Tanzania: What about contraception?
October 7th 2012
The good news is that Tanzania, helped by Bloomberg Philanthropies, has launched an innovative program to prevent mothers from dying in child birth. The bad news is that 23 women still die every day from birth-related complications.
Mayor [of New York] Michael Bloomberg said the east African country’s project of building clinics and training health personnel in isolated rural areas may be a model of what can be done in other developing countries. Tanzania has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates.
“If you can build a model that you can show works, then you can start attracting capital,” Bloomberg told a joint news conference with Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete. “We think it has the potential to become a model for other countries in Africa where maternal deaths are unacceptably high.”
The mortality statistics are staggering, said Kikwete. Worldwide 287,000 women die giving birth each year; in sub-Sahara Africa, the figure is 160,000, while in Tanzania it is 8,500 deaths.
This is four times as high as in Latin America and the Caribbean and nearly 50 times higher than in industrialized nations, according to research for The Lancet medical journal.
Tanzanian women have an average of 5.5 children, which means families of 10 are not unusual. Yet the news conference, which included Helen Agerup and U.N. Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, never mentioned birth control or family planning.
Kikwete told this reporter afterwards that about 26 percent of the women have access to contraceptives and he hopes the number will reach 60 percent. Family planning is encouraged in Tanzania and abortions are legal to protect the health of life of the mother, although access is spotty.
Read the entire article: Huffington Post
More on this issue: Reproductive health