The Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in Tanzania has remained high over the past 10 years. Amref Health Africa Tanzania works with different strategic partners and government structures towards accelerating efforts to improve maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH), particularly in Simiyu Region in northwest Tanzania. The focus is on strengthening the connection between the community and formal health systems to enhance community awareness and demand for services, and access to and utilization of comprehensive, quality MNCH interventions.
The project activities are set to bridge the gap between formal health systems and communities by strengthening formal health systems, strengthening community health systems, and conducting advocacy, operations research and policy initiatives. Strengthening the capacity of local health services also includes developing well trained nurses and frontline health workers.
Magret Ikoko is one of the frontline health workers trained by Amref Health Africa Tanzania through Uzazi Uzima project. She is a motivated Community Health Worker (CHW) who has been a key provider of health services to the entire community of Sakwe Village in Bariadi. The village has only one dispensary where Margret vigorously offers her support and referrals to her community.
“I am 30 years old and a mother of six and am happy to share my experiences during pregnancy. I was never able to attend a maternity clinic or even have a hospital delivery, asmost of my deliveries were at home attended by a traditional birth attendant and my relatives.I was completely unaware of the maternal services offered in clinics and health centers.”
“The household visits changed my attitude towards home delivery. I am currently the chairperson of all CHWs in Sakwe ward and highly motivated to work as a CHW ,educating my community on how to improve mothers’ health and the health of children under five, and as well performing all my other duties. Since I already have six children, I decided to use family planning methods to avoid conceiving at this moment. This allows me to better support my children, enables me to organize and coordinate community mobilization activities effectively and perform other routine household visits.”
Funded by the government of Canada through its department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) under the MUSKOKA initiative, Uzazi Uzima is implemented in five districts of Simiyu Region, namely Busega, Maswa, Itilima, Bariadi and Meatu.