Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women

Jun 30, 2014

You've helped us serve >234,000 moms and babies!

The last few months have been a time for celebration at CCBRT. The first phase of our maternal and newborn healthcare program came to an end, and the results have been phenomenal. With your support we were able to train healthcare teams in 16 facilities, develop hospital infrastructure, distribute life-saving equipment and increase community awareness around safe pregnancy and childbirth.

Since 2010, when the first phase of our capacity building program began, you have helped us to achieve some incredible results:

  • Over 234,000 women and newborns served
  • 720 healthcare workers trained in basic and advanced life saving skills
  • 380 healthcare professionals trained in early identification of children with disabilities
  • Quality improvement teams established in 16 facilities, and quality management systems set up to support culture of continuous improvement
  • Major renovation of maternity facilities (wards/theaters/delivery suites) in 4 health facilities
  • Over 227,500 posters/fliers/brochures distributed to the community & 225 radio messages aired to raise awareness around disability and maternal healthcare.

Dr. Kawawa is the Coordinator of the Regional Capacity Building Program and is a strong partner of CCBRT; a partnership that couldn’t have been built without your support. Dr. Kawawa brings over 40 years of experience in public health to the program, and told us of the great results she has seen over the past few years, particularly in strengthening the healthcare system. 

“Since 2010 we’ve seen tremendous improvements and vivid results. The program has created links between different parts of the system. We’ve seen departments working more effectively together within health facilities, and managers working more closely with health practitioners. We’ve seen our work in facilities strengthened by what we do in communities and vice versa. And we’ve also created links between the national, regional and district health teams so that we all communicate better and understand each other. The whole network is closer as a result.”

Construction of the new CCBRT Maternity and Newborn Hospital has also moved forward in leaps and bounds since our last update. This facility is on track to open at the end of 2015, and will provide high quality maternal and newborn healthcare services for emergency and high risk cases in the region of Dar es Salaam. The facility will conduct over 15,000 quality deliveries every year, and will add 200 beds to the region, relieving facilities that are currently overwhelmed by demand.

Your contributions and support have made all of this progress possible, but the struggle isn’t over. Tanzania is still one of the most challenging places in the world to become a mother, and we need you to recruit more support for our cause. When potential supporters hear us talking about why they should make a donation today, they listen. But when your friends and family hear you talk about our work as someone who is already a supporter and knows that we are making a difference, they’ll act.

Today, we are asking for a few clicks of your mouse: take 5 minutes to share our GlobalGiving page with your contacts and tell them why you decided to donate to us and why they should do the same. 

Can you do more? Consider signing up for a monthly recurring donation today. Thank you for your support!

Dr. Kawawa, Regional Capacity Building Program
Dr. Kawawa, Regional Capacity Building Program
CCBRT Maternity & Newborn Hospital June 2014
CCBRT Maternity & Newborn Hospital June 2014
CCBRT Maternity & Newborn Hospital June 2014
CCBRT Maternity & Newborn Hospital June 2014
Mar 31, 2014

Clinical standards improved in 16 facilities

CCBRT's Dr. Brenda delivers real-time training

Since 2007, Kupona’s implementing partner, CCBRT, has been working with the Government of Tanzania through an unprecedented Public Private Partnership to reduce the staggering number of preventable maternal and newborn deaths in Tanzania and to prevent disability as a result of complications in pregnancy and childbirth. CCBRT is working in 16 public health facilities in Dar es Salaam to improve their standards of clinical care as part of the Regional Capacity Building Program – in tandem with construction of the new Maternity and Newborn Hospital (photos below!) The following first-hand account provides the perspective of a doctor managing one of the 16 facilities.

“A short while ago, this Health Centre was understaffed, ill equipped and almost empty. Now Buguruni has a thriving delivery unit and is leading clinical care standards in the region.” 

So what has changed? And to what does Dr. Mbaga - Medical Officer in charge of the improved facility - attribute Buguruni’s success?

“Since the Regional Capacity Building Program for Maternal and Newborn Healthcare began in Dar es Salaam in 2010, we have seen many changes. But I believe it is the on-going training provided by the program that has transformed our work. In the past, my staff weren’t always confident enough to make good clinical decisions, but mentoring, coaching and on-the-job practice has helped us become more competent and knowledgeable.”

Particularly noticeable, according to Dr. Mbaga, is the confidence with which nurses and midwives are now able to handle emergencies. “You can’t practice in an emergency – at that stage, you work by instinct – but you need to practice to perform well under pressure.” Since the program began, regular drills have become part of the routine of the health centre. “If the labor ward is quiet, we’ll gather together and work through an obstetric scenario, sometimes practicing three or four times until we get it right. Reviewing our clinical care like this, every day, helps us to improve constantly, and I see that my staff are much more capable as a result.”

