ZANZIBAR President Hussein Mwinyi has underscored the need for collaborative efforts between the government and other health stakeholders to reduce preventable maternal mortality.
Dr Mwinyi made the remarks here at the weekend, praising the initiative taken by Amref-Tanzania in collaboration with NBC Bank to support the government’s programme to control maternal and infant mortality in Zanzibar.
“Deaths resulting from labor-related complications remain a challenge in Zanzibar with an average mortality rate of 134 out of 100,000 live births affecting mothers; and, an average of 37 deaths per 1,000 babies born,” Dr Mwinyi said when gracing a new maternal, child and reproductive health initiative dubbed ‘Uzazi ni Maisha Wogging Campaign’.
“Mother and child services in our health centres have many challenges that contribute to these deaths from reproductive problems, including the lack of medical equipment, medicine and the shortage of health workers. Let us work together to overcome these unpleasant numbers,” he implored at the end of the Walk-Jog-Run event, which attracted hundreds of people, at Amani Stadium.
Dr Mwinyi said he was delighted to hear that, through the Uzazi ni Maisha campaign, a total of 28 health centres will get medical equipment, which is equal to 40.5 per cent of all centres that provide mother and child care in the Isles villages.
“I encourage everyone to strive to be part of this good plan and bring success to our government,” he urged.
He congratulated NBC Bank and Amref Tanzania for complementing the government’s efforts to reduce the number of maternal deaths in Zanzibar.
The campaign brought together more than 4,000 participants, including corporate officers, diplomats, development partners, government officials, media and individuals, with the slogan: ‘Donate Medical Equipment for newborn children.
Dr Mwinyi applauded the efforts of Amref for developing the unique method and urged more stakeholders to participate to ensure that they become part of the access to medical equipment and medicines for neonates in Zanzibar.
He said that the government was introducing ‘National Health Insurance,’ increasing budget allocation, training medical staff, and constructing modern facilities in all districts with the aim of improving health services delivery including minimizing congestion. Such initiatives, he said, will also address maternal and infant mortality.
With the theme: “Changia Vifaa Tiba kwa Uzazi Salama” Kiswahili for “Support Medical Equipment and Supplies for Safe Delivery”, the trending wogging marathon focused on creating awareness about the existing gaps in the health sector.
It also targeted raising funds to support government initiatives in ensuring there is sufficient medical equipment and supplies for safe delivery in the identified health facilities in Zanzibar.
The Zanzibar Minister for Health, Mr Nassor Ahmed Mazrui appreciated the support, saying it was crucial and much needed.
“Our role is to ensure that the medical equipment and supplies are available to help save lives,” he said.
The NBC’’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Theobald Sabi said the bank will continue to support the national agenda to improve the health of mothers and children through the Mobile Clinic Vans).
On his part, Resident Director of Amref Health Africa in Tanzania Dr Florence Temu said the target is to collect more than 1bn/-to ensure that the five identified regions are provided with medical equipment and medicines.
“Through this collaboration, our goal is to support access to essential medical equipment for safe childbirth in Zanzibar, especially in the five regions of Zanzibar which are Urban West, North Unguja, South Unguja, South Pemba and North Pemba,” she explained.