Guest post by Dr. Brenda D’Mello, Technical Lead for CCBRT’s Maternal Health Efforts
Expectant mothers and newborns can’t wait. We need PPE to keep our staff and patients safe.
My colleagues and I are on the frontlines of maternal and newborn healthcare services in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania delivering services in Dar es Salaam to over 10,000 people every month. Our maternal newborn and child health team trains midwives, performs deliveries, and welcomes over 80,000 newborn babies into the world every year. Work in Dar es Salaam has always been challenged by shortages in staff, supplies, equipment and, in this large vibrant city, substantial overcrowding. In the context of Covid-19, this work has become even more challenging. While some non-essential services can be scaled back in the face of a pandemic, childbirth and related life threatening emergencies are on their own timeline that cannot wait for the situation to improve.
As the healthcare system adapts to these unprecedented times, one of CCBRT’s partner facilities, the busiest maternal and newborn healthcare facility in this region, was forced to pivot to become a Covid-19 treatment center. This funnelled demand for maternal and newborn healthcare services to smaller downstream facilities, stretching the capacity and making distancing between patients and staff impossible. Additionally, shortages of protective equipment and supply chain gaps caused by the global lockdown have severely stretched an already fragile health system.
CCBRTs response to the COVID 19 pandemic recognizes how critical a healthy workforce is for continued service delivery. We prioritize quality care for pregnant women before, during and after labor, ensure babies are still delivered safely and that our patients and staff are protected through this pandemic.
Urgent help is needed to keep our colleagues and patients safe as we deliver essential services across the Dar es Salaam region. A donation of $30 will equip one midwife with the necessary PPE to perform a safe delivery. $10 will equip a mother and her baby with masks. As we grapple with the change in practice, a small recurring donation will help my team and I at CCBRT ensure the safety of healthcare workers and the continuity of maternal and newborn services through this new season.