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Stakeholders call for ringfenced maternal health budget

They particularly pointed at monetary allocation for comprehensive emergency obstetric care at every health centre as one way to save women’s lives.

Speaking at Kibiti Health Centre in Rufiji over the weekend, the coordinator of the White Ribbon Alliance in Tanzania, Ms Rose Mlay, said that this would accelerate the reduction of maternal, newborn and child deaths.

She called upon the authorities to allocate ring-fenced budgets specifically towards the life-saving comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care in the 2014/2015 financial year.

She said that it was important for over 50 per cent of all health centres to provide life-saving comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care (CEmONC).

“As a stakeholder in health issues, I am delighted about what I am seeing at Kibiti Healh Centre, being exemplary in offering comprehensive emergency obstetric care here,” she said, adding, “I want to see that the government uses this as an example that this is possible.”

“We urge players to deliver on commitments to save the lives of Tanzanian mothers and babies who die before, during or after giving birth,” said Mlay.

The in-charge medical assistant at Kibiti Health Centre, Chagi Lyimo, said that before the state-of-the art caesarean theatre was built, they were getting 35 mothers giving birth at the centre per month, but after upgrading, they are currently getting over 100 women giving birth in the same period.

He said the women come from as far as 30km away from the centre. “People perceive us as a hospital since we do operations here,” he said.

He added that the centre’s responsibilities had been increased yet the quantity of drugs and equipment from the Medical Stores Department remained the same.

“This is a follow-up to pledges the government made in the One Plan 2008-2015 -- a national roadmap to accelerate the reduction of maternal, newborn and child deaths, that 50 per cent of all health centres will provide life-saving comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care.

These would include caesarean sections, safe blood transfusion to pregnant women and qualified health workers. According to official estimates, more than 20 women die of pregnancy and child birth related complications every day in Tanzania.

Medical experts say a woman suffering from obstructed labour, heavy bleeding or fitting from high blood pressure (eclampsia) may have only two hours to live.

Most of these women live in remote areas where roads are extremely poor and medical services are limited or nonexistent.

The government is finalising a plan that ...

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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