With your support, our local partner CCBRT's Maternal Health Capacity Building (MHCB) team has worked hard to reduce the occurrence of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) in Dar es Salaam. Their interventions have quite literally saved lives; however, PPH remains the leading cause of maternal deaths in Tanzania.
We want to make every birth a safe birth. To do that, we’ve moved beyond addressing “low hanging fruit.” Instead, we’re looking at old problems with new eyes.
Recently, working with frontline health workers, MHCB’s typical bottom-up approach identified a new approach to managing PPH: ensuring the adequate availability of blood at health facilities.
Lack of blood contributed to almost 50% of maternal deaths in Dar es Salaam in 2018. Years of blood shortages mean that some Tanzanian doctors have become overly frugal with their use of blood, leading to poor medical practices and contributing to unnecessary deaths, even before women go into labor. As MHCB Program Manager Dr. Brenda told me, “If you treat [maternal] anemia casually, you end up with a casualty.”
MHCB has worked closely with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and National Blood Transfusion Service to come up with a creative solution: establishing satellite blood banks to more effectively collect blood throughout the region and to more efficiently distribute blood among health facilities that critically need it.
As a result of the new satellite blood banks, Dar es Salaam now collects more blood than Tanzania’s other regions. A renewed focus on training for clinicians to reinforce best practices has led to improved use of blood, and fewer cases of obstetric hemorrhage and preventable maternal deaths.
Now the official government model for all of Dar es Salaam Region, the satellite blood banks will become a life-saving model for all regions in Tanzania – a testament to the importance of listening to and supporting frontline health workers to make motherhood safer in Tanzania. Thank you for helping us continue this life-saving work.
Executive Director, Kupona Foundation