Earlier this month, maternal health advocacy group White Ribbon Alliance honored International Women’s Day with a flurry of local events to raise awareness about maternal mortality. In Tanzania, WRA’s national chapter organized a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro with the theme of “Zero Tolerance of Maternal Deaths.”

The event enlisted key national leaders for a several-day hike to generate attention and funding for comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care (CEmONC) – a critical upgrade for health facilities that can dramatically reduce maternal mortality. Tanzania’s Prime Minister presided over the climb along with several public-sector representatives, demonstrating a commitment from the highest levels of the Tanzanian government. Dr. Ahmad Makuwani, senior consultant doctor for reproductive and child health at the Tanzanian Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC), had this to say about the campaign:

“A woman carries a child for nine months, goes through labor pain and finally gives birth. We are climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro as a symbol of the pain women experience during birth. We also want to show the world maternal deaths are no longer tolerated.”


Leaders from the Tanzanian Ministry of Health atop Mt. Kilimanjaro

Already part of the country’s efforts to improve its CEmONC capacity, Gradian was proud to support WRA’s campaign. We teamed up with WRATZ and the MOHCDGEC to sponsor a new CEmONC health center, where we’ll be donating a Universal Anaesthesia Machine (UAM) to help the facility deliver anesthesia for surgery. As Rose Mlay, National Coordinator for WRA Tanzania acknowledged, “this effort will go a long way in helping Tanzanian pregnant women and newborns survive childbirth.”

We’re delighted to be a partner in this campaign, and look forward to working with our Tanzanian counterparts to ensure that anesthesia and surgical care are delivered safely and effectively to all patients who need it, particularly during childbirth. Click here to learn more about the need for CEmONC in Tanzania and how the White Ribbon Alliance is contributing.


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