Field Updates

Amref Tanzania: Improving Maternity Wards and Increasing Healthcare Access

Many women in Tanzania’s rural Habiya Village face various challenges when it’s time to deliver their babies. With limited healthcare services and inadequate equipment at the few and far between health clinics, many women lose their lives when faced with often treatable pregnant complications.

Johanna is a Senior Doctor at the Habiya Health Center in Tanzania, where many women now come to give birth to their children. The health center previously had no maternity ward, instead having only one room containing one dedicated delivery bed and one bed for resting. She says the area’s poor infrastructure is a significant challenge the community faces. “Once the mother goes into labor, they find it hard to access the medical center due to lack of transport in the area. They find it easier to just give birth at home. The ones who try to go to the medical centers usually end up giving birth on their way there,” she says.

Unfortunately, for many women in the area, giving birth at home tends to cause complications, including blood loss or even death of the infant or mother. This is especially concerning because many of the women also suffer from amenia.

Fortunately, with help from supporters around the world, Amref Tanzania greatly improved the health center’s maternity ward. The ward now has aluminum windows, protecting the newborns from excess exposure to the wind, which often led to pneumonia, and water tanks. Before, patients were expected to carry their own water from home. But through the construction of water wells, expectant mothers now only focus on the health and wellbeing of their babies, which is exactly what Kabula did when she arrived at the center.

Kabula, who has given birth at home and now at the center, has witnessed firsthand the improvements. She says, “now we attend maternal clinics, and we’re treated well. When a woman is two months pregnant, she is given a mosquito net. And once you give birth, you receive another. In the past, the situation was different. Honestly, things have changed for good. We are thankful to Amref for building this hospital. We are receiving quality services because there is plenty of equipment such as hospital beds, which weren’t enough before. We give birth without being congested in one bed. The situation has really improved,” she concluded with a smile.

Photos by Adrian Mgaya (Amref Tanzania) of the Habiya Health Center, Dr. Johanna, and Kabula, a Habiya village resident and mother.