Contribution of MEWATA on Women’s Health and Development in Tanzania
For over 23 years, the Medical Women Association of Tanzania has been concentrating in improving the health of women and children of Tanzania in line with its vision and mission as stipulated in its previous strategic plan (2006-2008). MEWATA recognizes the vulnerability of women in developing both health wise and economically and as a women professional association, it has a major role to play so as to rescue the current situation.
As a professional association, MEWATA initiatives contribute to national and international development agenda including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Tanzania Development Vision 2025 and MKUKUTA among others with main focus to women and children.
MEWATA initiatives in support of women health
The contribution of MEWATA in strengthening women’s health is mainly rooted in six thematic areas namely; Reproductive health cancers, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Human Resource for Health, Gender Based Violence, Family Planning and Medical Ethics.
Reproductive health cancers
or the past four years, MEWATA in collaboration with its partners have been conducting mass campaigns for BCE and BSE; this initiative enabled MEWATA perform breast cancers screening to over 60,000 women in 7 regions of Tanzania.
The Breast Cancer Campaign also facilitated availability of mammography machines in 7 hospitals;
On top of the campaign, MEWATA has been conducting intensive public education using IEC materials and the power of media,
The other initiative is cervical cancer screening during the campaigns; this was done in partnership with ORCI in Manyara and Dodoma regions.
Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
With support of UN Joint Programme – 2, MEWATA has conducted a number of activities including;
Compilation of inventory and review of policies and regulations affecting Maternal, Newborn and Child Health service delivery,
Training of 30 participants from health professional associations including TAMA, AGOTA, TANNA, TDA, WD, TAWLA, TAMWA, PAT and other allies in Advocacy skills for MNCH.
Human Resource for Health
Skills training in clinical breast examination and radiological examinations,
Training to 28 Medical Doctors and AMOs on basics pathological and clinical conditions of Breast and Cervical cancer,
Motivation to secondary school students to join science subjects - girls sensitized to join medical profession in their career ladder,
Capacity building in advocacy among medical professionals.
Gender Based Violence
Participated in the commemoration of 16 Days of activism against gender violence and conducted campaign on gender based violence awareness in Tarime district.
Created awareness among women, health workers and the community at large on the common health effects of intimate partner violence
MEWATA has been advocating for the concept of Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy (HTSP).
With support of Facility for Ethics Accountability and Transparency (FEAT), MEWATA conducted a study on Unethical Practices and Professional Misconduct in Medical Practices. The study took place in Mtwara and Dar es Salaam regions. Some of the key findings indicate that;
On top of the above activities, MEWATA has been engaging itself in long term and sustainable initiatives to improve women’s health. One of these endevours is the establishment of a “Well Women Clinic”. The association has already secured a plot for construction of the clinic and acknowledges the support from Hayao Nakayama through MEWATA’s patron, Hon. Mama Salma Kikwete.
Some of the services that MEWATA intends to offer at the clinic include among other things;
The key secret to MEWATA successes is rooted in none other than team work spirit, dedication, commitment, active involvement of our young doctors, strong sense of ownership of the association to members, transparency and on top of all is the spirit of Volunteerism that drives of members in the association.
Breast Cancer Walk October 2006
Collaborating with Lions Club DSM Central and Tanzania Breast Cancer Support Group to raise funds through charity walk for procuring mammography machine which was donated to Temeke District Hospital on 27th October 2007.
Rapid Assessment for Communication Package Development
The rapid assessment was necessary and it aimed at investigating the reasons for low turn up of women who were detected with breast anomalies for subsequent management of their problems. The assessment also aimed at looking into ways of involving the community members and leaders in identifying best ways of communicating on issues around breast cancer screening and management of breast anomalies. The assessment was conducted in three sites in Mbeya Region: Ileje, Mbozi and Tukuyu.
Barclays Charity Walk
The Barclays Bank organized charity walk to assist MEWATA in fundraising. The target was to raise 15 million.
Well Woman Clinic
We have received grant from Japan through Wanawake na Maendeleo Foundation (WAMA) for construction of a Well Woman Clinic. We have already secured the plot for construction at Mbweni JKT in Dar es salaam. Construction will start soon.
Participated in National HIV testing Campaign through MEWATA members.
MEWATA Chairperson appointed as member of Tanzania Steering Committee by the Minister of Health and Social Welfare
MEWATA participated in various forums aimed at improving maternal health in Tanzania. MEWATA is also using Road Map towards improved maternal health inTanzania as a reference document.