Tanzania has been listed among 10 countries that will benefit from a $1.1 billion maternal and child health initiative announced by the Canadian government.
Other beneficiaries of the initiative are Mozambique, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, Southern Sudan and Ethiopia in Africa; as well as Afghanistan, Haiti and Bangladesh.
This is part of a $40 billion global effort that targets prevention of 33 million unwanted pregnancies and 740,000 deaths from complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth over the next five years.
Besides, the deaths of more than 15 million children under five are to be prevented under this strategy and a further 88 million children under five protected from stunting and 120 million from pneumonia.
Maternal deaths remain a challenge in East Africa, although figures from a report released by the World Health Organisation indicate that there is a general decline globally, to an estimated 358,000 maternal deaths worldwide in 2008, a 34 per cent decline from the levels of 1990.
According to the report titled “Trends in Maternal Mortality: 1990 to 2008,” Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Sudan are among 11 counties in which 65 per cent of these maternal deaths were recorded in 2008.
The report estimates that there were 42,000 deaths due to HIV/Aids among pregnant women in 2008, about half of which were assumed to be maternal.
“The contribution of HIV and Aids was highest in sub-Saharan Africa where nine per cent of all maternal deaths were due to HIV and Aids. Without these deaths, the maternal mortality ratio for sub-Saharan Africa would have been 580 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births instead of 640,” the report states.
As at 2008, sub-Saharan Africa had the highest probability that a 15-year-old female would die eventually from a maternal cause — referred to as the adult lifetime risk of maternal death — at one in 31, compared with one in 4,300 in the developed world.
More than 700 health and development ministers, senior government and UN officials, donors, health care professionals, civil society representatives and academics drawn from across the world, are set to gather in New Delhi, India for the Partnership for Maternal Newborn and Child Health Forum to discuss how to implement commitments made so far.