Fighting against maternal and neonatal mortality

Improved Service Delivery for Safe Motherhood and strengthening midwifery in Tanzania

Improved Service Delivery for Safe Motherhood and strengthening midwifery in Tanzania
Enhancing the skills of midwives ensures the evidence-based health care services, and individualized care that women need - care that promotes the survival of mothers and babies who could otherwise die from preventable pregnancy and child birth complications. Indeed, competent and adequately resourced midwives save lives.

Dr. Sebalda Leshabari, General Secretary, Tanzania Midwives Association (TAMA)

Location of Project
    Six zones across Tanzania, including:

  • Eastern (Dar es Salaam, Coast, Morogoro)
  • Southern (Lindi, Mtwara)
  • Southern Highlands (Ruvuma, Iringa, Mbeya, Rukwa)
  • Central (Dodoma, Singida, Tabora, Shinyanga, Kigoma)
  • Lake (Mwanza, Kagera, Mara)
  • Northern (Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Tanga, Manyara)
Name of Association Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM) Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM)

Tanzania Registered Midwives Association (TAMA)
Project Partners
(financial and operational)
Ministry of Health & Social Welfare (MoHSW)
  • Cuso international
  • Ministry of Health & Social Welfare (MoHSW)
  • Muhimbili Hospital
  • Muhimbili University

Program description

It is estimated that 536,000 women worldwide die of maternal causes, along with 11,000,000 children under five, of which 4.4 million are newborns. The majority of these deaths occur in Sub Saharan Africa. Tanzania is one of the ten countries contributing to 61% and 66% of the global total of maternal and newborn deaths, respectively.

Maternal and newborn health care in Tanzania faces many challenges including a critical shortage of adequately skilled maternal health service providers; and constraints around uptake of, and access to these health services due to barriers including distance to the nearest facility, the lack of affordable transport at the time of labour, and obtaining skilled and affordable care upon arrival at a health facility.

  • Estimated annual number of maternal deaths: 14,000
  • Neonatal mortality rate: 34 per 1,000 live births
  • Number of maternity health providers per 1000 population: .2
  • Births attended by skilled health personnel: 43%
  • Average distance to the nearest hospital in rural Tanzania: 31.7 km
  • Health centres equipped to provide Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care: 5%

This project will address the need for improved maternal health service delivery in 6 zones across Tanzania; specifically recognizing geographically disadvantaged areas that face limited access to emergency obstetric care; and shortages of adequately skilled maternity health care providers.

The project will strengthen the capacity of practicing, and re-engaged rural midwives across the country through Emergency Skills training workshops, co-delivered on location, by Tanzanian-Canadian midwife pairs. It will also focus on linking the right competencies with rural areas, by identifying traditional birth attendants (TBA) in target communities, and bringing them together with re-engaged retired midwives within those same settings, for mentorship, and skills sharing support - strengthening the continuum of care from home to health facility.

Various tools will be created to enhance midwifery knowledge transfer and advocacy; and essential resources will be provided to support increased access to quality midwifery care.