When all goes well, having a baby is one of the most exciting moments of life. But when things go wrong, they can go terribly wrong, very quickly.
In rural Tanzania, poor access to healthcare means that having a baby can be very dangerous. Babies who are born too early, or who have breathing difficulties or other health concerns may not survive long enough to get the treatment they need. Mothers who have complications during labour and delivery may not get the help they require.
In the Singida district in Tanzania, fewer than half of all pregnant women attend antenatal clinics at least four times and only 63 per cent of moms give birth in a health facility, which means that when things don’t go smoothly, there is a significant risk for both new moms and new babies. Moms and their babies are important to us, and their well-being is our top priority.
That’s why we’re joining forces with the Ministry of Health of Tanzania and communities in Singida to develop strategies to help mothers and newborns get the healthcare they need. The Supporting Systems to Achieve Improved Nutrition, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (SUSTAIN-MNCH) project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, aims to improve the health and nutrition status of pregnant women and children in Singida by:
· enhancing service delivery by the Ministry of Health
· improving household nutrition practices and
· teaching parents how to prevent illness and care for children
with diarrhea, pneumonia and HIV&AIDS
Through a knowledge management partnership we are also collaborating with three other Canadian NGOs including Plan, Save the Children and Care Canada and a team from the Hospital for Sick Children led by Dr. Stanley Zlotkin, to determine what works best to meet the needs of vulnerable people, and ensure that having a baby is as safe as possible.
Working together with Government, communities and Canadian partners, we are responding to the needs of Tanzanian moms and their little ones, before, during and after birth.