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Tanzania, 15 October 2015: UNICEF hands over ambulances in Mbeya, keeping the promise to reduce maternal, newborn and child deaths

© UNICEF Tanzania/2015/Bisin
Dr. Jama Gulaid, UNICEF Tanzania Representative, and Dr. Castori George Msigalle, Acting Regional Administrative Secretary at the ribbon cutting ceremony during the handover by UNICEF of 10 ambulances to Mbeya region on 15 October 2015.

15 October 2015, MBEYA CITY, Mbeya region, United Republic of Tanzania – Delays in receiving medical care is an underlying cause of most deaths of women and children in Mbeya region of Tanzania. To tackle this problem UNICEF and the Ministry of Health are vigorously promoting measures that will enhance timely referral of patients who need urgent care and thus improve maternal, new-born and child survival.

As part of this initiative, UNICEF handed over ten ambulances to Mbeya’s authorities today. “With the support of health workers and community leaders, we can improve access to live saving interventions for mothers, infants and children quickly,” said Dr. Jama Gulaid, the UNICEF Tanzania Representative. “We are excited about this initiative and are grateful for the support of all concerned particularly, the Republic of Korea.”

UNICEF is using an integrated approach to improving maternal, new-born and child survival in Mbeya by strengthening district health systems through capacity building of health workers, supporting integrated maternal, neonatal and child health supervision, conducting regular maternal and perinatal death reviews as well as, from now on, strengthening emergency referrals systems in every councils of Mbeya Region.

Maternal and child health indicators in Mbeya have not shown significant improvement in the past decade despite positive economic changes. According to the 2012 Population and Housing Census, under-five mortality in Mbeya was 71 per 1,000 live births which is higher than national average of 66 per 1,000 live births. The maternal death ratio is also higher in Mbeya, 776 per 100,000 live births compared to 432 per 100,000 live births nation-wide.

© UNICEF Tanzania/2015/Bisin
In #Tanzania, overall child mortality has declined sharply, such that the MDG4 target of 54 deaths per 1,000 live births has been achieved.

“Saving the lives children and mothers is an important goal for UNICEF in Tanzania”, added Dr. Jama Gulaid. “Every day, simple, high-impact, and cost effective solutions are contributing to the reduction of under-five deaths.”

Diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria continue to be the main killers of children in Mbeya, with malnutrition and HIV as underlying causes of childhood deaths. To address this, UNICEF has supported the introduction of highly effective vaccines - rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines in 2013. UNICEF also helped strengthen the cold chain system to protect the vaccines in all regions of Tanzania and the Mbeya Region, which is among the regions with high immunization coverage.

In 2000, the world made a promise to reduce deaths among children under-five by two thirds by 2015, compared to 1990 levels, the benchmark year for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As the world is embarking on a new journey with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is worth remembering that in Tanzania, overall child mortality has declined dramatically, such that the MDG4 target of 54 deaths per 1,000 live births has already been achieved. But mortality among newborns has fallen more slowly, and deaths of babies under 28 days of age account for 40 per cent of all under-five deaths.

Tanzania deserves commendation for achieving MDG 4, reduction of child mortality rate. But much work lies ahead to save the lives of mothers and new born children. Let’s work together and help Tanzania keep the promise it has made to its children”, Dr. Jama Gulaid concluded.


About UNICEF UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF Tanzania and its work, visit:

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For further information please contact:

Sandra Bisin, UNICEF Tanzania, +255 787 6000 79,



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