November 8, 2005
Tanzania: Pew Bulletin Story September 2004
Before 2003, the community of Uhambingeto, Tanzania, had no access to a health facility. Women and girls had to walk 30 kilometres to fetch water. In partnership with the Diocese of Ruaha’s Integrated Health Program, PWRDF funded construction of the Uhambingeto Community Health Centre completed in 2003. PWRDF also funded a gravity water supply system with two storage tanks that minimizes time spent collecting water.
The Uhambingeto Integrated Health Program approaches poverty from a health perspective, so it deals with a variety of health issues that foster poverty. Through the health centre, people receive training in sanitation, how to improve their crops, food security and nutrition, and how to prevent disease. Loans are available to invest in their businesses so as to increase productivity.
The Health Centre is now fully operational. There are four rooms with a total of eight beds for patients being treated for malaria or other minor illnesses that require hospitalization. The centre has two delivery rooms, a community seminar room, a counseling room for HIV/AIDS patients and reproductive health, a staff house, and a daycare centre for 124 children. An adjacent garden serves as a training ground for teaching farmers how to grow fruits and vegetables, and teaching women how to use vegetables and fruits to improve their diets. The new health centre already has an outpost a few kilometers away to provide assistance to populations that are relatively distant from Uhambingeto.
The health centre has made a difference in food security and improved health conditions. 580 women have been part of programs on nutrition for nursing and pregnant mothers. Since the start of the nutrition course, there has been an 80% reduction of water-borne diseases. In 2003, the maternal mortality rate was reduced to 0% from 57% in 1999. and the infant mortality rate was reduced to 1%. In 2003, only 1 child died in 87 deliveries.
2000 people have attended HIV/AIDS preventive classes at the health centre. 857 families have been provided with revolving loan funds. More girls are attending school because they only spend 30 minutes fetching water instead of 10 hours.