Milele Zanzibar Foundation’s Health interventions have focused on improved access to quality healthcare services to decrease infant and maternal mortality rates. With nearly 80 health facilities, the health sector in Zanzibar has significantly reduced the distance to healthcare to 5km for the average Zanzibari. Despite the increase in access, Zanzibar is struggling to reduce preventable deaths including infant and maternal mortality at 46/1000 and 310/100,000 deaths respectively (ref). Among the factors contributing to poor healthcare of women and children are delays in seeking ante-natal care due to low awareness on the one hand and delays in acquiring proper care and delivery services due to poorly maintained clinics - with little to no essential equipment, medicine, and well trained, qualified professionals, on the other.
Mother’s Health Is Nation’s Progress (Afya Ya Mama Ni Maendeleo Kwa Taifa) Milele Zanzibar Foundation’s initial strategy to tackle health issues in Zanzibar, specifically targeting maternal health, is to focus on developing the structures so mothers are able to access well built, well equipped quality healthcare facilities. In close cooperation with the Ministry of Health, the ‘’Afya ya Mama Ni Maendeleo kwa Jamii’’ project is finalizing the construction or renovation of 27 public health care facilities located primarily in rural areas of Unguja and Pemba. Eight clinics located in both rural and semi-urban, densely populated areas in Unguja and Pemba, are now equipped with a dispensary block including delivery ward, public toilets, staff housing and accessing to clean water. Thousands of community members, especially pregnant women and children under-five, are enjoying access to safe, clean and hygienic facilities in their villages.
Promoting Rural Healthcare
The Champions in Health program supports availability and interest in rural based healthcare delivery. The program provides scholarships to needy but well performing students who come from rural areas of Zanzibar who attend the College of Health Sciences Zanzibar, with a promise of returning to their villages(or any rural placement) to work for 2 years. These scholarships along with a professional development, mentorship and volunteer program have increased interest and motivation of students to improve rural health outcomes and to become committed to work in the rural health sector.
Jacha and Mulhat pictured here will soon graduate and return to Pemba where they have already had success leading health education in villages around Cholera, contaminated water, diseases in children under 5 and high blood pressure. 47 Champions in Health have volunteered in the rural setting and public clinics in 2016.