One of the other keys to boosting motivation, Dr. Mbaga believes, is acknowledging the work people do, and the difficult environment in which they do it. “I always try and give positive feedback to my staff,” she explains. “It doesn’t cost anything but they appreciate it so much. People like to see their work recognized.”

Clinical standards have improved in all 16 of the sites in which CCBRT’s Regional Capacity Building Program is working. Buguruni has had impressive gains, with adherence to defined clinical standards increasing from 12% to 90% over the first three years of the program. It seems that practice, mentoring and good communication – all relatively low-cost, low-energy investments – are some of the factors behind that success.

Moving in to one of the first buildings in the new Maternity and Newborn Hospital

We’ve reached an exciting milestone as we begin to move in to our new medical store warehouse! This is a proud moment for Kupona. It should be for you, too. The medical store will serve both the existing Disability Hospital and the new facility, as we streamline and integrate support services. 

Seeing progress and mobilizing resources

In late January, Executive Director Abbey Kocan visited CCBRT. Read about her visit on our blog, or visit our Facebook page to see the latest construction photos.

As construction continues, you can begin to visualize the new hospital filled with mothers and babies who might not have had access to safe maternal and newborn care without the new facility. This blog describing a recent study in neighboring Kenya illustrates the economic and human cost of maternal death. The study states, “A mother’s death ignites a chain of disruption, economic loss, and emotional pain that often leads to the death of her baby, diminished educational and life opportunities for her surviving children, and a deepening cycle of poverty for her family.”

Access to quality maternal and newborn care. Eliminating needless maternal deaths. This is what it’s all about. It’s been a multi-year journey, and there is more work to be done to mobilize the necessary resources. Many of you have supported us from the beginning. Thank you. If it’s been a few years since you’ve made a gift, please consider another tax-deductible contribution today. We need your help.

Moving in to the new medical store warehouse
Moving in to the new medical store warehouse
Construction continues in February 2014
Construction continues in February 2014
Canteen and laundry facilities are ready for use
Canteen and laundry facilities are ready for use
Jan 7, 2014

Data shows quality improvement in maternal care

Fistula ward. Photo credit: Benjamin Eagle
Fistula ward. Photo credit: Benjamin Eagle

At Kupona Foundation, we are proud of the progress on the ground in Tanzania, including ongoing construction of the hospital, the strengthening of the maternal and newborn healthcare system in Dar es Salaam, and the hardworking healthcare providers at our CCBRT Disability Hospital who are changing lives every day. The following is an excerpt from the CEO of CCBRT’s New Year’s message. You can read the entire message and see more construction photos on our blog. Stay up to date on our progress and activities by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter.

Looking back at 2013, we are incredibly grateful for your support. Thank you for being part of our work. 

A message from Erwin Telemans, CEO of CCBRT

“Happy New Year to all of our supporters and friends! The New Year is a time for reflection upon last year’s achievements and successes, and for planning how to build upon these in the year to come. As I reflect upon the year that CCBRT has had, I cannot thank you enough for your support.

Our maternal and newborn healthcare programme was integrated into the organisational strategy for the first time in 2013, and in response the Capacity Building and Maternity and Newborn Hospital teams were merged to form a single, comprehensive programme. Over 248,000 hours were spent on construction of our new Maternity and Newborn Hospital, and the facility is really starting to take shape. Since we started construction in December 2011, 4,620 tonnes of concrete, 81,445 concrete blocks, 22,988 metres of electrical cable and 11,467 square metres of roofing have all been used to create the incredible pictures that you see today. Work will continue at full speed in 2014 as we look to HR recruitment plans and move towards securing the funding required for annual running costs.

Capacity building in the sixteen facilities also continued, with incredible achievements in the improvement of clinical standards across the region of Dar es Salaam since the beginning of the programme in 2010. 56% of sites now provide 24 hour seven day a week Basic Emergency Obstetric care and C-Section rates are moving closer to the WHO recommended guidelines. Furthermore, the average quality assessment scores in the region have increased by 13.6% in the last six months alone, and maternal and neonatal deaths are beginning to decline in the region.

This year, we continued to break records in the fistula department as we increased the number of surgeries conducted once again. Recent data shows that, with over 680 women treated in both the Disability Hospital and our rural partner facilities, CCBRT is now one of the largest providers of fistula surgery in the world.

As always at this time of year, I am incredibly grateful to all of our staff and supporters who make it possible for us to change the lives of over one million people in Tanzania each year. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season with your family, and wish you all the best for the year ahead.”

