Tanzania has one of the highest numbers of maternal deaths in the world. In rural areas of the country, where many Maasai people live with little access to health care, nearly half of all births occur without a skilled provider.
Tanzania has a shortage of well-equipped, community-based facilities and trained health care workers. With limited access to transportation, poor road conditions, and an under-resourced health system, many women do not receive timely, quality care. We support the training of health workers, provision of lifesaving resources, and community outreach and health education for women in rural settings.
Traditional midwives continue to be the preferred or only birth attendant available for many remote communities in Tanzania, including the Maasai, one of the more marginalized ethnic groups in Tanzania. We’re helping expand our partners’ capacity to train
traditional midwives and reproductive, maternal and child healthcare workers to provide culturally congruent care, as well as identify opportunities to strengthen their work through referral networks.
The Maasai tribe is nomadic with many living below the poverty line. Home births under the care of traditional birth attendants (TBAs) are common. To improve outcomes, we’re helping develop referral networks by training midwives and TBAs to identify and refer high-risk pregnancies to health facilities, while strengthening their relationships with health facility providers.
A well-equipped, well-managed health care facility is critical to improving maternal health outcomes in rural areas. Through our partners, we invest in community-based facilities in northern Tanzania to be better equipped with the life-saving supplies, essential tools and medicines needed to provide Maasai women and children with the high-quality reproductive, obstetric, newborn and pediatric care they deserve, when and where they need it.
The Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO) supports Massai women’s access to education, health care services, and economic opportunities. With a newly constructed and equipped maternity wing at the MWEDO Kipok Health Center, MWEDO is working with traditional midwives to develop linkages with and increase referrals to hospitals, while conducting community outreach and education, and building the demand for quality facility-based care in Kiteto.
The Foundation for African Medicine and Education (FAME) is an inpatient and emergency hospital and outpatient clinic in Karatu that provides high-quality, comprehensive maternal and child health care services and serves as a referral destination for high-risk pregnancies in remote Tanzania. FAME trains their health care providers to meet international standards, provides community outreach and education, and has built a network of traditional midwives to increase collaboration and improve maternal health outcomes.