USAID celebrates life-saving project's success in Tanzania

25Sep 2021
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
USAID celebrates life-saving project's success in Tanzania

REPRESENTATIVES from the United States government and their Tanzanian counterparts yesterday participated in a virtual conference to celebrate achievements of the US Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Boresha Afya Lake and Western Zone activity.

Dr Aifello Sichalwe.

A statement released by USAID said the initiative was meant to improve health outcomes for millions of Tanzanians in Kigoma, Simiyu, Geita, Mwanza, Kagera, Shinyanga, Mara regions  and Zanzibar.

It added that participants celebrated the many achievements of the activity and discussed opportunities to further improve the provision of high-quality health services.

USAID also commits to pursuing this same level of collaboration and partnership moving forward as this partnership helps to achieve the best results for the Tanzanian people.

Dr Aifello Sichalwe, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children was the guest of honour.

According to the advisory, the five-year, US$ 59 million Boresha Afya activity enabled Tanzanian women, children, adolescents and their caregivers to utilize improved malaria, reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent (RMNCAH) services. And when the world changed with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It later expanded its support to include important actions to combat the spread of COVID-19, including over US$1 million supporting case management, emergency, and critical care in both Zanzibar and Mainland Tanzania.

The activity generated a sustainable demand for health services, reduced barriers to access and uptake of (RMNCAH) and malaria. USAID said it has achieved tremendous improvements in the quality of RMNCAH and malaria services and improvements of key health performance indicators that we have achieved, including reduction of the number of maternal deaths in Kagera, Mara and Geita from 231 in 2016 to 170 in 2020 (26 per cent), adding that in Zanzibar, it reduced the number of maternal deaths in supported hospitals from 67 in 2016 to 47 in 2020 (30 per cent).

This was accomplished by conducting reviews and addressing identified gaps, according to USAID.

The activity also increased postpartum family planning uptake from 12 per cent in 2016/17 to 29 per cent in 2019/20, ensuring that couples have access to quality family planning services immediately after giving birth and supporting healthy birth interval and the wellbeing of both mother and child.

It also increased protection against malaria for expectant mothers and unborn babies through uptake of intermittent preventive therapy (IPTp3+), with usage increasing from 28 per cent in 2016 to 66 per cent in 2021 in the 7 focus regions.

Speaking at the event, USAID Mission Director V. Kate Somvongsiri remarked, “At USAID, we are committed to investing in health systems strengthening and breakthrough innovations to prevent maternal, newborns, children and adolescents’ deaths by helping women and children access essential, and often lifesaving, health services. These priorities are reflected in our Country Development Cooperation Strategy - which places children and adolescents at the heart of our five-year plan. Moving forward, we are excited to continue partnering with you all to further reduce maternal and newborn deaths. Through a new activity that is under procurement, we will build on the lessons learned from Boresha Afya and leverage the capacity and energy that continues to grow and shine in this country.”

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