relate to reducing morbidity and mortality among pregnant women and attaining the objectives of Mkukuta, preferably by the 2015 deadline”.
The coordinator quoted official 2010 statistics from the Mwanza Regional Commissioner’s office as showing that 186 women succumbed to birth complications, “and that is why we at Tandabui, as key health stakeholders, decided to take action starting with Nyamagana and Ilemela district before proceeding to Geita on a pilot basis”.
During the seminar, specialists from Bugando Referral Hospital conducted research relating to the maternal services made available by local leaders, heads of medical centres as well as ward executive officers through the filling of questionnaires prepared by THAT/Afya Radio.
After Nyamagana and Ilemela, researchers will move on to Geita District where they will meet community change agencies (CCA) including health providers, local leaders, pregnant women and various other members of the community. THAT/Afya Radio has already equipped scores of CCAs with skills and knowledge meant to help them conduct research more gainfully.
It is noted that the CCAs, who previously practised as health personnel in their respective areas, will also be introduced to the functions and usefulness of medical equipment and facilities available at medical centres.
Dignitaries at the seminar included the Nyamagana DC, Mwanza City Mayor Josephat Manyerere, acting Mwanza City Director Francis Mkabenga, retired Mwanza Regional Medical Officer (now THAT/Afya Radio adviser) Meshack Massi, district administrative secretaries, and ward executive officers.
Apart from Ilemela, Geita and Nyamagana districts, THAT/Afya Radio operates elsewhere in Mwanza Region as well as in Kagera, Kigoma, Mara and Shinyanga regions.