Kikwete launches foundation, focuses on maternal, child health

18Nov 2018
Crispin Gerald
Guardian On Sunday
Kikwete launches foundation, focuses on maternal, child health

FORMER President Jakaya Kikwete has vowed to support maternal and child health efforts in a new drive to ensure the problem is well addressed under his Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF).

Speaking at a thanksgiving dinner party event organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Tanzania (AMCHAM-Tz) over the weekend in Dar es Salaam, Kikwete said the mission aims to reduce the challenge countrywide.

“I have considered maternal care as one of the important areas that need intensive and serious measures, therefore we desired to come up with a model to scale up services,” he explained.

“Mothers are dying for causes which can be prevented, and experts said most mothers and neonatal deaths happen within the first day of give out,” he said, citing the lack of competent midwives as a great challenge.

The foundation has been specifically introduced to address the challenge of maternal and child health, challenges of smallholder farmers, youth and good governance.    

He said smallholder farmers who account for 60 percent of the country’s population are still facing diverse challenges including hand hoe as dominant system, post harvest losses being abundant, little use of pesticides, and little use of mechanization.

“Through the foundation, we aim to bring some changes to the country’s agricultural sector through supporting smallholder farmers to transform from subsistence to commercial economy,” he added. 

“In my view poverty in Africa and Tanzania can be addressed, as governments and individuals are working hard to support rural communities to get out of poverty,” JK said.

He elaborated that he considered initiatives taken by first phase President Julius Nyerere and third phase President Benjamin Mkapa who established foundations to continue serving Tanzanians, therefore he came up with the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Foundation (JMKF).

He said that in the middle of his second term in office as president, his family and friends began to think of what he would be doing after leaving office.

The discussion was centred on how he could make handful use of the knowledge and experience that he has accumulated in over 40 years of public service.    

Kikwete said he then decided to go on and write a book titled ‘The Journey of My Life’ that explains the footsteps he makes from childhood at Msoga to become the fourth phase president of the United Republic.

He however assures that the government is eager to work with the foundation to address any challenge ahead of them in an effort to leverage the investment environment for investors, “and I hereby welcome the American Chamber of Commerce to land their investments to Tanzania.”

“The government is ready to work with you to address every challenge that you face in the course of your efforts,” he said.

For her part United States Chargé d' Affaires in Tanzania, Dr Inmi Patterson said it is incredible for Tanzanians to journey to realize their dreams, because it is not simple to deal with all the challenges.

She said it was high time to share a common goal, values and symbols and to work together between the chamber and the government in looking for possible way to address the challenges in Tanzania.

“Tanzania has a long history of accepting the newcomer jus as the US did, and the country needs support to help the immigrant population at the borders,” she told the gathering.   

“We commend the initiative of Tanzania in fostering US-Tanzania relations and fighting against poverty and corruption,” she added.

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