Source: Tanzania Daily News
Karatu — Until recently, giving birth in the remote Mbulu-Mbulu Ward of Karatu District used to be nothing short of nightmare.

When it came to maternal health, all the five villages in the Ward, comprising Lositete, Kambiya- Simba, Silahamo, Kitete and Upper-Kitete expectant mothers had to depend on the hospital located at Rhotia, some 12 kilometres away.

The road from the villages to Rhotia at best, looks like an aftermath of World War II, during the ongoing rains, canoes would have come in handy, were it not for the rather steep hills, sharp corners and roller-coaster slopping.

With few (if any) cars plying the route, expectant mothers were compelled to rely on ox carts, bicycles and motorbikes to access medical facilities at Rhotia, Karatu or Mto-wa-Mbu.

And for some reason, according to women in the area, nowadays many of them seem to deliver babies during the night, when even the bicycles used to take them to hospital are hard to find; besides, since the villages directly borders the Northern Highland Forest Reserve, it means wild beasts come out at night.

Last year, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), through its Community Development department came up with the 'ultimate' solution; why not build a special, auxiliary maternity ward to supplement the 'Kambi-ya-Simba' village dispensary?

Fifty three million/- and 12 months later, one of the most modern, well equipped building comprising an antenatal department and ward, fully equipped a delivery room, a nursing station and post-natal ward, with over 22 beds between them was standing ready and majestic, courtesy of the NCAA.

"NCAA contributed 40 million/- and residents pooled in 13 million/-, including voluntary labour," explained the Kambi-ya-Simba Village Chairman, Mr Damian John-Anatoly, adding that it was due to improved structures that during his tour of Karatu, late last year, the Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda upgraded the dispensary to a health centre.

In charge of Kambi-ya-Simba health centre, Dr Marietta Beda- Bainet pointed out that, modern facilities were one thing but the availability of trained medical workers, who are apparently lacking there, is another.

The centre needs at least 29 practitioners and the newly built maternity department requires at least three nurses, midwives and a nursing officer.

Besides, the modern facilities and equipment at the new ward need electricity in order to operate and the area is yet to be connected to the national grid where the closest point is over 12 kilometers away, along the main Makuyuni- Karatu Road.

Mr Salustin Halu is an officer from NCAA development department, which constructed the maternal wing; said, "They can always write to request for solar power installation and we are more than willing to assist," he stated.

Thus, until those challenges get solved, the nightmare of baby delivering in Mbulu-mbulu ward may continue to haunt the female population in the area.

A woman arrives at the dispensary with her baby, on a motorbike, for clinical services. (File photo)

A woman arrives .at the dispensary with her baby, on a motorbike, for clinical services 
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