Maternal health in Tanzania must be improved

By Seif Silavia and Modeckai Francis

Women and children in Tanzania are the most at risk when it comes to health related issues, despite receiving free medical treatment.

According to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, maternal healthcare is under the national package of Essential Reproductive and Child Health Intervention Package, tailored at improving the qualify of life of women.

According to statistics conducted by National Audit Office, approximately 9,000 women die due to maternal complications and approximately 25,000 of them become disabled each year.

Women is the rural areas suffer more when it comes to maternal health, leading to the death of many women and children due to a lack of services provided in their village. In order to pursue adequate medical care, they must walk long distances to the closest town. However, even these health centres are unsatisfactory, and often times health care professionals who work there will solicit bribes for their services despite the government providing it for free.

Tanzania has made little progress in terms of child health, from a rate of 137 deaths per 1000 lives to 81 deaths per 1000 lives in children fewer than five years. Infant deaths have only improved from 88 to 51 deaths per 1000 live births which is against the Millennium Development Goals which require all states to reduce child mortality to 54 deaths per 1000 live births by 2015, according to the Legal and Human Rights Centre 2012 Human Rights Report.

Diseases like malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, and complications of low birth weight as well as HIV and AIDS are all causes of child mortality in Tanzania.

Article 14 of Tanzania constitution declares that every human being has the right to live and receive protection of his life, but the government has failed to guarantee life to its people, especially women and children who affected by diseases.

For instance, the 2012 Human Rights Report indicates that in rural areas, only 42 percent of mothers deliver at health facilities compared to 82 percent in urban areas. Infants born in rural areas have a 30 percent higher probability of dying before reaching their first birthday than those in urban areas.

Seif is currently pursuing his studies in Journalism at St. Augustine University of Tanzania and hopes to become a professional journalist who will be capable of addressing the problems of the voiceless in his community.

Modeckai is the former Project Director of AIESEC-SAUT and also a former Project Adviser of the Sauti ya Watoto Foundation. He loves working with different projects to explore and develop his potential and knowledge of diverse societal perspectives, especially those concerning the respect of all human rights.

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