Celebrating MHCB Success with Minister of Health

|   Maternal Health

CCBRT joins hands with Government of Tanzania to save the lives of mothers & babies

The Government of Tanzania and Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) partner to strengthen maternal and newborn health care services in Tanzania. In collaboration with the Government’s Regional Health Management Team and the Council Health Management teams, CCBRT aims to strengthen skills and expand the knowledge of clinicians, raising the quality of maternal and newborn care in 23 public health facilities in Dar es Salaam.

The success of this partnership is marked by a visit from the Honourable Ummy Mwalimu, Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children and Erwin Telemans CCBRT’s CEO at Temeke Hospital to celebrate the inspiring results of the CCBRT’s Maternal & Newborn Healthcare work.

Each year, 8,000 women in Tanzania die due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and 42,000 babies do not survive their first month of life. 80% of maternal death could be prevented. The Government of Tanzania has prioritised reducing maternal and neonatal deaths under its One Plan II.

Since the inception of the Maternal & Newborn Healthcare Capacity Building programme in 2010, CCBRT has invested over 11 billion TZS into public health facilities in order to achieve the goals set out in the national road map and Health Sector Strategic Plan. This investment in human resource development, medical equipment, and infrastructure contributed to 300% improvement in quality of maternal and newborn healthcare delivered in the partner facilities[1] and contributed to a 30% reduction in maternal mortality in the Dar es Salaam Region.

The CCBRT team of doctors, nurse-midwives, and data managers work side by side with health care providers on a range of interventions and techniques, including comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care, antenatal care, surgical skills, anaesthesia, and neonatal care. In addition, they provide on-the-job mentoring and supply equipment and medicine to the sites. By providing this mentorship and support, CCBRT arms clinicians with the tools and skills to save mothers and their babies. Over 5,000 clinicians have been trained in topics including emergency obstetric care, vacuum delivery, surgical skills, evidence based standard operating procedures, and data collection.

These trainings have built the skills of Tanzanian health workers, which in turn improves outcomes for mothers and babies. During complicated deliveries, health workers are prepared to intervene to help the mothers and babies through caesarean sections and vacuum assisted deliveries. In 2011, the caesarean section rate was less than 3% in the partner facilities, below the WHO recommendation of 10-15% of all deliveries. By 2016, 14% of deliveries were caesarean section. Similarly, vacuum-assisted deliveries have increased to 3.1% (from 0.2%) in the 23 facilities, reducing the time that mothers are in prolonged labour, thus reducing their risk of developing obstetric fistula, and increasing survival of mothers and babies.

On site at Temeke Hospital, the honourable Minister Mwalimu toured the obstetric and neonatal wards to see the fruits borne of this effort. She officially commissioned $95,000 worth of neonatal equipment that was designed especially for low resource settings and provided by CCBRT MHCBP. Minister Mwalimu commented, "I want to see neonatal wards like this one in every district hospital". Without these tools at hand, clinicians were not adequately able to treat the top three causes of newborn death: prematurity, infection, and birth asphyxia. With CCBRT’s support, health workers can now help babies breathe, keep them warm, and prevent infection, thus saving their lives.

“Today we celebrate the incredible progress CCBRT and government health facilities have made saving the lives of mothers and babies in Dar es Salaam,” Erwin Telemans, CCBRT CEO noted. “With expert teaching, side by side mentoring, and the equipment that they need, public clinicians are building their skills and changing the way they practice medicine, which has improved outcomes for mothers and babies”.

CCBRT’s efforts to strengthen comprehensive maternal and newborn healthcare in Dar es Salaam are made possible by funding from the Vodafone Foundation through a public/private partnership with USAID/PEPFAR, and the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

[1] Measured using the Standards Based Management Recognition tool (SBMR), developed by the Government of Tanzania in collaboration with the MAISHA programme, and Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University.