Saving Mothers' Lives in Rural Tanzania

by VSI, Venture Strategies Innovations

The VSI-Tanzania program received an extra dose of encouragement this summer when President Jakaya Kikwete announced commitment at the highest level to improving maternal health countrywide.  At the launch of a campaign focused on ensuring access to more comprehensive maternal health services and essential medical supplies, President Kikwete affirmed, “All pregnant women attending clinics countrywide will be provided with delivery kits to ensure safe delivery.” 

A key component of these delivery kits is misoprostol, a medicine that prevents life-threatening bleeding after delivery, or postpartum hemorrhage. VSI is dedicated to making this a reality, so that all mothers, no matter where they live or receive care, have access to the supplies needed for a safe delivery.

After years of strong partnership with the government in Tanzania, VSI is excited to see its commitment to scaling up misoprostol as a strategy for improving maternal health.  Thank you for contributing to these efforts; with your continued support, VSI can assist the Tanzanian government in delivering solutions that save lives.


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Tanzanian mother with her twin boys
Tanzanian mother with her twin boys

On Wednesday, June 15th, every donation made to this project will be matched by Global Giving by 30%.  Don’t miss this opportunity to make a difference to mothers in Tanzania.  Every 90 seconds a mother dies during pregnancy or childbirth, and 99% of these deaths take place in developing countries where lack of access to basic medicines and services are taking mothers from their children.

VSI is a nonprofit organization committed to improving women’s health in developing countries by creating access to life-saving and affordable health solutions for all.  Make your dollar stretch by giving a gift on Wednesday and supply life-saving medicines to women most in need.

No matter where you live pregnancy and childbirth should be a cherished and joyous experience, not one of fear.   Thank you to our committed donors who share our dedication to making maternal health an equal right no matter where you live.


Monaisha and her daughter, Ramla.
Monaisha and her daughter, Ramla.

Sharing Project Results Boosts Commitment to Save Lives

Last month in Tanzania we hosted several meetings with policy makers, health care providers, and women to share the results of our collaborative project with the local Ifakara Health Institute and the Bixby Center at UC Berkeley introducing distribution of misoprostol tablets to pregnant women during prenatal care visits.  Since nearly all women in Tanzania (94%) receive prenatal care from a health professional at least once during pregnancy yet over half (53%) of deliveries take place at home, the project set out to prove that reaching pregnant women during pregnancy could be a key strategy to increasing protection from life-threatening postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) in the most vulnerable and hard to reach populations.  

The 12-month project, conducted in four rural districts in Tanzania, focused on raising community awareness and distributing misoprostol tablets to pregnant women during their prenatal visits.  With the tagline, “plan early for a safe delivery”, the project utilized radio, printed materials, and one-on-one interaction to spread safe delivery and PPH prevention messages.   During prenatal visits, health providers educated women on the life-saving potential of “miso” tablets.   VSI and our partners are encouraged by the successful results of the project. Among the more than 6,500 women we interviewed after delivery, 98% said they would recommend misoprostol to a friend.  Of women who took the tablets home after their prenatal visit and delivered at home, 96% said they used the misoprostol tablets and 98% took it correctly—this is important information for policy makers to know as they consider how to roll-out the project across the country.

As we shared the project findings last month at a national meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and at community meetings in the four participating districts, enthusiasm for misoprostol and commitment to ensure its availability both within and outside of Tanzania was unwavering.  The Director of Preventive Services from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare said in front of nearly 100 people, “We continue to make plans to for this rollout and call upon partners to join the Ministry’s efforts. The Ministry of Health is fully committed to this endeavor as one of our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.” Policy makers from neighboring countries in attendance were energized by the findings and shared, “If Tanzania can do this, so can we! 

Even with the rallying support from the government, perhaps the most gratifying outcome of our meetings was hearing directly from the mothers and front-line providers when visiting the district health centers in rural Tanzania.  Within VSI we are committed to sharing the results of our work with the women and providers in the rural districts who so graciously volunteered their time to participate.  There, we met dozens of women who shared their stories of childbirth and the promising effects of misoprostol.  Monaisha and her daughter, Ramla, (in attached photo) are from Ulanga district. Monaisha was fortunate to deliver at a health facility where she was given miso to prevent PPH, but she says that most of the women in her community cannot get to a facility because of the great distance and challenges finding transportation. If wait too long, they do not make it in time. “Many mothers I know deliver at home. If a woman encounters bleeding, there will be no one to help her”.

As we approach Mother’s Day, we would like to extend our deepest thanks for your support through Global Giving in making childbirth safer for mothers like Monaisha.  Please consider continuing your support by joining our “I am a mother” campaign and giving through Global Giving or visiting us online to learn how to get involved –

Monaisha visting with VSI staff member
Monaisha visting with VSI staff member
Sharing Project Results with Mothers
Sharing Project Results with Mothers


This Wednesday, March 16th, Global Giving is matching all online donations at 30%. Here are ten reasons why you should consider supporting our project, “Saving Mother’s Lives in Rural Tanzania”:

  1. Investing in a mother’s health is an investment in her children, family and community.
  2. In Tanzania, women have a 1 in 23 lifetime risk of dying in pregnancy and childbirth; when a newborn loses her mother, the likelihood she will reach her first birthday is diminished.
  3. Excessive bleeding due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth is the leading cause of death in developing countries– a condition that is preventable.
  4. Due to the remote, rural countryside, most women deliver a home.
  5. VSI is helping women where they are at the village level.
  6. Our project ensures mothers and frontline providers have access to generic tablets that have incredible life-saving effects in the management of excessive bleeding. 
  7. The cost of a preventive dose is less than a dollar. 
  8. We have empowered and trained thousands of frontline health care providers on its use and benefits.
  9. By giving through VSI this Wednesday your dollar will go further in helping women most in need.
  10. You are helping to save a life during childbirth and pregnancy.

We believe that no matter where women live, they deserve equal access to life-saving medicine and the opportunity for a safe pregnancy and childbirth as part of their basic human rights.  Thank you for your consideration this Wednesday. We deeply appreciate the support of those who share our commitment to saving mothers' lives in Tanzania.


Tanzanian Mother
Tanzanian Mother

Celebrating International Women's Day

This Tuesday, March 8th, we join the world in celebrating 100 years of International Women's Day.

As an organization committed to improving maternal health in communities most in need, we take notice of this special milestone and acknowledge the countless contributions women make to their families, communities and countries.  In the developing world, where we work, women are both the economic and social providers requiring that they be supported and their health needs met.  That’s why we are committed to addressing the leading causes of maternal death by ensuring mothers and frontline providers have access to safe, affordable and effective medicines.

Thanks to your support through Global Giving, we are making motherhood safer in Tanzania and 14 other developing countries and our collaborative efforts are improving health while strengthening communities.

To learn more about International Women’s Day click hereTo learn more about our programs and how to get involved click here.



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Organization Information

VSI, Venture Strategies Innovations

Location: Irvine, California - USA
Website: http:/​/​
VSI, Venture Strategies Innovations
Project Leader:
Allison Boiles
Communications Specialist
Anaheim, CA United States

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