Maternity & Newborn Hospital Construction Dec.
Maternity & Newborn Hospital Construction Dec. '13
Maternal health training (capacity building)
Maternal health training (capacity building)
Oct 16, 2013

Changing Lives and Changing Leadership


Asha’s* Story (*name changed to protect privacy)

When she was 38 years old, Asha gave birth at home. She was in labor for three days. Tragically, the baby did not survive. After this terrible ordeal, Asha realized that she could no longer control her urine. Her husband left her, unable to deal with the problem. “I did not understand the condition or know whether it could be treated.” Consequently, Asha lived with obstetric fistula for 15 years.

Asha faced daily struggles and was ostracized from her community. “I wanted to pray in my local mosque, but was unable to because people complained about the smell. It made me feel isolated and depressed.” It wasn’t until her stepson heard about CCBRT’s fistula program on the radio that she thought her condition was treatable. A CCBRT ambassador helped to arrange Asha’s journey to the hospital after receiving the money for the ticket from CCBRT via M-PESA mobile money. Asha is incredibly grateful to CCBRT. “Thank you very much to CCBRT…thank you very much for giving me my life back.”

While there have been recent changes in Kupona Foundation’s leadership, the focus on saving women like Asha, and close connection to CCBRT’s activities remains.

Ms. Abbey Kocan took over as Executive Director of Kupona Foundation in early September when Kupona’s founding Executive Director, Ms. Katie Flanagan, stepped down to spend more time with her family. Katie will join Kupona’s Board of Directors in 2014. Abbey spent five months leading the development of CCBRT’s five-year strategy in Dar es Salaam in 2012. She is honored to have the opportunity to build upon the solid base laid by Katie to help CCBRT achieve its strategic priorities over the years to come. CCBRT’s CEO, Mr. Erwin Telemans, joined Abbey in New York City last week for a series of meetings with partners and donors to share updates on activities, construction and immediate funding priorities.

One of those priorities is the expansion of CCBRT’s obstetric fistula ward. Due in large part to an awareness raising campaign and the innovative use of mobile money to reach the poorest women living in remote areas, 595 women received life changing fistula operations in 2012 - over 50% more than in 2011. With up to 3,000 new cases of fistula each year in Tanzania, most often due to prolonged obstructed labor, there is a growing need. CCBRT has a goal of increasing surgeries to 1,000 per year. Doubling the ward capacity will help achieve that goal. Starting at prevention, construction of the CCBRT Maternity and Newborn Hospital remains on track. The new hospital is expected to open in the second half of 2015. Combined with ongoing maternal health capacity building efforts in 16 lower level facilities in Dar es Salaam, Kupona Foundation and CCBRT will continue to work toward preventing obstetric fistula and other disabilities, sparing women like Asha from years of pain and suffering.

Your support of Kupona Foundation and CCBRT is critical to achieving our shared vision of a Tanzania where people have access to quality disability services as well as safe maternal and newborn healthcare. Your gift counts. Thank you.

Construction continues in Dar es Salaam!
Construction continues in Dar es Salaam!
Jul 16, 2013

Special visitors, nurse midives, and more!

Pres. and Mrs. Bush visit CCBRT
Pres. and Mrs. Bush visit CCBRT

As many of you have likely seen or read, Kupona's implementing partner CCBRT welcomed some very special visitors earlier this month.  On July 2nd, the First Ladies of Ghana, South Africa, and Mozambique toured CCBRT along with other distinguished guests from the African First Ladies Summit hosted by The Bush Center and ExxonMobil.  A day later, CCBRT was honored to receive President and Mrs. George W. Bush themselves on a tour of our main campus, with a special presentation in our fistula ward.

These visits came at the end of what has been a very busy and exciting few months for Kupona and CCBRT.  Even as construction on the new Maternity and Newborn Hospital continues, we have seen a dramatic expansion of support for and awareness of our efforts to improve maternal health across the Dar es Salaam region.  In April a film crew visited CCBRT to shoot footage for a documentary about access to essential surgery in the developing world, and in June, Kupona Board member hosted a reception that raised enough funding for a full-time nurse-midwife for one year.  Add in celebrations of the first ever International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, an EUR 8.5 million grant from the German Development Bank KfW, a series of efforts in promoting "LEAN" management across the organization, and it is clear that CCBRT is better poised than ever to have a serious impact on the health infrastructure in Tanzania. 

Construction continues on CCBRT MH
Construction continues on CCBRT MH


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Project Leader

Abbey Kocan

Executive Director
Saratoga Springs, NY United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women