Depending on the estimate, there are hundreds to thousands of languages spoken in Africa, and English is only one of them. Africare/Tanzania recently participated in an important regional meeting on maternal and child health, an event the Rukwa Regional Commissioner’s office covered in the native Kiswahili. For readers fluent in the language, the link is below, but Africare/Tanzania’s Dr. Noah Mwaipyana, Program Manager for Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH), was nice enough to summarize the event for English readers too.
With funding from the Government of Canada, the Wazazi na Mwana (“Parent and Child” in Kiswahili) project is being implemented by Plan International, Jhpiego and Africare to improve access to high quality, reliable MNCH services and to enhance the capacity of communities to manage childhood illnesses.
On 13 September, the Rukwa Regional Commissioner, the Honorable Stella Manyanya, chaired a meeting on MNCH with regional, district and community leaders to empower them to be responsible for MNCH in their respective areas. Rukwa’s Regional Health Management Team and the Wazazi na Mwana project collaborated to organize the meeting, which aimed to respond to frequently reported MNCH challenges in local wards and districts.
At the end of the meeting each of the attendees – the district executive secretaries, division secretaries and ward executive secretaries – one by one, in front of the Regional Commissioner swore an oath promising that they are going to lead in the reduction of maternal, newborn and children under 5 deaths. They swore to do this through full participation and follow-up on MNCH issues including supervising correct health status reporting, ensuring quality health delivery to children under 5 and pregnant women, and by being responsible to account for all deaths which occur in their areas.
Overall, the meeting was very successful. Hopefully this approach will build on the momentum and focus in Rukwa on MNCH, continuing to motivate leaders at all levels in the region to take responsibility and reinforce the need to “be accountable so that mothers can survive childbirth.”
To read the Regional Commissioner’s Office coverage of the event in Kiswahili, click here.