Making the voices of citizens heard
September 21, 2013
Follow Dr Jasper’s journey during the UNGA to ask President Kikwete what progress he has made on his government’s promise to deliver emergency obstetric health services in Tanzania.
Dr Jasper Nduasinde is a volunteer for White Ribbon Alliance and is travelling to the UNGA to highlight the fact that in his region of Rukwa in Tanzania, there are no health centres that provide comprehensive emergency obstetric care. This is despite the government’s pledge that at least 50% of all health centres will provide these services.
Every day in Tanzania, 24 women die in pregnancy and childbirth. A woman suffering from obstructed labour, heavy bleeding or fitting from high blood pressure (eclampsia) may have only two hours to live. However, in a region such as Rukwa, it takes five hours by boat from Wampembe to the nearest comprehensive emergency services and it is a 118 km walk by road.
Dr Jasper, as the only surgeon in Rukwa, will give evidence of the conditions of health centres in the region, and the demand from citizens for these services
Dr Jasper will be speaking on 24 September at a White Ribbon Alliance breakfast event. He will be joined by White Ribbon Alliance members from Nigeria, Malawi and India to discuss how the power of people can turn promises into action.
Dr Jasper said: ‘I joined White Ribbon Alliance to help reduce the deaths of women in pregnancy and childbirth. In Tanzania, 24 women die every day and these deaths are preventable if our government delivers on its promise to invest in health services for women. I am very pleased to represent Tanzania at the UNGA in New York and to use this platform to press our government to keep its promises’.
At this year’s United Nations General Assembly, White Ribbon Alliance will be demonstrating that the most effective way to hold governments accountable is by mobilising citizens to demand that governments act and keep their promises.
For example, In India, women are using mobile phones to provide feedback on their maternal health services and press for improvements. In Tanzania, community members have surveyed mothers, midwives and health centres, gathering evidence for their push to close the gap between government promises and reality. In Malawi, campaigners have enlisted health professionals, policy makers and journalists to highlight the need for more midwives, better trained and supported, to provide quality care. And in Nigeria, following community mobilisation, a broad coalition has won government approval for the 7 rights in the Charter for Respectful Maternity Care, so that quality care can be available to all
Notes to Editors
Please see a film about Rukwa and the health facilities here:
Attached is a map showing access to health facilities in Rukwa
About White Ribbon Alliance
Healthy mothers make a healthy world. White Ribbon Alliance unites citizens to demand the right to a safe birth for every woman, everywhere.
Over a decade ago, White Ribbon Alliance formed because the voices of women at risk of dying in childbirth were not being heard. We rapidly grew as thousands of people and groups joined the network, speaking as one voice. We are the biggest citizen led coalition for maternal health and we campaign nationally as well as on the global stage to persuade Heads of State to keep their promises and deliver on their commitments to maternal health.
We mobilise citizens and provide a platform for women and men to demand change.
Available for interview:
Dr Jasper Ndasunde, White Ribbon Alliance volunteer, Rukwa
Betsy McCallon, Executive Director, White Ribbon Alliance
Maziko Matemba, White Ribbon Alliance, Malawi
Dr Philippa Nkiruka Momah, White Ribbon Alliance, Nigeria
Brigid McConville (New York) 0044 7746 592 622
Kiran Ramchandani (UK) 0044 7957 549 741