Bloomberg Philanthropies, in partnership with the Geneva-based H&B Agerup Foundation, has announced a new three-year, $8 million commitment to the Bloomberg Philanthropies Maternal Health Program, which works to reduce maternal deaths in Tanzania.
Operated in close consultation with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and implemented by the World Lung Foundation, the program works to decentralize and provide life-saving healthcare services at the village level, where they're needed the most. To date, the program has upgraded critical infrastructure at nine community clinics and trained more than a hundred local non-physician clinicians in emergency obstetric care or anesthesia. As a result, more than a thousand babies have been delivered by c-section in villages where women previously had to travel several hours to receive obstetric care, while in one district maternal deaths from bleeding and other complications have declined by 32 percent in less than two years. The additional investment, which brings Bloomberg Philanthropies' total commitment to the program to $15.5 million since 2006, is expected to help improve the lives of more than fifty thousand mothers and their children in the most isolated areas of Tanzania by 2016.
"With the contribution of H&B Agerup Foundation and the cooperation of the Tanzanian government, we can deepen this program's impact in some of the most remote regions of the country," said New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. "Early results show a two-fold increase in the number of health center-based deliveries, an important step toward reducing maternal death. As we monitor the progress of this groundbreaking work, we think it has the potential to become a model for other countries in Africa, where maternal deaths are unacceptably high."