In celebration of midwives worldwide, Kupona Foundation colleague, Dorcas – a midwife trainer at our sister organization, CCBRT – shares how her team is ensuring mothers and babies in the Dar es Salaam region survive and thrive.

Being a Midwife is Something Precious

“For the past 37 years, being a midwife has meant doing everything I can to save the lives of mothers and babies in Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam.

Midwife Dorcas, photographed by Sala Lewis

Tanzania has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Approximately 22 women die every day from mostly preventable complications in pregnancy or childbirth1. For the last 6 years, my team and I have worked to strengthen the quality of care provided in 23 health facilities in the Dar es Salaam region with the ultimate goal of seeing that mortality statistic reduced to zero.

As the Senior Midwife Trainer for CCBRT’s  Maternal and Newborn Health Capacity Building Team, I train medical teams in all 23 of our partner facilities. I work to empower the maternal health teams already in those facilities with the mentoring, training and resources they need to save more lives. Last year, we learned maternal mortality had reduced by 40% in the Dar es Salaam region thanks to our efforts, partnerships, and the support of the Government of Tanzania.”

High Quality Maternal Health Care for Every Woman

“I divide my time between three regional hospitals, smaller dispensaries, and health centers. The volume of patients at each facility varies depending on the day, but the goal is the same: provide the best care possible to mothers and babies. And that’s why I’m here.

One of these facilities serves 70,000 people, and hosts monthly antenatal care clinics for over 700 pregnant women. CCBRT has supported this hospital since 2011. We began by performing an SBMR (Standards Based Management and Recognition)2 assessment to identify the facility’s quality of care. This facility scored 2% (perfection is a score of 100%). While staff were dedicated to helping mothers and babies, they did not have the equipment, tools, and skills to provide high-quality care to their patients.

We began by working with staff to collect data on current operations, find the gaps in equipment and skills, and identify the key issues. We then hosted training to address the root cause of the problem and teach the intervention needed to solve it.

In November 2015, the facility’s quality of care had improved to 87% on the SBMR assessment. I was so proud. In 2011, the facility delivered 406 babies. As the skills and confidence of their service providers increased, so did the number of babies they delivered. In 2015, the hardworking staff surpassed this goal and assisted with 1,386 deliveries, with zero maternal deaths.

When I go back to the facility, I see the entire team is busy attending to patients. The matron is managing her team efficiently, and it has been fantastic to witness her growth as a leader over the years. As soon as a new staff member joins the team, they receive an orientation of the SBMR tool so that they understand the metrics we use. I see staff members, once young and inexperienced, assisting in the labor ward, performing their tasks expertly and respectfully.

I always say, it’s a long journey. But in this long journey, you cannot go by yourself. You need to have people around you. Collaborate with them. Do things together, work together to serve one goal. I’m proud to say that this is what we do with our partner facilities, each and every day, on the CCBRT Capacity Building team.”

Kupona Foundation empowers people and communities in Tanzania by improving their access to quality healthcare. 100% of our resources are dedicated to the continuation and sustainable growth of our sister organization in Tanzania, CCBRT. Since 2009, Kupona has raised over $3 million to support treatment, training, capital projects and organizational development at CCBRT. In that time, CCBRT has provided over 75,000 life changing surgeries for correctable impairments, over 570,000 clinical consultations, and, through training and capacity building efforts, has supported the safe delivery of over 550,000 babies. Learn more at kuponfoundation.org.

  1. Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS) 2010, National Bureau of Statistics, Tanzania, April 2011, Dar es Salaam
  2. Measured by Standards-Based Management and Recognition (SBMR) assessments, developed by Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University.

Girls’ Globe will be present at the 31st International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress – bringing you live coverage from Toronto, Canada via our #ICMLive hub. To keep up to date with all the action, use #ICMLive to join in online.

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Category: Maternal and Child Health
Tagged with: #ICMLive    Childbirth    Interview    Maternal Health    midwifery    Midwives Matter    women's health