Mwimbi Health center is one among 2 health centers found in Kalambo district which is located in Rukwa region, southern highland of Tanzania. According to the 2012 census Rukwa region has a total population of 1,004,539 of which 207,000 are found in Kalambo district. Mwimbi health center serves a population of 10,326 with assistance of 7 satellite dispensaries which are located within and beyond 5 kms from the center.
Mwimbi health center has been providing services to pregnant mothers without the presence of a theater. The center did not have the capacity to provide emergence surgery services known as comprehensive emergency obstetric and newborn care (CEmONC) because of the unavailability of an operating obstetric theatre. According to Chrisant Kamando an assistant medical officer and in charge of the center, say that the center could not prevent maternal death and pre-natal complications which sometimes resulted into fistula due to prolonged labor. All the obstetric emergencies were referred to the district hospital which is located 120 kms from Mwimbi health center, the distance which is very far to cover for an emergency situation especially with the unfavorable road condition in kalambo district. She continues that apart from the challenge of not having a facility to support obstetric emergency services, the center had shortage of skilled and competent health workers to provide the services. With the available circumstances there was not hope for pregnant mothers who depended on Mwimbi health center for safe delivery.
Chrisant Kamando, assistant medical officer and in charge of Mwimbi health Center attending a client at Mwimbi health center in Kalambo district, Rukwa
The Benjamin W. Mkapa Foundation through its signature program of Mkapa Fellows Phase II (MFP II) began intervention in Kalambo districts in its effort to support the government of Tanzania strengthen health systems especially in hard to reach areas. MFP II is a five years program (2013-2017) which focuses on tackling HIV and AIDS and maternal health challenges in underserved Tanzanian communities. It aims to improve health services for prevention, Care and treatment of HIV and AIDS and Maternal Newborn health through training of health workers, recruitment and deployment of health workers, construction and equipping of theatres, as well as community mobilization and awareness around HIV and AIDS and Maternal Newborn health.
Through MFP II program, BMF managed to construct 1 health workers staff house and 1 equipped obstetric theatre for Mwimbi health center which became fully functional in July 2015. Apart for constructing a theater also BMF recruited and deployed 4 skilled health workers which are Assistant Medical Officer (AMO), Clinical Officer (CO), Enrolled Nurse (EN) and Registered Nurse (RN) to strengthen provision of better health service in the centre.
The recruited health workers have also been equipped with skills and knowledge to improve the delivery of services including AMO trained of how to provide CEmONC services, CO, EN plus RN trained on Anesthesia.
A client waiting for service at Mwimbi health center in Kalambo district, Rukwa
Chrisant Kamando continues that as of 2014 the rate of pregnant mothers to come for delivery in the center has increased to 103 (26%), 147 (20%) by 2014/15 and 250 (6%) by 2015/16. Also they have managed to conduct 39 successful giving birth operations to pregnant mothers famously know as C-section which is equivalent 13% to the total facility deliveries of 301; all these have been possible as a result of improved health systems and services in the center.
“We appreciate the work of Mkapa Foundation, as it has helped us provide better service to our community. We can now attend emergencies at any time since we have an equipped theater and skills to perform the service. Also we live near the facility which enables our clients to reach as easily at any time” said Chrisant Kamando, facility in charge of Mwimbi health center.