– It is possible with very simple steps to lower the amount of maternal death.
– See also our article about an application for hospitals, nurses and doctors, and small urban clinics. Danish birth application saves lives in Africa
Geita District in Geita Region has drastically reduced the number of maternal deaths to only nine last year as opposed to 48 cases in 2012, thanks to, among others, special dress preventing excessive bleeding courtesy of the government and non-governmental organizations.
Geita District Reproductive Health Coordinator Felister Malima said that 33 out of 35 pregnant women died at health centres last year because of excessive bleeding after delivery.
Ms Malima said this while addressing a health monitoring committee formed by a Mwanza-based non-governmental organization Tandabui Health Access Tanzania (THAT).
She told the committee that only three cases of maternal deaths were reported in the district in the first quarter of this year as compared to 12 incidents in the same period last year thanks to the use of a special dress by expectant mothers to prevent excessive bleeding. She said the special gown would tighten blood vessels and the womb of an excessive bleeding expectant mother before she is referred to a health facility, and that it can hold the patient for 72 hours prior to reaching referral facilities.
Ifakara Health Institute has offered the district a total of 11 dresses which in the last six months alone have rescued 84 pregnant mothers who had experienced excessive bleeding after delivery, she said, adding that the magic gowns have also been sent to Katoro and Nzera health centres.
The Institute has also provided two mobile phones to each dispensary with maternity services, three mobile phones to each health centre and six mobile phones for the Geita district hospital.
“Lack of communication can be fatal. So improving communication for serving pregnant mothers is equally important,” she said.
She however attributed the success to THAT’s strategy of establishing monitoring committees in health care centres, saying it has bridged a gap between the service provider and consumers.
She said since shortage of health centres and staff have contributed to maternal deaths, the government recruited 130 new staff members, making the total number of 525 out of 700 service providers needed in Geita district.
However, Geita is not alone in deserving a pet on the back for reducing maternal deaths.
Ilemela district has not recorded even a single death of a pregnant woman in the past two years, thanks to joint efforts by the government and stakeholders who provide health services.
The acting Ilemela district Reproductive Health Coordinator Hellen Kapwani told a health stakeholders’ meeting that her jurisdiction had ensured excess of maternal and child cards to all and at any time.
The district authorities send the cards to health centres and direct medical doctors/officers to stamp them before distributing for maternal and child health services use, but the patients had been often forced to buy the cards. Two culprits were apprehended last year and were transferred to Buzuruga health center, for more scrutiny and an order to report to the Chief Medical Officer and the consequrnt Attendance Register.
She said they have formed a district team to improve services by visiting all health centres every month and provide clients with maternal and child cards.
The team also holds sessions with service providers and writes a report to the District Council Health Services Management team, otherwise keep suggestion boxes at all health facilities in the District.
She said another strategy is to ensure that all facilities that provide health services in the district provide delivery services in accordance with the number of health staff available and that the services have to be offered for 24 hours.