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Because of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood Tanzania (WRATZ) members and partners advocacy campaign with a theme "Be Accountable so that Mothers and Newborns Can Survive Childbirth, high level politicians including Hon Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania were convinced that the only way we could eliminate the tragedy of pregnant mothers and new borns dying due to childbirth complication is to ensure they all access Life Saving Services, technically known as Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care (CEmONC) and qualified health workers near their homes which are health centres. In order to achieve this the campaign called for a specific budget line item with funds for CEmONC in the comprehensive council health plans.
The Prime Minister on the White Ribbon Day on March 15, 2014, gave a directive that all councils must ensure CEmoNC was available at health centres. They need to ensure omong others functioning operating theatres, laboratory to test and store safe blood, medicines, supplies, equipment and above all qualified health workers. It is possible. The directive was aired by WRATZ campaign media partner ITV/RO for 4 months. WRATZ and Parliamentarian for Club for Safe Motherhood involved all members of parliament (MPs)on this campaign and in a one day meeting organized by WRATZ, 96 MPs signed the petition on CEmONC and raised huge debate on the issue during budget sessions
According to Mandella, the issue is in our hands NOW, just the matter of putting funds and actions on our will and words. Thus the councils countrywide heard the directive and this month of June 2014 WRATZ checked the council budget plans and for the first time ever, there is a specific budget line item with funds for CEmONC!
Yesterday of July 2014, WRATZ spent a day with Religious Leaders of Rukwa who mobilized their congregation to petition for the accessibility for CEmONC by all women as a move for accountability on our side--providing feedback to participants.
The Regional Commissioner, Hon. Enge. Stella Manyanya who officiated this meeting told the religious leaders that they are in a position to ensure none of the women in their churches or mosques die in childbirth due to lack of information. "It is God's commandment that we increase and women were given this task through pregnancy labor and delivery...so her life and that of the newborn must be protected", she said and wanting to know whether there is a difference between a city woman's labor and the village woman's labor. If not, then health centres should have CEmONC and not hospitals which are only in Cities.
The Religious leaders wanted to know how they could be a watchdog to ensure the funds in this budget item is spent for CEmONC? The government officials gave them a very clear approach, and they promised to take up this task.
The Religious Leaders declared that before they start a sermon or meetings they would start with Wajibika Mama Aishi "Be Accountable so that Mothers and Newborn can Survive Childbirth. They all felt accountable to the needless deaths and they will make others do the same--e.g men must save money for the safety of their pregnant wives, use of family planning...
Please share and if you can, let us all ensure this budget lite item does not go dry at any one time and that the money is spent for CEmONC.
Wajibika Mama Aishi, "Be Accountable so that mothers and newborns can survive childbirth.