Tanzania ranked 10th in number of day-one baby deaths in Africa

By Save the Children

With 18,000 babies dying on their first day of life, Tanzania is ranked number 10 in Africa for having one of the continent’s largest count of newborn deaths, this in the wake of reports that the country is short of 50 000 midwives.

In a year, 48,100 newborn deaths occur in the country ranking Tanzania third in East Africa and 135th globally in caring for mothers’ well-being. An estimated 800 mothers and 18000 young children die from, ‘largely preventable causes each day.’

The tragic figures were revealed in the report: ‘State of the World Mothers 2014’ on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam by the non-governmental organisation Save the Children.

The report said Rwanda leads in East Africa followed by Uganda which is ranked 133 globally while Kenya and Burundi are ranked 143 and 147 respectively.

It stated that for women in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly West Africa, giving birth is still too likely to be fatal for both mother and child having one in 39 chances of dying during pregnancy or at childbirth.

Over half of these maternal and children under five deaths take place in fragile settings which are at high risk of conflict and are particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters, the report details.

Being one the most affected countries, children councils in Tanzania have called upon the government to improve health services by increasing health service workers, medical treatment facilities and medicines.

Chairman of Children’s Council-Temeke District, Rehema Miraji said among the challenges facing mothers and children in Tanzania are inadequacy of health facilities, long distance from home to the limited accessibility of health centers and also poor service delivery by nurses.

“I appeal to the ministry of Health and Social Welfare to increase medical facilities in the health centers and train enough nurses and doctors on how to take care of mothers and babies,” she said, urging for laws to punish poor service delivery.

Commenting, programme manager at Save the Children, Rachel Makunde said to reduce mother and children deaths, the government needs not only more health workers but better skilled workers in all departments.