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Africa

2012-08-31

AFRICA/TANZANIA - Rural clinics to save the lives of many mothers and their unborn

Kigoma (Agenzia Fides) - The region of Kigoma, Tanzania, has become one of the first places in East Africa able to train health workers in rural clinics operating in the country. These centers are able to offer assistance to approximately 50 000 people living in each administrative district, not all equipped to do surgery, with the exception of the Health Centre of Kakonko, where operations and caesarean sections are carried out. In the region, thanks to the intervention of the World Lung Foundation, five rural health centers have been renovated, including that of Kakonko. Several health professionals have been trained in basic surgery, enabling many women to give birth in safety and, therefore, saving their lives and their children’s lives. When, in 2010, the center began to assist pregnant women, the number of deliveries increased from 20 to 120 per month, with an average of six caesarean sections a week. Prior to the opening of these centers, women did not understand the need to give birth in a health institution, especially those with complications, because they knew that no one could help them.
According to the World Health Organization, the average mortality in developing countries is 240 per 100 000 live births, compared to 16 per 100 000 in the countries of the industrialized North. The highest rate of maternal mortality in the world was recorded in southern Sudan, with more than 2000 deaths per 100 000 live births. In Tanzania 578 deaths per 100 000 live births. In the early 80's, the region of Kigoma had the highest index in the country, with 933 per 100 000. But since then a series of initiatives that reduced mortality to 186 per 100 000 live births in 1991 have been launched. Although there are no recent statistics, the maternal mortality rate in this region is considered to be lower than the rest of the country. The majority of Tanzanians live in rural areas, mothers do not die from chronic diseases, but for cases of emergency. Now all health centers have ambulances thanks to which one can immediately transfer complicated cases to hospitals in the district or to regional ones. However, despite the good results achieved so far, activists fear that the programs started in the centers of Kigoma cannot last long because they depend too much on benefactors. It is necessary that the government is committed to reducing the economic phenomenon in the country. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 31/08/2012)

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