Improving Maternal and Newborn Health in Underserved Areas in Tanzania

A mother and her baby

Many mothers and their children in the Simiyu region of northwestern Tanzania lack access to basic health care during pregnancy, delivery and the first few years of life. Focusing on five districts where mother and child deaths are high, Amref Health Africa in Tanzania, building on our previous work in maternal health in Tanzania, is continuing to ensure quality health care is available to prevent unnecessary deaths.

Project timeline: January 2017 to October 2020
Funder: Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada

Situation – Moms and babies lack access to health care

Many women, including adolescent mothers and their children, in the Simiyu region of northwestern Tanzania lack access to basic health care during pregnancy, delivery and the first few years of life--largely due to a lack of access to, and low use of, health services.

In Simiyu, Amref Health Africa has worked to bridge the gap between these rural communities and formal health systems, training over 800 health workers and nearly 4,000 volunteer Community Health Workers. The five districts that have been targeted have seen the proportion of health facilities with at least one skilled birth attendant increase from 15% to 81%, births attended by skilled staff increase from 58% to 69%, and health facility delivery increase from 58% to 69%.

We are continuing our work in Simiyu.

Action: Improving access to and use of health services for women, including adolescent mothers and their children

To improve access to health care, Amref Health Africa and our partners will:

  • provide training, supervision and mentorship to health workers to improve their skills in sexual and reproductive care, maternal care and family planning
  • support health facilities with infrastructure and equipment with an emphasis on IT, health management information systems
  • improve referral systems so that rural communities are encouraged to access health services.

To improve the use of health services by women and their families, we will:

  • train and equip Community Health Workers, Traditional Birth Attendants, traditional healers and community influencers
  • reinforce education and awareness-raising efforts with a media campaign around reproductive, maternal and newborn health topics, including gender equality, harmful traditional practices, and the significance of men’s involvement in mother and child health
  • encourage community feedback on quality of services for reproductive and maternal health, and nutrition.
"Through Government of Canada support, we will be building on our many years of work in the Simiyu Region of Tanzania, to continue to improve reproductive, newborn, child and adolescent health. We look forward to working with the Government of Tanzania, communities and our partners to train health workers and expand life-saving services to help reduce mortality.” Anne-Marie Kamanye, Executive Director of Amref Health Africa in Canada

Results – Saving lives

The project will directly benefit:

  • 348,567 girls and women of reproductive age
  • 334,515 men and boys
  • 1,584,157 more men, women, boys and girls will benefit indirectly.

Project At A Glance

The maternal mortality ratio in Tanzania is still an astonishing 454 per 100,000 live births, and is even worse in the Simiyu region of northwestern Tanzania. This project will build on our previous work in maternal health in Tanzania and aim to improve access to basic sexual reproductive health care for moms and babies in Simiyu.

We are improving access to, and improving the use of, health services by women and their families.

Expected Results:
2.3 million women, children and men benefit directly or indirectly through training, education and other initiatives.

Marie Stopes

Service Partner:

Kevin O'Neill
Director of Programs

Kevin O'NeillWant to partner with Amref Health Africa in Canada on a health project? Want to know more about our projects? Get in touch with our Director of Programs, Kevin O'Neill.