Category

AIO

Youth Now

By | AIO | No Comments
Young people have the potential to shape and influence their future and that of their communities. They are the next generation of leaders, captains of industry, parents and teachers and are an indispensable human resource for countries in which they live. To achieve their full potential, national governments, corporates, civil societies and international agencies needs to invest in youth now to adequately equip them for the future.
Research indicates that young people between the age of 10-24 years of age constitute for 33% of the population in Africa. 63% of Tanzanians are below the age of 25 making them a crucial social capital and potential human force. If invested in and nurtured, youth can be positive agents of change and the bedrock for socio-economic development of a nation.

 

“The investments we make in youth today will determine how they lead us into tomorrow. That is why we have built a youth-friendly, relatable platform specifically designed for adolescents to access key life skills.” Rebecca Young, Founder AIO.
In saying that, the transitional path from childhood to adulthood is a perilous one for youth with obstacles that threaten to distract, derail and even destroy young people’s aspirations and in some cases, their lives. Public services do not always speak the language of young people and for many, they feel unapproachable spaces that lack youth-friendly staff. Peer pressure, poverty, drug and substance abuse, sexual abuse, child marriage, early pregnancy, physical violence and micro nutrient deficiency are real challenges youth need key life skills in order to navigate well during this fragile time.

 

Rachel, a Jipange intern researching gender violence before interviewing professionals on the subject.

Africa Inside Out incubated a multi-media digital platform in 2019 called ‘JIPANGE’ which means ‘get prepared’ in Kiswahili. The Skills for Life platform designed for young people, by young people will provide useful information and guidance on issues ranging from healthy relationships, talent and entrepreneurship, job seeking, health and social welfare services and citizenship.
The JIPANGE content that has been engineered by Tanzanian youth for Tanzanian youth during a 6 month internship program at AIO has developed content that it is relevant, relatable and resonates amongst young people.

 

Neema recording an audio play on safe sex after participating in a workshop with Doctors and Health Professionals.
The platform which is essentially a peer-to-peer content provider immediately connects young people to the brand and provides them with key life skills through music, theatre and audio plays, podcasts discussions, interviews with professionals and template downloads.
His Excellency, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, 4th President of Tanzania visiting the JIPANGE team to see first hand how the youth are creating content for their peers.

Amplifying the Demand for Midwives

By | AIO | No Comments
The global call for attention to midwifery as a profession and as a solution to preventing unnecessary maternal and neonatal mortaility has been building momentum over the past decade. The conversation that started among global and national midwifery associations was supported and echoed in academic literature and by global development agencies.
In recent years countries including Cambodia, Indonesia and Morocco have taken policy action to invest more in midwives. The results have seen significant improvement in their maternal and newborn indices.
Well trained, qualified midwives are a crucial low-investment, low-risk, high-yield resource that prevent maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality. Midwives can, if supported to task, play a unique role within their communities as part of the integrated health system, providing 87% of the essential care needed by women and newborns – potentially preventing two thirds of all maternal and newborn deaths.
Tanzania is a large country with 70% of its 53 million population residing in rural areas. Access to fully equipped health facilities remains a challenge and many women still experience complications as a result of not being able to give birth under the qualified supervision of a competent health practitioner. It is estimated that 8,000 women currently die every year and more than 1 million births take place in the absence of a qualified midwife.
We have spent the past 18 months understanding the current, interlinking complexities that are at play which have contributed to the current increase in maternal and newborn deaths in Tanzania. Training and recruitment, access, affordability, availability of medical supplies, cultural practices and quality of care each play a critical role and thus a collective effort is in order to achieve sustainable change for mothers and newborns.
Working closely with The Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDEC) there is without doubt, a strong political will to accelerate progress in reducing maternal mortality. Within the framework of the National Road Map 2016-2020, The Government is making strides to improve emergency and obstetric care facilities and distribute critical commodities such as surgical gloves and magnesium sulphate to health facilities country-wide. The MoHCDEC’s request for a budget increase was approved to specifically focus on strengthening maternal and newborn health services and on The International Day of the Midwife 2017, The Vice President of Tanzania, Honourable Samia Suluhu with The Minister of Health (MoHCDEC), Dr. Ummy Mwalimu announced that the government would review the nurse-midwife curriculum and explore the notion of making midwifery a stand alone profession. All of which reflect the Lancet report urging policy makers to improve effective coverage of reproductive, maternal and newborn health care while simultaneously improving the quality of care.
The growing commitment to this health priority has been further re-inforced by the highly respected advocate, The 4th President of Tanzania, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete who has announced that The Jakaka Mrisho Kikwete Foundation will focus on strengthening midwifery in Tanzania and collaborate with the government and health partners in achieving sustainable gains.
At a time where political will is fully charged and with the count down to 2030 upon us, it is also a critical time for the international donor community to come together in support of the government’s aspirations to amplify the demand and number of midwives in Tanzania so that every pregnant woman has access to this cadre.

Fighting cancer starts by knowing.

By | AIO | No Comments

If only I had known sooner, I would have taken her to the hospital. We thought she had been cursed.

