Tanzanian first lady speaks out on maternal deaths

January 18, 2013

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The international community must step up its fight against maternal deaths in the developing world, Tanzanian First Lady Mama Salma Kikwete said in an address at the Global Maternal Health Conference in Arusha on Thursday (January 17th).

About 454 out of every 100,000 pregnant women in Tanzania die in hospital deliveries due to complications related to transport, lack of appropriate health facilities, lack of education and other problems, she said, according to Tanzania's The Guardian.

"There is no room for us to remain silent without taking practical actions to reduce the maternal mortality rate and at least meet the Millennium Development Goals' target of having 193 [deaths per 100,000 deliveries]," she said.

She praised Tanzania for allocating 1.5 trillion shillings ($940 million) in its budget to the heath sector, but said it is still not enough to reach the target.

More than 900 participants from 70 countries attended the conference, which was a joint initiative between the Management and Development for Health organisation in Dar es Salaam and the Maternal Health Task Force of Harvard University's School of Public Health in the United States.

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