Source: Daily News

The government has adopted the national strategic plan to reduce maternal deaths from 432 to 292 in 100,000 live births by 2020. Under the national strategic plan on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, 100 theatre rooms will be built in different health centres in the country for emergency services.

Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children Minister Ummy Mwalimu, said in Dar es Salaam this week that the construction of the 100 theatre rooms will begin next year.

Ms Mwalimu said the plan will also include the construction of maternity wards and blood banks as well as increasing the number of skilled personnel and expectant mothers giving birth in health centres, with the aim of reducing maternal deaths and increasing the number of women using family planning.

The minister was speaking in Dar es Salaam at the launch of the Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey and Malaria Indicator Survey 2015/16 (TDHS-MIS), which indicated that in the past decade five women in every 1,000 live births have been dying due to maternal related complications.

"The 100 theater rooms will be constructed even before the end of next year to ensure availability of emergency maternal services at all public health centres," Ms Mwalimu said, noting that according to the report, in 2004/05 there were 578 maternal deaths in every 100,000 live births compared to 556 in 100,000 live births in 2015/16.

"Under this situation it is not correct to say that the number of maternal deaths has decreased because since 2004/05 to 2015/16, in every 1,000 live births, five women have been dying," she noted.

She said her office will also continue implementing various programmes to reduce the number of maternal deaths, citing provision of education on family planning and moving the health services closer to the people.

The minister reaffirmed the government commitment to reduce maternal deaths, saying the country has not performed well in implementing the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. "Being a mother myself, reduction of maternal deaths is my priority...we intend to reduce the deaths from 432 to 292 in 100,000 live births by 2020," Ms Mwalimu said.

She said the government also intends to reduce child mortality from 21 to 16 in 1,000 live births and under one-year from 45 to 25 in 1,000 live birth while the under five deaths will be reduced to 40 from 54 by 2020.

By Lydia Shekighenda

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