THE government is set to distribute one million clean delivery kits next year as it moves to reduce alarming neonatal and maternal mortality, as well as morbidity countrywide.
This is in additional to 500,000 maternity delivery packs planned for distribution this year, to help nearly two million women who are expected to give birth each year.
Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Deputy Minister Dr Hamisi Kigwangalla, told Parliament here yesterday, that the main objective of the initiative is to help poor women to access the vital components on their critical labour day.
An estimated 1,900,000 women give birth in Tanzania every year. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), maternal deaths in the country represent 18 percent of all deaths of women in the 15-49 age bracket.
At least 578 women die per every 100,000 live births. The main direct causes of maternal death are hemorrhage, infections, unsafe abortions, hypertensive disorders and obstructed labour.
“This means that there will be 1.5million safe delivery packs for expectant mothers in needy. It will help reduce deaths, resulting from cord infection, tetanus, and puerperal sepsis,” Dr Kigwangalla said when responding to a supplementary question by Mariam Msabaha (Special Seats-Chadema).
The MP, who had voiced similar concerns raised by Special Seats MP Munira Khatibu, said urgent measures were required to save the lives of women and their unborn babies, as well as the ones who have been born but face serious threats due to lack of delivery kits.
In her main question, Ms Kha tibu wanted to know the government’s plans for waiving taxes on delivery tools as had been done for the ones covering diabetic patients. In response, Dr Kigwangalla said the government approved a new health policy in 2007 under which antenatal clinics were a free service.
“The government has never imposed taxes on delivery tools or surgery....these services are given freely at public health facilities countrywide,” he said.