Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women

by Kupona Foundation
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Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women
Photo credit: Benjamin Eagle
Photo credit: Benjamin Eagle

Dear Friends, 

In February 2012, Kupona Board member Dr. Yoni Barnhard visited Amana Hospital in Dar es Salaam, and shared his experiences in a series of GlobalGiving reports.

An American OBGYN, Dr. Barnhard found himself in an overcrowded, under-staffed, under-equipped delivery ward, and reported that, despite the desire to save their patients, the staff at Amana didn’t have the resources they needed to do so. The consequences were often tragic.

“Amana. Second largest district hospital in Dar es Salaam. 29,000 deliveries each year. Do the math. Teeming with births. Just 6 birthing beds. Not actually birthing beds. Metal tables with a hole at one end. Fresh blood dripping through. A bucket underneath. No full-time OBGYN. No full-time anesthesiologist. No air conditioning. 92 degrees outside. Hotter inside. This is where we start.”

Four years later, we’ve come a long way from where we started. Thanks to the tireless efforts of CCBRT’s Maternal and Newborn Healthcare team, in close partnership with the Government of Tanzania, Amana is unrecognizable. Kupona’s dedicated donors joined a committed network of supporters and partners including Vodafone Foundation, Global Affairs Canada (GAC – formerly DFATD), and CBM Australia. Today, thanks to your generosity, expectant mothers are entering a very different hospital.

“The challenge is not practicing good obstetrics. The challenge is practicing better obstetrics with limited resources.”

Relieving the Pressure

Dar es Salaam’s healthcare system was designed to support a city of 750,000 people; hospitals and clinics now serve a population of over 4.4 million. Severe overcrowding hampers healthcare workers’ ability to give every patient the attention and quality of care they deserve. When Dr. Barnhard visited Amana four years ago, the hospital conducted 2,000 deliveries a month. He counted three nurses helping 41 women in labor.

Capacity building and training at smaller pre-referral healthcare facilities across the region means that families now place their trust in a greater number of facilities, decongesting wards at district and regional hospitals and relieving the pressure on healthcare teams. Today, Amana Hospital conducts 1,000 deliveries a month, giving staff more time to focus on each patient and respond efficiently to emergencies. In 2012, the labor wards were so crowded women were delivering five to a bed, or on the floor. Today, more women deliver one to a bed, though there are still space constraints in some of the wards.

“When it comes to saving a life, one can do far more with a single unit of blood than an ultrasound machine.”

The Tools to Save Lives

In 2012, Anna1, a 29-year-old pregnant woman, and mother of 6, arrived at Amana displaying severe preeclampsia symptoms. Her attending healthcare worker ran from room to room borrowing the medication needed to save her life. It wasn’t enough, and she died a few hours later. Anna’s death could have been prevented. Today, eclampsia and emergency kits are readily available, stocked with the medication and supplies needed to avoid preventable tragedies. Today, her six other children would still have a mother.

The leading cause of maternal death in Tanzania is post-partum hemorrhaging, and this is unlikely to change without addressing the severe shortages of safe blood supplies. In 2012, little was being done to overcome these challenges. In 2015, CCBRT’s Capacity Building Program began working with the Regional Health Management Team in Dar es Salaam to establish four satellite blood banks, increasing the availability of clean blood in the region. In addition, there are now two full-time OBGYNs at Amana, and training is available for surgical and medical management, giving staff the knowledge to confidently and competently save lives.

Lasting Change You Empowered

Improvements2 across the board at Amana mean that staff are equipped, trained, and available to tackle emergency cases, prevent birth injuries like obstetric fistula, and identify and refer newborns with impairments like cleft lip or clubfoot. A healthy child born to a healthy mother is less likely to be caught in the cycle of poverty, and more likely to pursue education and employment later in life.

In 2012, Amana Hospital’s delivery ward was a sea of women in all stages of labor, with an overwhelmed staff fighting an uphill battle to treat and save the patients in their charge. Today, with your support, we are seeing a new reality for the women of Tanzania, and in turn, for their children. There is still room for improvement and growth, particularly in early labor wards which are still crowded. There is also an emerging need for a space where mothers can nurse their sick newborns. However, CCBRT is ready to meet these challenges, spurred on by the success you’ve supported. Four years later, the future for Tanzanian families looks much brighter.

