DEPUTY Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health Dr Seif Shekalaghe has implored development stakeholders in the country to continue supporting the government’s efforts in delivering quality health services to Tanzanians.
Dr Shekalaghe made a call over the weekend, when inspecting the progress of NEST360 activities implemented by Ifakara Health Institute (ihi) and Temeke Regional Referral Hospital (TRRH) in Dar es Salaam, which aimed at reducing neonatal mortality.
Neonatal mortality, which refers to the death of any newborn that occurs between birth and 28 days after birth, is among the major public health challenges in low- and middle-income countries.
“Despite the great strides recorded by the sixth phase government in delivering health services in the country, still, there is the need for the development stakeholders to continue working with the government, to support efforts in delivering health services to the people,” Dr Shekalaghe said.
The deputy permanent secretary also commended Ifakara Health Institute through Nest360 for renovating the neonatal care unit building, providing training to health care providers as well as providing equipment such as baby cots, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and several others at TRRH.
Dr Shekalaghe further asked the institute to extend its support to other remaining health facilities, particularly those with great needs.
“If we succeed in reaching all those remaining hospitals, we will not only mitigate neonatal deaths, but also we will reduce even the referral system which costs a lot of money,” he said.
In a related development, Dr Shekalaghe directed the TRRH management to take care of the equipment entrusted to them and to set strategies for the sustainability of equipment as well as to take care of the building infrastructure.
On her part, Director, Nursing and Midwifery Services at the ministry, Ms Ziada Sellah said 80 per cent of the neonatal deaths are preventable.
“If we have health care providers with sufficient skills, including specialist doctors for mother and child, we will be able to reduce the neonatal death toll,” she said.
On the other hand, NEST360 Tanzania Director Ms Cate Paul said the programme aims to reduce infant mortality by 50 per cent by 2025.
“NEST360 is implementing health programme at seven hospitals include Amana Regional Referral Hospital, Mwananyamala Regional Referral Hospital, TRRH, Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) – Upanga, MNH – Mloganzila, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre and Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital,” she said.
Giving welcoming remarks earlier, Medical Officer In Charge (MOI) at TRRH Dr Joseph Kimaro said currently the hospital is facing a shortage of health services providers by 32 per cent compared to the needs of the hospital