Assessment of Availability, Utilization and Quality of Emergency Obstetric Care in 2014 at Hai District, Northern Tanzania

Rahma Muhammad Bakari, Damian Jeremia Damian, Patricia Swai, Ahmad Mohamed Makuwani, Michael Johnson Mahande, Sia Emmanueli Msuya
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Background: Availability of emergency obstetric and newborn care (EmOC) is one of interventions to reduce maternal and newborn deaths. Maternal and newborn mortality is a public health problem in most developing countries including Tanzania. In these settings, coverage of EmOC is low especially in rural areas, with limited information on availability and use of EmOC services. Objectives: To assess the availability, utilization and quality of emergency obstetric care in Hai district, located at Kilimanjaro region, northern Tanzania.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 12 health facilities (2 hospitals and 10 primary health care facilities) which provide delivery services in the district was conducted in May- June 2014. Modified AMDD data collection tool was used and it assessed availability of services, supplies and equipments, infrastructure and actual performance of EmOC within the past 3 months prior to the interview. Proportions were used to summarize the data.

Results: The two comprehensive EmOC facilities (CEmOC) could provide all the nine required signal functions while none of the basic EmOC facilities (BEmOC) could provide the seven required signal functions. For a population of 214,454 in the district, the total number of health facilities designated to provide EmOC services exceeded the minimum required number which was 1 for CEmOC and 2 BEmOC. The proportion of births taking place in facilities was 65.3% and the met need for emergency obstetric complications was 94.5%. Population based caesarean section rate and the still birth rate were 7.4% and 1.3% respectively.

Conclusion: BEmOC facilities, which are the first level of care for majority of women and newborns with complications, need to be strengthened to offer the required medical and surgical interventions to save lives. There is a need to scale-up training of health providers especially at the lower level (dispensaries and health centres) in EmOC as well as to strength supply chain system in order to contribute in attaining the national BEmOC coverage of 70% by December 2015.