Tanzania: Maternal, Neonatal Emergency System to Cover All Regions

THE government has expressed its commitment to extend the emergency system driven solution for maternal and neonatal health dubbed M-MAMA to the remaining regions in the mainland and Zanzibar.

Implemented by Vodacom Tanzania Foundation in partnership with Touch Foundation and Pathfinder, the programme will be implemented in 15 regions of Tanzania mainland including Mwanza, Shinyanga, and Mara.

Others are Morogoro, Lindi, Tabora, Tanga, Pwani, Mtwara, Geita, Kigoma, Mbeya, Songwe, Dodoma and Rukwa.

Health Minister, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, made the revelation during the national launch of the M-MAMA emergency system held in Dodoma, yesterday.

According to her, due to the system’s usefulness and importance, the ministry carried out a thorough assessment and established that it deserved to be in the authority’s plans.

“With the support from the government, the ministry was able to acquire a concessional loan amounting to 200 million US dollars equivalent to 460bn/- from the World Bank, which will be used to extend the service in the remaining mainland regions and Zanzibar.

She revealed that maternal challenges are known but at times they were very unpredictable, therefore, the emergency system was crucial in reducing maternal mortality deaths in the country.

Minister Ummy indicated that the maternal mortality account for 556 deaths per 100,000 lives equivalent to 11,000 deaths annually.

“Improvements carried out by the government in the health sector have helped to reduce maternal and neonatal deaths in the country.

“The goal is to ensure quality maternal and neonatal health services in the country, whereas at least 90 per cent of pregnant women attend at least four clinic sessions before giving birth,” she said.

For his part, the Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Mr Nape Nnauye, indicated that the M-Mama emergency system reflects the role of technology in the improvement of service delivery.

Mr Nnauye noted that the Third National Five Year Development Plan (FYDP-III) emphasizes on the use of information communication technology in the socio-economic development of the country, committing to continue investing in the area to improve services delivery.

“The M-MAMA system is in line with the implementation of the residential addresses plan and postcode project, which seeks to ensure every street and house is named and inscribed with a recognised number to facilitate various operations, towards a digital economy and simplify delivery of products and services,” said Mr Nnauye.

He noted that the plan will help easy location and access to the nearby health facilities for pregnant women in need of emergency services, thereby save many lives.

Vodacom Tanzania Managing Director (MD), Mr Sitholizwe Mdlalose, said that the integrated technology system has been successful in reducing maternal death by over 30 per cent and infant death (new-borns) by 45 per cent.

“Tanzania is undergoing a digital transformation which is creating an impact to the country’s socio-economic development.

“Innovation in the health sector to support maternal neonatal health is a practical, sustainable and scalable solution to reduce maternal and new born deaths by building a system that strengthen health care delivery and connects the community and lower level health facility to respond to responsive emergency transport,” stated the MD.

On the other hand, the Deputy Minister of the State in the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government, Dr Festo Dugange pledged to cooperate with Vodacom PLC, ministry and other health focused stakeholders to oversee the implementation of the system and bring in positive changes, particularly in the health sector to reduce maternal and new-borns deaths.