Source: Tanzania Daily News
YOUTHS in secondary schools taking science subjects have been advised to take up midwifery to have more number professionals in the country.

Addressing journalists during a one day seminar in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Midwifery Association (TAMA) Secretary General, Dr Sebalda Leshabari said the current number of professionally trained midwives does not meet the required needs in the country.

The seminar to journalists is one of the activities lined up as TAMA celebrates the International Day of Midwifery to be held at Mnazi Mmoja grounds. Dr Leshabari, who is also the Senior Lecturer at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), said with improved working conditions and medical supplies and drugs, maternal deaths can be reduced significantly.

“We want to encourage youths in secondary schools taking science subjects to venture into midwifery and beef up the shortage,” he explained. Dr Leshabari urged the media to report positively about midwifery and educate the public on a number of issues such as family planning to remove traditional myths associated with family planning.

She said journalists should report about midwives who misbehave while providing the service to expectant mothers, but also promote the public and other stakeholders to work with midwives.

Dr Leshabari said the International Day of Midwifery is an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of working with midwives in providing health service to pregnant women.

In her presentation, TAMA Coordinator Ms Martha Rimoy said expectant mothers and their infants are very important to midwives. Ms Rimoy said in health centres where there is scarcity of professional midwives, one midwife can attend to a large number of cases, which includes helping the expectant mothers while attending to those attending their clinic appointments.

According to Tanzania’s latest demographic and health survey (2010), only 51% of deliveries are assisted by a trained professional and four midwives are available for 10,000 patients countrywide. It is estimated that 536,000 women worldwide die of maternal causes, along with 11,000,000 children under five, of which 4.4 million are newborns.

The majority of these deaths occur in Sub Saharan Africa.

Tanzania is one of the ten countries contributing to 61% and 66% of the global total of maternal and newborn deaths, respectively.

Maternal and newborn health care in Tanzania faces many challenges, including a critical shortage of adequately skilled maternal health service providers and constraints around uptake of, and access to these health services due to barriers including distance to the nearest facility, lack of affordable transport at the time of labour, and obtaining skilled and affordable care upon arrival at a health facility.

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