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Health Worker Training Program In Tanzania's Kigoma Region Reducing Maternal Mortality Rate

Inter Press Service reports on the successful efforts of Tanzania’s Kigoma Region “to train assistant medical officers to conduct life-saving c-sections at its rural health centers,” allowing pregnant women with complications to deliver at more local facilities instead of having to travel to regional or district hospitals. Tanzania’s maternal mortality rate is high, at 578 deaths for every 100,000 live births, IPS notes. “[A]t one point the Kigoma Region had the highest rate in the country, at 933 per 100,000 live births in the early 1980s,” but “maternal mortality in this region [now] is considered to be lower than in the rest of the country,” according to the news service.

“While the Kigoma Region health centers have become a success story, health activists fear that programs like this are unlikely to be sustainable because they are donor-driven, and will collapse when donors phase out their initial financial commitments,” the news service writes. In other areas of the country, such as Kilwa District, in south eastern Tanzania, maternal mortality remains high, in part because of a lack of skilled health care workers, IPS notes (Kabendera, 8/3).