  1. Name changed to protect patient’s identity
  2. Following a recent assessment, Amana achieved 78% of quality standards for Basic Emergency Obstetric Care, measured by Standards-Based Management and Recognition (SBMR) assessments, developed by Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University” compared to Amana’s baseline score of 9% in 2010. 
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Photo credit: Maddie Johnson
Photo credit: Maddie Johnson

Dear Friends,

In December, we launched our final fundraising push of 2015. Thanks to you, and other like-minded donors, we raised over $2,250 during the GlobalGiving Year End Campaign. Our wider campaign was the most successful in our history, with over $29,000 raised for the people and communities of Tanzania. We couldn't have done it without the support of our GlobalGiving community. 

What does $2,250 mean for the mothers of Tanzania?

$2,250 will fund the equipment necessary for 18 safe emergency C-sections, giving 18 mothers and their babies a real chance at surviving a complicated delivery. For 19-year-old Hanaa, trained, equipped medical staff might have saved her unborn son and spared her the trauma of developing an obstetric fistula.

When Hanaa went into labor with her first child, medical staff at her local dispensary told her she had to go to the district hospital for delivery. That facility didn’t have the proper equipment. On the second day, she was referred to the regional hospital, which was equipped to perform the C-section she needed. It was too late. Her son was delivered stillborn.

After her traumatic C-section, Hanaa realized that she was leaking urine, and was diagnosed with an obstetric fistula, a condition caused by her prolonged, obstructed labor. An ambassador from our sister organization, CCBRT, was working at the hospital. The ambassador paid for her transportation, and she arrived at CCBRT’s Disability Hospital eager to receive treatment. Now, after surgery and rehabilitation, Hanaa has hope, has recovered, and is dry.

Hanna’s message to the medical staff and donors who helped her is one of gratitude, but also a call to action. She says “I will pray to God to bless them, and to help them serve more people.”

Hanaa’s story is not unusual in Tanzania, but thanks to your support, it is becoming increasingly less common. Your generous gifts at the end of last year will continue to provide access to the high quality maternal healthcare services the women of Tanzania need and deserve. With every dollar you ensure that no woman needs to face the same trauma as Hanaa. Together we are unlocking new opportunities and fresh starts for healthier, stronger mothers, families, and communities.

Thank you for your support in 2015. We can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring.

Best wishes,


Photo credit: Maddie Johnson
Photo credit: Maddie Johnson
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The happy new family. Credit Kimberly Hoover
The happy new family. Credit Kimberly Hoover

Two months ago, our Executive Director Abbey gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Bryce Edward Kocan. When she took a moment to compare her childbirth experience with that of a Tanzanian woman the reality was both sobering and heartbreaking.

“After my water broke, our baby’s heart rate began dropping dangerously every time I had a contraction. We had the undivided attention of 2 nurses and 1 doctor for over an hour. That’s when we knew it was serious. Our “plan” for a natural birth melted away. All that we cared about was the health of our son…It took about 36 hours for the reality of what could have been to sink in…If my experience had been the same as that of a Tanzanian mother, Mike and I would almost certainly be mourning the loss of our son today”

Read more about Abbey’s experience in her latest HuffPost article.

Your support is improving the quality of care available to mothers and their newborns in Tanzania, ensuring Tanzanian families have the same access to the quality of care Abbey received in the U.S., and the same opportunity for a happy ending.

You’re breaking records, and changing lives

Your donations allow Tanzanian medical teams to be trained and mentored by highly skilled surgeons and doctors, equipping healthcare facilities to manage deliveries safely, and embedding high quality care in the Tanzanian healthcare system for generations to come.This past May, you stepped up to make our Mothers’ Day Bonus Day campaign the most successful in our history. Now, as we enter the holiday season, we’re hoping to maintain your record-breaking momentum, and raise support for the families of Tanzania.

We are participating in GlobalGiving’s Year-End campaign, with bonus prizes available to the organizations that raise the most money, from the most donors. We need your help to unlock these amazing prizes! Make a donation via our GlobalGiving project page before midnight EST on December 31st and we could be eligible for up to $3,000 in bonus funds!

