Health Promotion Tanzania (HDT), a member of the ACTION Global Health Advocacy Partnership, is a local Tanzanian NGO registered in 2004 as the Human Development Trust. After shifting the organization to focus on the health sector in 2012, it was renamed Health Promotion Tanzania. HDT serves as secretariat to the Stop TB Partnership and the GFF-CSO coordinating group in Tanzania, providing bold coordination and advocacy experiences. HDT works at the community level to inform advocacy, giving it a unique competitive advantage in touching the lives of people and advocating for policy, budget, and systemic change to avert maternal and neonatal death. HDT illustrates the need for both advocacy and service delivery in rural communities in Tanzania.
Mama Mwajuma (39) lost her life during her ninth pregnancy — a pregnancy that resulted from a lack of family planning services in rural Tanzania. Mwajuma lived in Isegeyi village in the Tabora region in central Tanzania; she was married to Mr. Hamisi, a co-husband to Amina, who has six children. Mama Mwajuma represents the hundreds of thousands of women in Tanzania who live far from any health facilities and thus have unmet needs for family planning.
When Mama Mwajuma secretly visited a family planning facility, she was turned away and told to come back a month later; this happened for three consecutive pregnancies as healthcare workers who, during Mwajuma’s seventh pregnancy, were not proactive enough to provide permanent family planning methods. Lying at traditional birth attendance in Isegey village for three days, Mama Mwajuma could not deliver despite local remedies that she had been given. She was finally taken to the health facility when her labor pain became silent. Upon arriving to the hospital, Mama Mwajuma lost her life, and it was later learned that she had ruptured her uterus.
Tanzania loses 578 women per 100,000 live births; this represents 18% of all deaths reported in Tanzania. In Tanzania, 22% of women have unmet family planning needs on average, but among the poorest populations, the rate is 28%. The total fertility rate among rural communities (where the most impoverished women live) is 6.1 births per woman and among urban communities is 3.7. Both increased technical capacity and increased access to resources are required to save the lives of women and children in Tanzania.
For more information:
Rev. Dr. Peter Bujari MD
Executive Director, HDT
Email: ed [at] hdt.or.tz