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Reinforcing partnerships and learning together at Ministry of Health led conference in Tanzania

Key takeaways and highlights from the second Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) Scientific Conference 2023 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Laerdal Global Health’s Tanzania team and members of senior leadership attended the second Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) Scientific Conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania earlier this month. The team connected with longstanding and potential partners, showcased solutions, marked World Prematurity Day and shared the exciting news of the further scale up of the Safer Births Bundle Care program.

Key conference takeaways:

  • Access to quality care is a priority for Tanzania’s Ministry of Health
  • For programs to be successful and scale nationally in Tanzania, there is a need to engage influential champions and political support
  • There is a strong interest in a simulation-based approach to medical education that can be integrated and sustained
  • Universities in Tanzania require donorship support to further research on solutions relating to maternal and neonatal mortality
Learn more about RMNCAH 2023

With this year’s RMNCAH Conference theme being access to quality care, the Safer Births Bundle of Care (SBBC) team, including members from Haydom Lutheran Hospital, were invited to present to delegates, sharing the demonstrated impact of the program, how it was implemented, successes and learnings.  Based on 12 years of research and more than 100 published papers, the Safer Births Bundle of Care is an evidence-based program to reduce maternal and newborn mortality.  The program includes training and clinical innovation tools coupled with on-the-job low dose high frequency trainings as well as continuous quality improvement initiatives (guided by local data) and supportive mentorship to ensure sustainability over time. The first phase of Safer Births Bundle of Care (SBBC)  project in Tanzania has concluded after successful implementation in 30 hospitals in the country, with an important close out meeting held in Mwanza just a few days ahead of the RMNCAH Conference.

During this presentation, a Doctor working at a hospital where SBBC was implemented shared a story of a newborn baby who was successfully resuscitated thanks to the healthcare workers having been trained to detect a heart rate using the NeoBeat Heart Rate Meter, and then being able to carry out effective resuscitation. The story was met with applause from delegates and provided an important moment of reflection and pride for all involved in this implementation-research project. The team, having signed the formal contracts at a dinner event during the week of the conference at Serena Hotel, were also able to share the news that SBBC will be scaled from early 2024 reaching a further 110 hospitals and improving the care mothers and babies within 5 regions in Tanzania.

Aside from this important focus on SBBC, the conference was a great opportunity to connect with existing and potential partners. This included a meeting with UNFPA where an appetite to ensure high quality and sustainable simulation training in Tanzanian education and healthcare settings was expressed and discussions on how best to implement the mentoring element of the SimBegin course were had. The team also spent a lot of time with the Tanzanian Midwives Association, who were also showcasing Laerdal Global Health solutions at their booth. The two organisations came together to collectively mark World Prematurity Day, by wearing the preterm CarePlus wrap to promote the practice of Kangaroo Mother Care.

Meetings with likeminded organisations who are working to improve outcomes for mothers and babies were also conducted. One of these included the Vodafone Foundation and Touch Foundation, who run the M-Mama program. This life-saving project ensures a system is in place to connect mothers experiencing emergency situations in rural areas during labour to a central emergency transport system through mobile technologies.

Connections with universities were also strengthened with a meeting to discuss how best to work together with Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, based in Dar es Salaam. Plans are now in motion for the university to test a new digital competencies tool that Laerdal Global Health is developing, as well introducing the faculties to and the vast resources available to support trainings.

The Laerdal Global Health team were also privileged to meet with the Chief Medical Officer and Permanent Secretary, providing us an opportunity to showcase solutions and share more about our work, with a particular focus on how we can support pre-service training. The CMO expressed an interest to continue conversations with a view to working with us on preservice education in the future.