TANGA: EFFORTS to save premature babies in Tanga City are gaining momentum thanks to a 35m- donation as part of the contribution for establishment of a special unit for the preterm babies by Dr Doris Mollel Foundation.
The Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Doris Mollel, and artist Barnaba, the campaign’s champion, delivered the equipment that would effectively allow the hospital to establish a specific ward for premature babies.
The equipment was received by Minister for Health, Ms Ummy Mwalimu at the hospital in Tanga today.
Ms Mwalimu, who is Tanga Legislator, said Dr Mollel’s donation is critical in lowering preterm baby mortality in the city as well as the workload at the Tanga Regional Referral Hospital in Bombo. The equipment was supplied by Assemble Insurance, which donated 5m/- and another anonymous contributor (30m/-).
Currently, the regional hospital gets preterm babies from all districts in Tanga Region, causing Tanga City to be perceived as having a high rate of premature mortality.
The minister expressed gratitude to the charity, which has been working on the campaign to save premature newborns for eight years, and stated that the donation was in accordance with President Samia Suluhu Hassan commitment to prevent pregnant women and children, particularly premature babies, from death. “The government is determined to ensure that all district hospitals have an intensive care unit for premature babies.” “We’ve done it for all of the regional hospitals,” she explained.
Ummy stated that the government has received a 625bn/- for strengthening maternal and child health in Tanzania as a result of President Dr Samia’s efforts.
“Efforts to save premature babies appear to be bearing fruit. Premature baby mortality has decreased from 67 per 1,000 live births in 2015 to 45 per 1,000 live births in 2022 at national level.
The mortality rate for children aged one year old has dropped from 43 per 1,000 live births to 33, although the drop for children, one to 28 days old has been slight, from 25 per 1,000 live births to merely 24.
In terms of the Tanga Region, Ummy noted that premature baby mortality had decreased from 263 per 1000 live births to 165.
“We want to dwell on improved services for premature babies but the major goal is to invest in knowledge and that is why there is a mentorship program where specialist doctors conduct a two-week practical mentorship program in health centers to train health staff on how to care for premature babies,” she said.
Dr Doris Mollel, spoke about the donation, saying that the foundation had supported more than 70 health facilities and five hospitals since they began their campaign eight years ago.
Artist Barnabas expressed his joy as being part of the effort to save lives of premature babies and urged other artists and the media to join the fight.
According to Dr Mohamed Salim of Tanga Regional Referral Hospital, premature babies require a lot of specialist care right after delivery because they have problems including low blood sugar and respiratory difficulties.
Dr Salim remarked that the unit’s installation at Tanga District Hospital would help to alleviate Bombo’s burden.