Your support is the gift that keeps on giving.

A donation may feel like a small drop in the ocean but single drops create a ripple effect. Your gifts enable people to access high quality healthcare, in turn strengthening their families, giving them access to education and employment, and empowering their communities.

Ensure the impact you made this year continues to reach the people that need it most. Together, we can empower individuals and communities living in poverty in Tanzania to realize their full potential.

Happy Holidays!

The Kupona Team

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2014 Impact By the Numbers
2014 Impact By the Numbers

Dear Friends,

You may have noticed that our logo was given a refresh a few months ago. We’ve now got a cleaner, lighter font and crisper lines. This was just one small part of an effort to improve the way we tell our story.

Your impact deserves to be recognized.

As we met new supporters eager to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve, and discovered new opportunities to raise awareness of our work, we needed a website that was easy to use, and that got our message across clearly. We also wanted a platform that could do justice to the stories of change and empowerment coming from CCBRT every day.

Thanks to the generous pro-bono work of our good friend Vittoria Childress, Kupona’s new website is now live. 


We didn't stop there.

Communicating with our supporters, and keeping you updated on how your donations change lives, happens across a variety of channels. We’re delighted to share our inaugural Annual Report for 2014.

For the first time, we’re giving you a detailed summary of last year’s activities and finances, documenting our challenges, victories, and your impact. Just a few highlights include:

  • Thanks to you, Kupona Foundation was able to raise over $600,000 in support of life changing programs.
  • 105,000 mothers received high quality, respectful care during delivery
  • 1,693 frontline healthcare workers were trained to provide quality obstetric and newborn care.


If you have any questions or feedback on our new look and new materials, we’d love to hear from you

Thank you for all you do to support Kupona’s work as we empower our sister organization, CCBRT, to improve the lives of people living in poverty in Tanzania.

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Photo Credit: Benjamin Eagle
Photo Credit: Benjamin Eagle

In November of last year, we shared a progress report from the field. For years, Temeke Hospital in Dar es Salaam had one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the region. Thanks to your support, and the hard work of the medical teams on the ground, Temeke reported zero maternal deaths in the month of September. This was an incredible victory for our colleagues at CCBRT, their partners on the Government’s Regional Health Management Team, and for Kupona supporters, as we celebrated the fact that our investments were saving and changing lives.

In that November report, we asked you to keep giving. In return, we promised to build upon last year’s successes, enabling the teams on the ground to continue improving the skills of healthcare providers; ensuring that they have access to the facilities and the equipment they need to do their job; and decongesting health facilities so that medical staff have the time and space to attend to every patient.

You have continued to show your commitment to our work in Tanzania, giving generously during both our December 2014 and Mothers’ Day 2015 campaigns. You set new fundraising records at Kupona, and gave us our most successful GlobalGiving Bonus Day in our history.

You held up your end of the bargain, and we are so happy to be able to deliver on our promise.

This month, the team at Temeke confirmed consistently low maternal mortality rates for the first half of this year. This report included two consecutive months of zero maternal deaths. This news builds upon the successes that we celebrated last year, and demonstrates that our programs are moving in the right direction.

Together, we are taking great steps toward making childbirth safe for every mother and every newborn.

We want to say Thank You. Thank You for standing with us as we tackle the challenge of reducing high mortality rates in some of the most overwhelmed, under-resourced facilities in Tanzania. Thank You for hearing our plea for support, and Thank You for demonstrating your confidence in our team as we continue to save and change lives.

We hope you’re as encouraged by these updates as we are. Consistent and positive updates from the field are a sign that the change we have waited for is happening.

Please, share this with your friends and family using the buttons below. Tell them about your donation, show them what a difference it has made and encourage them to join you in supporting our work. Together, by increasing access to high quality healthcare, we are setting people on a path to a healthier and more productive future.


With gratitude,


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Organization Information

Kupona Foundation

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @KuponaFdn
Project Leader:
Susana Oguntoye
Executive Director
Washington, DC - District of Columbia United States
$145,938 raised of $400,000 goal
2,091 donations
$254,062 to go
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