TRAINING TANZANIAN NURSES TO PROVIDE LIFE-SAVING CARE
Tanzania continues to have one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Africa and the world, with women facing a 1-in-45 chances of dying from pregnancy or childbirth complications, compared to 1 in 10,000 in high-income countries. The scarcity of trained health professionals and of health centers in rural areas, and the fact that few facilities are equipped to provide comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care, are key challenges.
To help change the odds for Tanzanian mothers, Mothers at Risk partnered with the Diocese of Musoma, an important provider of health care in the Mara region. Mara is among the three worse performing regions in the country for skilled birth attendance during delivery, with only one in three births taking place in a health facility (compared to the national average, which is 50%). The Diocese runs a much-needed network of 15 local health care facilities, and has been working to reduce infant and maternal mortality and morbidity since 1975.
MAR has sponsored training workshops on basic emergency obstetric care and antenatal care for scores of service providers (nurse midwives, nursing officers, public health nurses, clinical officers) working within the health care facilities managed by the Diocese. This training is based on the national curriculum and is lead by expert facilitators from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. Maintaining these health care workers’ skills and knowledge up-to-date is essential to saving the lives of the mothers and babies they attend to. MAR has also sponsored ongoing oversight and supervision of this staff, to ensure consistent quality over time.
Sister Anastasia Salla, the Health Secretary for the Diocese of Musoma, has shown great determination in maintaining high standards of care for the women in the health facilities under her charge. The partnership with MAR has helped her with that mission, in her words:
These workshops enlighten us and improve our capability to provide quality care in order to reduce maternal and child mortality rates. Thank you for the support, mentoring, supervision and for providing us with highly competent and committed facilitators. You have given us courage in our services and helped the health care needs of women and children in Musoma.