The ultra sound services for pregnant women attending these hospitals were limited in terms of medical expertise and equipment. To address this issue, a link was created between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, UK and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), Tanzania. It has provided basic skills training for a team of doctors and midwives in ultra sound scanning.

Improving the maternal mortality rate

With a current maternal mortality rate of 578 per 100,000 live births and a neonatal mortality rate of 32 per 1,000 live births in Tanzania, the Ministry of Health has pledged support for the development of ultra sound services at all district hospitals to identify complications which may arise early in pregnancy.  By the year 2015 the Tanzania Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Strategic Plan is aiming to reduce these mortality rates to 193 per 100,000 and 19 per 1000 live births respectively.

Two such district hospitals are Kibosho, caring for around 1,000 pregnant women each year, and Machame, caring for between 900 and 1,500 each year.  Both hospitals serve remote rural populations in the north of Tanzania.

Early signs of benefits

The benefits of the funding are already clear.  Within two months of the training, a number of complications had been identified which allowed staff to take the necessary action.  These included a number of multiple pregnancies, placenta previa, pre-eclampsia and intra-uterine fatal deaths.

Making a difference

Dr. Mary Minja at Kibosho Hospital said: “The Ultrasound training I obtained was of its kind as it was my first time to get such training. Now I have the knowledge which gives me more confidence in undertaking my duties. Now I am in position to identify risk factors and be able to manage them accordingly."

A team of nine delegates from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust visited Kibosho, Machame and KCMC hospitals to strengthen the link and see how the ultra sound project is benefiting both patients and medical staff.  One delegate, Dr. Rotimi Jaiyesimi, said:

“It is brilliant to see that the ultra sound services has taken off in KCMC and now is extended to Kibosho and Machame Hospitals which have a positive impact in patients care. One can see the enthusiasm of the six people that have been trained."

IHLFS Team, British Council Tanzania