Maternal care in Tanzania is still a problem

By Stella Peter and Martha Malyi

Many women in Tanzania experience severe problems during childbirth and throughout maternal care due to carelessness, a lack of qualified health professionals, and mistreatment during pregnancy.

Maternity care includes: family planning, antenatal care, prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDS), care during child birth, prevention and management of infertility, new born care, postpartum care, prevention and management of cancers, etc.

According to the Tanzania Human Rights Report of 2012 from the Legal Human Right Centre (LHRC), about half a million of women die annually worldwide due to complications during pregnancy and child birth. Statistics in the report indicate that 99% of maternal births are still rampant in third world countries, and Tanzania being on the top 20.

“Statistics by the National Audit Office indicated that about 900 women die each year because of maternal complications, while 25,000 women become disabled. However the demographic survey conducted in 2010 by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare indicates that the rate of maternal mortality (MMR) has declined from 578/100,000 to 454/100,000.

Zainab John, who lives in Dar es Salaam with her daughter, said that she didn’t encounter any problems when she was going to deliver her child, but that she did experience hostility and disrespect from the nurses who were rude to the patients.

“When I was waiting for the time to come to deliver my baby, the nurses in the hospital were so rude and harsh, they just said abusive words to the patients. When one woman want to deliver a baby, the nurses didn’t care they were just doing their own thing but when they saw the baby come out and want to fall down, there they start accommodate the patient – while it is not a good thing since if the baby could fall she or could die and that could be the worst thing,” said Zainab while explaining what happened when she was under maternity care.

In rural areas, women decide to give birth at home because they know if they go to the hospital there will be a lack of care and treatment.

Manager of Private Organization AMREF, Mr. Festus Ikato, announced that in order to reduce the death of mothers in Tanzania, as a society we must ask for support from individuals and other organizations so as to make sure all nurses in the community are trained and up-to-date in their skills and education.

Stella is a student of Mass Communication with a certificate in Journalism and Media Studies. Stella is passionate about the rights of women and children, and her goal is to focus on these rights in her career as a journalist.

Martha is interested in writing on human rights, particularly the rights of women. Her goal for the future is to create awareness on violence against women, and make their rights known in developing countries, like Tanzania, where it is an ever-growing problem.


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