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Partner Q&A: Dr Benjamin Kamala, Haydom Lutheran Hospital

Tell us a bit about your organization, role and how your work contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 3?

Haydom Lutheran Hospital is a hospital located in the Manyara region of Tanzania. Here, in line with SDG3, we aim to enhance maternal and neonatal health outcomes through the Safer Births Bundle of Care (SBBC) programme. As the Principal Investigator for SBBC, I lead the implementation of the program, overseeing the efforts and activities that empower healthcare providers to utilize innovative tools, simulation training, and local data for continuous quality improvement.

Can you share more about your organization and/or country’s context when it comes to maternal and neonatal health? 

In our region (African context), challenges such as limited access to quality healthcare and a lack of skilled birth attendants contribute to high rates of maternal and neonatal mortality.

Although Tanzania has reduced its maternal mortality rate in the past decade from 556 to 104 per 100,000 women, there is still work to be done to ensure that even those in dire situations who manage to come to the health facilities have a fighting chance. Hence, our work focuses on addressing these issues through education, technology, and improved clinical practices on labor management and postpartum, maternal hypertensive disorders, and neonatal resuscitation.

How has working alongside Laerdal Global Health increased the impact of your projects or programs? 

Partnering with Laerdal Global Health has significantly amplified our efforts through their support of innovative tools and educational resources as well as publishing our work on international platforms such as the IMSH this January 2024. Their support in providing training simulators and educational resources has enhanced healthcare providers' skills, leading to better care for mothers and newborns.

In three words, how would you describe the way Laerdal Global Health works as a partner?

Innovative, Supportive, Committed.

In your experience, what is the key to successfully implementing a program to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity?

The key lies in comprehensive community engagement for local ownership, continuous training for healthcare providers, and the integration of technology to improve healthcare delivery.

In your opinion, what could be done to further improve outcomes for mothers and newborns in Tanzania?

Outcomes could be further improved by promoting continuous care and accessibility of antenatal care labor, delivery, and postnatal care, using local data for decision-making, and embedding mentorship and supportive supervision in existing local structures like Maternal and Perinatal Death Surveillance and Response (MPDSR). Also, encouraging better documentation to ensure the interventions made can be better assessed and evaluated.

Read more about the Safer Births Bundle of Care program in Tanzania, here