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Advocates in Tanzania win US $47 million for maternal and child health services

In Tanzania, many women and newborns die due to complications with pregnancy and childbirth. Historically, only a handful of health centers in the country has offered Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEmONC) – a proven package to save the lives of mothers and newborns.  

I want blood to be available to reduce death for expecting mothers.

In every district there should be enough health centres which provide emergency services.

Today, as a result of years of dedicated advocacy and the strong voices of more than 100,000 women, CEmONC is available in over 600 health centers and Tanzania’s budget for maternal and child health services has been increased by 67% – to US $117.6 million. 

Since 2015, advocates for CEmONC have fought for funding and services. Their first success emerged as the result of a 7,000-signature petition to the Vice President that brought CEmONC to 159 health centers and increasing the national budget. But this was a mere fraction of the country’s health facilities.  

By 2020, advocates marshaled additional WRA campaign demands from 100,000+ Tanzanian women for “medicines, supplies, and safe blood” – and took them viral at major governmental events and through the media. In response to these clear demands, the government agreed to increase the budget for maternal, newborn, and child health supplies and equipment by US $47.2 million – an increase of 67% from the prior year. Funds were used to upgrade health centers with CEmONC, and today 615 health centers across Tanzania offer these life-saving services. With persistence and strength, women have shown their voices can lead to the change they want and deserve.

The government will make sure that all health facilities in the country have adequate equipment, supplies, and qualified staff. As a result, there will be no more deaths among pregnant women and newborns because of lack of services.

Dr. Leornard Subi, Director of Preventive Services
Ministry of Health Tanzania

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