Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — A new maternity operating room at the Amana Hospital in Ilala District was opened Tuesday as part of an ongoing effort to strengthen health services for women and prevent maternal deaths in Tanzania, a project supported by the U.S. government and Jhpiego.
U.S. Ambassador Alfonso E. Lenhardt officiated at the unveiling and praised the hospital for its leadership in providing quality medical care to the more than 790,000 Ilala residents served by the facility. The new operating room in the maternity ward will serve the 80-100 women who give birth at Amana daily. Of those, an average of five pregnant women a day need emergency C-sections. according to hospital officials.
“Those women who choose to deliver in Amana can now be assured of timely, lifesaving surgical interventions in the event of a complication that may result from giving life to the next generation of Tanzanian children,” the ambassador said in a prepared statement.
In the past, women in need of emergency obstetric care or Caesarean sections at Amana were taken to the hospital’s main operating theater. But when Amana decided to renovate that surgical suite, hospital officials were concerned about possible surgical delays or the impact of referring emergency maternity cases to Muhimbili National Hospital, 10 kilometers away..The solution was to renovate space in the 120-bed maternity ward to create its own operating room.
The $19,000 renovation was made possible through the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) working with Jhpiego.
Speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, hosted by Dr. Meshack Shimwela, medical officer in-charge of Amana Hospital, Ambassador Lenhardt praised the special partnership between the United States, the European Union, and Tanzania that has yielded strong results in health care. The ambassador said enhancement of maternity services is part of U.S. total development assistance partnership with Tanzania that exceeded $700 million in 2010.
USAID has been supporting critical maternal and reproductive health interventions to prevent the needless death of women and families in Tanzania for more than a decade. In the Dar es Salaam region, which has a population of close to 2 million people, USAID has been partnering with the European Union to support the Municipal Councils in their efforts to provide modern maternity services to the women of this region.
Also present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Dr. Alain Damiba, Jhpiego’s Vice President Global Program Operations, Ambassador Tim Clarke of the European Union, Hon. Mussa Zungu, MP-Ilala, Mayor Jerry Silaa of Ilala Municipal, and Gabriel Fuime, Ilala Municipal Director.