ECSA-HC Honors Ministries of Health of Kenya and Tanzania for their efforts on promoting Respectful Maternity Care
20th May 2017 Geneva, Switzerland: The East Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) together with University Research Company LLC (URC) organized a reception at Crown Plaza Hotel, in Geneva in honor of the Kenya and Tanzania Health Ministries. The honor is due to the two countries efforts in promoting respectful maternity care (RMC). The RMC encompasses deliberate efforts made to ensure there is quality maternal and newborn care reflected in both the provision of care and the experience by women during care (how women are treated). This is because both service delivery and client satisfaction are critical components of quality that influence service utilization, and ultimately maternal and child health outcomes.
Recent documented evidence generated through the USAID/Translating Results into Action (TRAction) implementation research project in Kenya and Tanzania had indicated widespread prevalence of disrespectful and abusive care as women receive maternity care at health facilities. The TRAction implementation research findings plus other studies in upper and middle income countries led to the development and issuance by the World Health Organization (WHO) a statement and research agenda on RMC in 2014. The WHO statement, “Every Woman has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to dignified, respectful health care”, guides various stakeholders on how to promote RMC.
In an effort to curtail the mistreatment of women during maternity care, the Ministries of Health Tanzania and Kenya have been working together with partners to develop and implement strategies for promoting the RMC. The results from these efforts are beginning to bear fruits. Dr. Jackson Kioko, the Director of Medical Services at Ministry of Health representing Cabinet Secretary (Minister) of Health Kenya said, “RMC interventions has contributed to an increase in utilization of maternity care in Kenya, there has been 100% increase in health facility delivery from 500,000 to 1,000,000 in the last two years”. He said they are confident that there has also been a decrease in the prevalence of disrespect and abuse during service delivery from a baseline of 20%. He thanked ECSA-HC and URC for noticing their efforts and encouraged other countries to put efforts geared towards promoting RMC.
The Minister for Health in Tanzania, Hon. Ummy Mwalimu, while accepting the honor indicated that RMC is something dear to her, saying the issue of maternity care is top in her agenda. She reiterated that as a ministry they will continue to focus on maternal and child health services. She applauded ECSA-HC Secretariat and partners for their support to Tanzania and other ECSA-HC member states in effort to improve the health of the people in the region.
The reception was organized as a side-meeting at the 64th ECSA-HC Health Ministers Conference that was taking Place in Geneva. The reception was attended by the Senior Ministry of Health Officials from ECSA-HC member states, WHO and URC among others.