58 vehicles for mother, child health care
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RETIRED Union President, Mzee Ali Hassan Mwinyi, addresses the audience at the 70th UNICEF anniversary celebrations in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Looking on (second left) is the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, UNICEF Representative, Ms Maniza Zaman (right) and UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Alvaro Rodriguez. (Photo by Robert Okanda)

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MINISTRY of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children yesterday received 58 vehicles worth 5.4bn/- from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and World Health Organisation (WHO) for improved health care to mothers and children.

The Minister, Ms Ummy Mwalimu said eight of the vehicles that UNFPA handed over will be used in coordination of various activities at the ministry, with the rest 50 dispatched to various hospitals in the country as ambulances.

Some of the vehicles have already been handed over to Members of Parliament (MPs) for Lake Zone Regions including Kagera, Mwanza, Mara, Geita, Simiyu and Kigoma. She said the vehicles will help in solving various challenges facing Tanzanians, including maternal and infant mortality

“Studies conducted in 2010 and the assessment done in 2015 during preparation of work plan for Big Result Now (BRN) project in the Lake zone regions including Kigoma indicated poverty as a serious problem to health service delivery to mother and children,” said the minister, citing unlimited use of contraceptives as one of the outcomes of poverty among women.

Ms Mwalimu mentioned the challenge that was found in the studied regions as poor health services due to lack of ambulances, lack of safe blood, low participation of the community in matters of maternal health.

She urged MPs, Directors and District Medical Officers in the areas that have received the vehicles to use them appropriately for the intended purpose, asking the community and non-governmental organisations to join the fight against maternal deaths.

UNFPA Deputy Representative, Dr Hashina Begum said the support includes upgrading of health facilities to increase availability of emergence delivery services, capacity building of health care workers, procurement of life saving and reproductive health and family planning commodities.

“The coordination vehicles we are handing over today will contribute to further strengthening of maternal and child health services in the country,” said Dr Begum.

WHO representative, Dr Grace Saguti said they have plan to present 67 ambulances, fully fitted with essential equipment to support smooth referrals of patients.

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