On 15 May 2014, the Government of Tanzania launched a major national drive to end maternal and child deaths in Dar Es Salaam. As part of the global “Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed” movement, the President of the Republic of Tanzania, His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, unveiled a sharpened plan to reduce under-5 mortality in the country.
During the launch, a Countdown 2015 country analysis was also presented, outlining key areas of progress in reducing child and maternal mortality, priorities for future action and challenges needing attention. The launch also featured the launch of a scorecard to track national progress on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH), a key priority for President Kikwete.
President Kikwete called for action from across society to ‘renew the promise’, calling especially for greater accountability. President Kikwete stressed the importance of improving nutrition and focusing resources and programming on the first 1000 days of a child’s life.
Following the event in Dar Es Salaam, President Kikwete attended a high-level summit on maternal, newborn, and child health, held in Toronto from 28 – 30 May 2014 and hosted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada. Both events provided a platform to highlight Tanzania’s priorities for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH), and set the scene to ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths by 2035.
Tanzania has achieved impressive progress around child survival, and has already met the MDG 4 goal of reducing its under-5 mortality rate by two thirds. However, progress in maternal and newborn survival continue to lag behind, and Tanzania is currently not on target to reach MDG 5a (reducing maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters) and MDG 5b (achieving universal access to reproductive health).