White Ribbon Alliance


Another win for WRA Tanzania

June 5, 2015
By Rose Mlay, Alliance Coordinator, White Ribbon Alliance Tanzania Life saving emergency care provision has doubled in Tanzania’s Rukwa District within two years. Midwife and Coordinator of White Ribbon Alliance in Tanzania, Rose Mlay has been at the forefront of the citizen-led accountability campaign that has made this happen. Here she describes the latest step towards further success.

Think of a woman who is under anaesthesia for C-Section and all of a sudden the power goes off.

This happens all too often in Tanzania, which is why we met with Parliamentarians on May 30th, asking them to ensure that water, electricity, passable roads and other essentials are available 24/7 in order to avoid unnecessary deaths from complications in childbirth.

This message made it through - loud and clear - to the subsequent budget meeting in Parliament yesterday (June 4th), where one MP stated: "The failure of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in reducing maternal deaths is linked to other Ministries’ failure." Great observation!

This is the first time that Parliamentarians in my country have seen how Ministries of Finance, Water, Electricity and Infrastructure are also contributors to how we save or do not save lives during childbirth, and we can attribute this to White Ribbon Alliance’s prior meeting with the MPs. We will continue our advocacy until we find budget lines for the reduction of maternal and newborn deaths in these Ministries and many more.

We welcome the remarks of the Minister of Health and Social Welfare who co-chaired the White Ribbon Alliance meeting with Parliamentarians. He spoke about the need to invest in Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEmONC) at health centers to reach the government’s promise that half of all health centres should have these life saving services.

He was concerned that currently, of the 350 health centers in the country, only 60 (17%) provide CEmONC. Yet we should note that this is progress! In 2012 it was only 9%, so provision of life saving emergency care has doubled within two years.

One of the MPs at our meeting wanted to know how it has come about that the Region of Rukwa has progressed from having no emergency care (CEmONC) in its 10 health centres in 2013, to today when half of those health centers do have CEmONC?

The answer is that citizen-led accountability, involving the community, health workers, decision makers, the media and our Parliamentarians have made it possible.

Our motto is BE ACCOUNTABLE SO THAT MOTHERS AND NEWBORNS CAN SURVIVE CHILDBIRTH. Our "Wajibika Mama Aishi" campaign will now expand to other regions and we then progress made in Rukwa can made across the whole country.