Dar es Salaam. Regional commissioners across the country yesterday took an oath as part of the government’s new move to stop deaths related to pregnancy, child-birth and newborns’ ill health.
The role of political leaders’ commitment in the control of maternal deaths and improving newborns heath has been highlighted by maternal health researchers.
The deaths have often been linked to a complex network of biological, cultural, political and socio–economic factors.
Speaking in Dodoma yesterday, the minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, said it was high time regional commissioners committed themselves to implementing the government’s strategic plan on curbing maternal deaths. The event was aired live through the health ministry’s online platforms.
By 2020, the government, through the Health Sector Strategic Plan III 2016-2020 (HSSP IV)) aims at cutting down maternal mortality ratio to 292 per 100,000 live births from the current 556 deaths per 100,000 live births.
In the same plan, the government seeks to reduce neonatal mortality rate from 21 to 16 per 1,000 live births and under-five mortality from 54 to 40 per 1,000 live births in the next two years.
Ms Mwalimu spoke during the launching of a campaign dubbed, “‘Jiongeze! Tuwavushe Salama,” Kiswahili for “Go the extra mile! Help them sail through safely,” which aims at rejuvenating the efforts to curb the deaths.
She asked regional commissioners to go to their communities to ensure that fighting maternal and newborn child deaths was a matter of collective responsibility.
“Right from the launching of this campaign, it should be every regional commissioner’s duty to ensure that these deaths are reduced as per the government’s strategic plans under our ministry,’’ she said at a well-attended event graced by the Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan.