ZANZIBAR : ALTHOUGH statistics for maternal and child mortality in Zanzibar are still disturbing, AMREF Africa- Tanzania in collaboration with development partners are optimistic that their ongoing fundraising campaign to collect 1bn/- will make a difference.
Latest statistics from the Ministry of Health indicates that 134/100,000 and 28/1,000, maternal and child deaths respectively, but Zanzibar government aims at reducing the deaths by half come 2025 and also meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
AMREF Africa-Tanzania Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Florence Temu, said here that the campaign dubbed ‘support medical equipment and supplies for safe delivery in Zanzibar, which started in July last year has so far collected 883m/- including cash and pledges out of 1bn/- target which is expert to be raised come July next year.
Speaking at the end of the second Amref Africa- Tanzania Wogging marathon (Walk-Jog-Run) organized in partnership with Absa bank- Tanzania, Dr Temu said “We remain optimistic to meet the target as most stakeholders, both local and international have expressed interest to support the campaign.”
The five-Kilometres marathon which climaxed at Maisara grounds, attracted also Amref Africa from headquarters in Nairobi and Amref Netherlands led by Ms Danny Dubbeldenny.
The marathon was officiated by President Hussein Ali Mwinyi who expressed gratitude to Amref team for taking health issues seriously.
Dr Mwinyi said that the crucial support from Amref in collaboration with other development partners is additional or boost to the government efforts to reduce the number of maternal and child deaths.
According to Dr Mwinyi the government has allocated, 1.5bn/- for improvement and strengthening safe delivery.
The deputy minister for Health Mr Hassan Khamis Hafidh also thanked Amref, noting that its support is a big boost to Zanzibar’s ongoing efforts to improve healthcare in isles including ending maternal and infant mortality.
“Our health sector overhaul includes infrastructure- modern buildings with enough space, having enough equipment- (modern medical lab, and transportation), enough skilled labour, medical supplies, and digitalization- mainly the introduction of e-health,” Mr Hafidh said.
Amref”s funds aim to buy medical equipment at least for 28 out of 69 maternal centres, and that during the event a mobile clinic trolley car was handed over to President Mwinyi by the Amref Africa Group CEO Dr Githinji Gitahi.
The mobile clinic trolley car worth 56m/- which included transportation from Nairobi, Kenya, fixed with solar panel to provide power in areas without the energy, it also has examination bed, refrigerator, water tank, and other equipment to be used in emergencies including safe delivery.
UN Resident Country Representative Mr Zlatan Milisic who was among the high-ranking officers at the marathon,
said “We are grateful for the opportunity to be part of this event, organized by Amref and the ministry of health Zanzibar. The fundraising initiative will go towards purchasing medical equipment to improve healthcare and save lives in Zanzibar.”
He further explained “While the progress has been made, there is still much work to be done to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates.
Mr Milisic said the United Nations remains committed to supporting Tanzania and Zanzibar in this important cause. Together, we can make a difference and provide better health and care for mothers and newborns. “