AS a way of improving health services by especially reducing maternal and child deaths in the country, Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) has set up an intensive care unit (ICU) in the maternity ward, which will provide critical care to mothers with life threatening conditions, such as ‘ eclampsia’.
The latter is a condition in which one or more convulsions occur in an ex pectant mother suffering from high blood pressure often followed by coma and posing a health risk to the mother and her baby.
Thus, an expectant mother can now access an ICU service within the same building she is admitted to and this reduces health risks to both the mother and her baby.
This is great stride! According to MNH Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department, Dr V incent Tarimo, before this set up ICU was 150 metres away from the maternity ward, but now it isn’t the case.
his makes a big difference in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. This is just one ex ample of the initiatives the government has taken to improve maternity services in the country and thus reduce the risk of losing both the mother and her baby during birth complications.
Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey and Malaria Indicator Survey 2015/16 puts the maternity mortality ratio at 556 deaths per 100,00 live births in a year and 30 deaths every day.
However, the government has set up a target of reducing maternal deaths to 292 from the current 556 deaths per 100,00 live births by next year and continue doing so as years pass by.
Dr Tarimo says the World Health Organisation (WHO) requires hospitals to have 10 per cent of all beds for ICU and since MNH has 1,500 beds it is supposed to have 155 beds for ICU, but currently it has only 78 beds, equivalent to 50 per cent of WHO’s requirement.
We are sure that with the availability of funds the government will continue equipping other referral hospitals with requisite equipment and services to improve maternal and child health.
As we envision becoming a middle-income and industrial economy by 2025, we will be able to improve Tanzanians’ quality of life by improving health services and making them accessible to the majority of people, who in the past did not easily access them.
We hope that with the 33.1tri/- national budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year, which was endorsed by Parliament on Tuesday, the government will be able to improve many social services, including health services.
The provision of improved health services depends on the availability of funds and with this we encourage the government to continue collecting tax and increasing revenue sources so that all new initiatives are adequately funded to make health services efficient and effective and accessible to all.