The rate of deaths due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth in Tanzania has remained high over the last few years; about 500 per 100000 live births. One woman dies every hour due to complications that arise during pregnancy and childbirth in Tanzania, where 2 million women give birth every year.
Babies born at home under the direction of older women are at high risk of dying. These women have no skills, and they force pregnant women to squat while pushing, which is dangerous for the infant in case it slips and hits the ground.
We are concerned about and focussed on the Maasai in Mererani, close to Kilimanjaro Airport. There are many ngo’s in Tanzania but not for this area while it has a population of 7000 Maasai.
What our community workers do to reduce deaths due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth:
- encourage pregnant women to deliver their babies in hospitals
- educate (pregnant) women on the benefits of delivering in hospitals in case of emergencies
- encourage women to bring their children to a clinic for vaccines and checkups every month
- educate women about nutritions and healthy food (even more during pregnancy)
What Maasai women eat during pregnancy
In the Maasai communities there is a wide range of ‘should and should not be eaten’ by pregnant women. About 70% of the pregnant woman avoid fish and farm meat while hardly anyone eats eggs because of fears fears related to the animal’s characteristics being transferred to the child or sterility.
Many prenatal food restrictions in the Maasai communities are related to ensuring that the ‘baby will not be too big’, the head would be of a normal size, or to avert ‘a difficult labour’. Maasai women mostly eat maize, maize flour, milk, and meat/intestines.
Women are responsible for collecting firewood and water, taking care of children, and food preparation. Many women feel hungry, tired, and weak throughout their pregnancies. Often they eat secretly, out of the eyes of the older women and husbands.
Within Tanzania, specifically, food insecurity remains the primary cause of under-nutrition and under-nutrition related illnesses.
‘Pregnancy should be a positive experience for all women’
A health care center will reduce more complications from pregnancy and childbirth. We intend to build one in Mererani in 2021.