MSD in new initiative to end curse of maternal mortality

08Mar 2018
Henry Mwangonde
The Guardian
MSD in new initiative to end curse of maternal mortality

THE government-run Medical Stores Department (MSD) has introduced a new maternal delivery kit package with all 12 instruments required in the labour room, sold at an affordable price, in a fresh bid to curb - if not completely eradicate - maternal deaths in the country.

MSD director Laurean Rugambwa

According to MSD director Laurean Rugambwa, the move is aimed at easing access to such instruments for expectant mothers, especially in the rural areas, and thus saving them from the frustrations they often experience when told that the hospital or clinic where they go to deliver their babies does not have the required instruments at hand.

He said the wholesome delivery packs will be distributed mainly to rural health centres where some key delivery instruments are not normally available or sold at very high cost.

“We are urging all health centres to place orders for the pack because doing so can help save the lives of many expectant mothers, along with their babies,” stated Rugambwa.

He added that whereby a single pack can cost between 55,000/- to 60,000/- in private pharmacies, MSD will sell them for just 21,000/- each.

The MSD boss also sought to assure Tanzanians that there are enough essential medicines in the country hence no need to panic.

According to Rugambwa, the availability of high priority medicines is 90 per cent with anti-retroviral (ARV) and malaria treatment drugs being available at a percentage of 100.

With a ratio of 578 per 100,000, maternal deaths represent 18 per cent of all deaths of women aged between 15-49 in Tanzania.

The main direct causes of maternal deaths are said to be hemorrhages, infections, unsafe abortions, hypertensive disorders, and obstructed labour.

The presence of these causes is exacerbated by both HIV/AIDS and malaria, Tanzania's top killer diseases. The fact that more than half of births in Tanzania occur at home also contributes to an elevated maternal mortality rate. Of all pregnant women, only 46 per cent are assisted during childbirth by a doctor, clinical officer, nurse, midwife or maternal and child health aide.

But though the rate of assisted birth is low, 94 percent of women receive antenatal care (ANC) from a health professional at least once. However, the number of women who seek ANC at least four times has decreased from 71 per cent in 1999 to 62 per cent in 2005.

This indicates a need for increased efforts in regards to maternal health. Also notable is that while a large majority of women receive ANC, less than half of them are informed about the signs of pregnancy complications.