Zanzibar targets zero maternal deaths

Zanzibar targets zero maternal deaths

ZANZIBAR is undertaking major reforms in the health sector aiming at, among others, ending maternal deaths.

Minister for Health, Nassor Ahmed Mazrui stated this on Friday as he revealed strategies for implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).

"The government is determined to clear all challenges that are linked to maternal and infant mortality," Mr Mazrui promised at the official launch of the project dubbed "Development and Implementation of Quality Improvement (QI) of Integrated HIV, TB and Malaria Services in Antenatal and Postnatal Care." He said at the event held at the Institute of Tourism Conference, Maruhubi area in the north of Stone Town.

Mr Mazrui explained that the government will take measures to address recent increase of deaths related to pregnancy from 150 in 2019/2020 to 162 deaths this year 2021/2022.

“This is scary, we have to take workable measures," he said.

The Minister mentioned the ongoing reforms in the health sector as improving the welfare of all health staff, increasing the number of staff including skilled personnel, having modern medical equipment and increasing space by constructing eleven new facilities to end congestion in hospitals including up to three pregnant women sharing one bed in the maternity ward.

"The Development and Implementation of Quality Improvement (QI) of Integrated HIV, TB and Malaria Services in Antenatal and Postnatal Care comes at the right time, complementing the government efforts towards improving the quality of health services in Zanzibar," he said.

The project is being implemented by the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) under support of Global Fund of TAKEDA support.

Similar projects are implemented in other countries in Africa including Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Chad and Togo.According to the Minister, the project seeks to support the government efforts in strengthening the capacity building of health workers, particularly those who are working in Antenatal and Postnatal Care.

Mr Mazrui said: "We believe that our communities still need quality health care. Therefore, when we have quality and competent staff in Antenatal and Postnatal Care, we can reduce the maternal deaths which are still challenging in our health sector."

Dr Rael Mutai- regional Technical Advisor, LSTM said that the two years USD 300,000 for Zanzibar will also include conducting research on ways to reduce maternal mortality, "It is our hope that through this collaboration with the Ministry of Health and SUZA, we shall identify the 'bottlenecks to providing quality of care."

The Vice-Chancellor, the State University of Zanzibar (SUZA) Professor Mohammed Makame Haji said that his institution was happy to be part of implementers of the project, while Dr Salma Abdi Mahmoud- obstetrician and gynecologist, researcher, lecturer at SUZA said "Team working will enable us find solutions to challenges."

Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter in Zanzibar

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