Pregnant Women in Katoro Health center smile through Antenatal visits

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Katoro Geita

Just a little over one year ago, if you walked into the Katoro Health Center you would have been welcomed by long lines of expectant mothers awaiting service, sadness, and worry written all over their faces. The facility was staffed with very few health care workers to adequately serve the growing number of patients especially in the reproductive and child health department.

However, this is not news in Tanzania where there are fewer health care workers than needed and Katoro Health Centre is no exception.

This being the case most women chose not to attend the antenatal appointments because it felt like a waste of time. This in turn made them face complications during delivery which led to a higher mortality rate of women and children.

“Our health center was understaffed for a long time especially in the reproductive and child health department. As part of their journey, pregnant women are supposed to attend Antenatal Care appointments according to advice from health experts but due to the understaffing issue, many women who came here spent long hours in the queues waiting for service. This disappointed them and most chose not to come back for the rest of their appointments. When word spread among them some didn’t show up for any appointment until when they were due for delivery. 

Due to these missed appointments, most women who came for delivery here faced complications; this was a big challenge to us. Most of the time we had to refer them to the regional hospital” said Dr. Sungura who is the Medical Officer In charge of the Katoro Health Centre.

After seeing this challenge, the health center together with CHMT and a team from USAID's Afya Endelevu Activity decided to analyze the situation and come up with an actionable solution.

“After these assessments, it was found that the number of staff that we had here was not enough to serve the number of pregnant women who come to receive their health care services here. Therefore, USAID allocated three health care workers including one Clinical Assistant and two nurses. This has been a significant addition to us and has helped expectant mothers as well as those who are due for delivery.” Said Dr. Sungura.

“Since the allocation of these new staff so much has changed including the number of women that come here for Antenatal visits. Now we see more and more women attending their appointments and most of them are happy with the service that they receive. It is still not ideal but at least these women don’t spend as many hours as they used to and the number of complications during delivery has significantly dropped along with the referrals” Dr. Sungura added.

The allocation of these new staff didn’t just put a smile on the faces of pregnant women, staff at Katoro Health Centre are also happy about the new additions. 

Janeth Moshi who is the Registered Nurse in Charge of Katoro Health Centre says her worst challenge was how best to organize a working roster for the few numbers of available health workers. The arrival of the two clinical officers and one medical officer to a great extent eased workload and intensified motivation with subsequent improvement in reproductive maternal and child care services.

Now that managing the roster is easier the health center has managed to arrange specific days for ANC visits for expectant mothers by grouping them. 

According to Nurse Moshi, now they have specific days in a week for the first-time expectant mothers, those coming in for the second time or follow up appointments and for those who are approaching their due dates for delivery. This has helped reduce the workload and plan accordingly knowing the days that will have many clients and those with few.

“Compared to when I was having my first child almost three years ago now the services are much better. I remember coming here at 7 in the morning and leaving around 3 or 4 in the evening, it was both tiring and disappointing. But now it is improved, I came here around 7 and by 12 noon everything is done, I’m really happy because I no longer worry about coming here and going back home late considering that where I come from is not close to the health center.” Said Meresiana Ngeleja who is one of the expectant mothers receiving service at Katoro Health Centre.

Dr. Sungura reiterates the need for more staff deployment where the opportunity arises for much more service improvement. However, he appreciates the USAID Afya Endelevu Activity project that has played a crucial role in service improvement for Katoro Health Centre now with a reputation as a reliable and safe health center.

Last updated: November 10, 2022

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