Statement By Honourable Ummy Ally Mwalimu (Mp), Minister Of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly And Children Of The United Republic Of Tanzania At The 4th Partners Forum, New Delhi, India, 12th December 2018.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Government of Tanzania would like to thank the organizers and the Government of India for taking the task prepare this conference.

The Government of Tanzania takes seriously the Global Partnership for Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health as it fosters socio-economic development of our communities but mostly in saving women and children life.

In the same note, the Government of Tanzania has been working with its development partners to provide good coverage and equitable MNCH services to reduce maternal, newborn and child deaths. In this way, the country has made significant progress to reduce under five deaths but not reduction in maternal and newborn deaths.

Understanding the unfinished agenda on child survival and pending agenda on maternal and newborn deaths, the Government of Tanzania in collaboration with development partners invested heavily in health system strengthening by improving leadership commitment, increasing financing of health sector, hiring and deployment of skilled human resource for health, increasing availability of medical equipment and essential medicines, and improving quality of service delivery and tracking of data to measure accurately progress.

In terms of harnessing demographic dividend, the Government of Tanzania commits to accomplish the following priorities in 2018 to 2019;

1. Increase health sector financing for RMNCAH:

The Government is committed and allocated 22 billion (USD 9.6 Million) for the 2018/2019 fiscal budget compared with 14 billion (USD 6.1 million) for 2017/2018 to be used to strengthen RMNCAH commodities and services in Tanzania, which was almost doubling the commitment for last year.

2. To increase use of family planning services:

Increase family planning uptake of modern CPR from 34% (2016) to 45% by 2020, ensuring availability of family planning commodities, addressing social norms that hinder individuals from using contraception, increased capacity of Health Care Providers to provide FP method mix and scale up of family planning methods use after birth (postpartum family planning) as a high impact practice in increasing access of contraceptives among women.

To ensure that the unmet need for modern contraceptive services is reduced even below the current level of 22%, the Government of Tanzania will develop a clear scheme of service for the approved community health worker cadre. At this stage, the Government would like to reiterate its commitment that community health workers will be deployed at grassroot-community level to enhance and improve absorption of RMNCAH and other health related services.

3. Catalytic support of adolescent high impact interventions:

Fast track finalization of National Accelerated Adolescent Implementation Action Plan (NAAIA) to ensure multisectoral collaboration to address issues for children and adolescent aged 10-19 years with aim of keeping more girls in schools, ensuring good school environment attractive for both girls and boys that include provision of food at schools and reviving school spots and games; establish catch up programs for drop-outs due pregnancy; institutes measures to protect girls from pregnancy like construction of dormitories with improved school hygiene; and scale up establishment of youth friendly services from 30% to 80% of target population. NAAIA aims to ensure that all sectors come into play to address issues, which make adolescent not to realize their dreams.

4. Increase availability of quality EmONC services:

Scale up availability of Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (EmONC) by equipping health facilities with life saving equipment and medicine and supporting them with mentorship and specialized care programs to last mile by ongoing use of electronic solutions and telephone to complement real time care of complicated cases.

5. Finalize equipping of the renovated EmONC health facilities

Equip and install with EmONC equipment to 350 health facilities that have undergone major refurbishment to render them ready to provide services to as early as June 2019 that include, provision of all Basic EmONC signal functions as a measure of quality in service provision and addition remaining 2 signal functions (caesarean section and blood transfusion) for designated comprehensive EmONC HFs.

6. Establish neonatal care units:

Improve newborn care by establishing Referral Regional Hospital neonatal care units, provide coaching and mentoring of health care providers and ensuring neonatal guidelines, standard operating procedure and checklists are available at all levels of care.

7. Increase and sustain gains in PMTCT services:

The Government of Tanzania aims at reaching last mile towards elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV in Tanzania by 2020 by addressing challenges/bottlenecks in achieving critical coverage of pregnant women with HIV multiple tests during pregnancy and of exposed infants with early HIV diagnosis, strengthening linkage to care and increasing adherence to ART among children and their mothers to reduce viral load, including through optimization of ARV drugs formulation and this will be achieved through expanded coverage of community based RMNCH services.

8. Deployment of competent human resource for health:

Deploy by July 2019 competent human resource that include midwives, doctors and anaesthetists, to primary health care facilities with skills and knowledge capable of managing EmONC complication to ensure women and newborn survival.

9. Increasing capacity of the country to eliminate cervical cancer:

The Government is scaling up the coverage of health facilities from 10% (each level of care) to the set target of 50% to provide cervical cancer screening. The current coverage is only able to reach 20% of the eligible population of women at risk for developing cervical cancer. Furthermore, the Government is now at stage of reaching eligible adolescents for second dose HPV vaccine. The coverage of first dose of HPV vaccine was around 70% of girls of 14 years of age, as per agreed schedule.

10. To inform policy with evidence based data:

During the 2018 the Government of Tanzania started a processing validation of routine data to enable direct method to assess and report maternal, newborn, infant and under five deaths. This work is underway and expected to give results by July 2019.

For effective implementation of these initiatives, the Government of Tanzania will continue working in partnership with development partners, NGOs, CSOs and FBOs through a range of programmes and initiatives. Finally, the Government understands that this forum will remain to be an important venue to reaffirm our commitment with partners in meeting needs of every woman every child.

I Thank you.