When a child arrives at the Children’s Cancer Ward in Muhimbili National Hospital, they find urgency, kindness, critical care and a real chance of a cure. What many people do not know is that children’s cancer is curable if treated in time, with the correct medicine and expertise.

‘We are Tumaini La Maisha’ works in partnership with The National Hospital to provide a comprehensive package of care and support to children and their families during diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation – all free of charge. Fundraising to supply the demands of expensive treatment and medical operations is a relentless task but thanks to initiatives like MOVEMBER, access to treatment is not so far away.

 

In the last decade, more than 4,500 children have been treated at the Children’s Cancer Ward and cure rates increased from 15% to 65%. More than 2,000 health care professionals and students have been trained in cancer diagnosis and case management and last year an outreach program was launched to actively promote treatment in other regions of Tanzania.

During our visit to film a fundraising appeal, we all found it gut wrenching to see children diagnosed too late purely because their families were unaware of the signs and symptoms. AIO wanted to figure out a way of helping the TLM team inform citizens across the country about cancer so that diagnosis was prompt.

It is estimated that 3,500 new cases of cancer exist amongst children in Tanzania every year and yet the hospital is only treating an average of 600. The gap is significant and to close that gap requires two things – awareness at the community level so caregivers are informed and know to take their children for diagnosis and second, build the capacity of children’s cancer services to supply the increased demand for treatment. We are putting ourselves to task with the aim to dispel myths and inform caregivers throughout Tanzania about the signs and symptoms and treatment of children’s cancer.

Visit ‘Movember Tanzania’ and ‘We are TLM’ on Facebook to stay updated and participate in 2017’s ‘MOVEMBER’ to raise money and awareness for children fighting cancer.

Simple, Practical & Scalable Solutions. A South – South learning in India.

By | AIO | No Comments
This South-South study visit with His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, the 4th President of Tanzania and Maternal & Newborn Health Advocate has allowed countries with similar challenges and low resource settings to share innovative approaches to maternal health solutions and learn from each other.
While Tanzania made significant gains and achieved its targets for child survival (MDG 4) during H.E. Kikwete’s Presidency, maternal and newborn health outcomes were lagging behind. On retiring from Presidency, Dr. Jakaya Kikwete established a Foundation and announced his ongoing commitment, “It is unfinished business. Pregnancy is not a disease, a woman should not die simply for giving a life to another being. It should be a cause for celebration not grief. In Tanzania, maternal and newborn survival is off track.”

Witnessing one of the regular training sessions conducted with health care workers to ensure quality of care for mother and baby

Looking for successful interventions in low resource settings to bring back to Tanzania and the continent of Africa at large, President Kikwete learned about an initiative in India that was increasing the number of pregnant women giving birth in health facilities, increasing staff moral and applying simple solutions to achieve quality healthcare services. All of which are matters of concern back home in Tanzania that are resulting in high maternal and newborn mortalities.
The introduction of a simple check list in Rajasthan’s health facilities has succeeded in empowering health workers, creating an enabling environment for them to perform their duties; it has also prioritized and standardized approaches for life-saving practices at the point of use. Perhaps equally impressive was the government’s commitment in providing a financial incentive that each pregnant woman received when delivering their newborn in the health facility under the eye of a qualified birth attendant.

Improved facilities, equipment and training has increased staff moral.

 

We visited peri urban centres, villages and schools where community outreach workers monitor pregnant women and their children. An ASHA that stands for ‘Accredited Social Health Activist’ has received training at the community level to share information and encourage pregnant women to seek regular hospital check ups and plan to give birth in a health facility under the supervision of qualified nurse-midwife.

An ASHA showing us her community and taking us to the health facility where one of her pregnant ladies has just given birth to a healthy baby

 

The ASHAs also receive a financial reward every time they bring a pregnant woman to a health facility to give birth. All activities are recorded through the State database and each ASHA receives an SMS and payment once a month for their work.

 

Rajasthan has demonstrated a pragmatic approach to solving what was an overwhelming challenge from within rather than aspiring to western solutions that are not always appropriate or achievable. The staff have figured out a way of stripping the problem down and piecing it back together bit by bit to build an infrastructure that ensures quality of care for the pregnant woman. There was a strong interplay between the government and health partners. They have a collective goal with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
Rebecca Young stated, “The takeaway if you will, from our study visit was that all the interventions we witnessed were simple, were locally owned and financially sustainable. While there are not enough midwives, Rajasthan has demonstrated how they have compensated for this staffing gap by ensuring that the healthcare workers that are in the health facilities are equipped to fullfil the continuum of care a pregnant woman needs and empower more agents of change and community workers to disseminate life saving messages at the household level. These simple solutions are driving down deaths and improving the quality and service a pregnant women can expect in government hospitals. Poorly equipped staff are a thing of the past here in Rajasthan as are maternal deaths in the health facilities.
Our thanks extend to The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, The Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Ghandi, The Hon’ble Minister of Health in the Government of Rajasthan, Shree Kali Charan Saraf, Country Director for Jhipego and every single health practitioner who is putting a stop to unnecessary maternal and newborn deaths.