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Tanzania: A healthy start in life

SolidarMed’s activities improve the survival chances of newborns.

In Tanzania, too many newborn babies die from preventable causes, particularly in remote, rural areas. Half of the 45,000 neonatal deaths every year occur within 24 hours of birth. A crucial factor is insufficient care for premature babies and those with low birth weight. Tanzania’s national health plan therefore aims to massively reduce the number of deaths by 2025. Through this project, SolidarMed is playing an important part in achieving that goal.

Key Facts

  • Project Goal

    To improve the survival chances of vulnerable newborns.

  • Target groups

    Newborns and their mothers and families. Healthcare workers in the Morogoro region.

  • Milestones

    Purchasing equipment for neonatal units at 3 hospitals.

  • Methods

    Expanding hospital infrastructure, training and mentoring healthcare workers, putting in place quality teams to ensure continuous improvement, raising public awareness in communities

Key Facts



Karte Afrika

A safe and positive start in life

By expanding existing neonatal wards and building new ones at three hospitals in the Morogoro region, SolidarMed ensures that the necessary infrastructure and instruments are available to provide adequate care to newborns. Healthcare workers are trained to deliver professional support and care to premature babies and newborns with low birth weight, and professionals are encouraged to engage in knowledge sharing

Mothers and their babies attend information events run by community health workers. 

Kangaroo Mother Care has proven an effective way of increasing the survival chances of babies born prematurely.

Community health workers talk to adolescents and young mothers about sexual and reproductive health and explain the possibilities and benefits of giving birth in a healthcare facility.

There is a lack of healthcare facilities with neonatal wards in the Morogoro region. The newborn care delivered at Lugala Hospital, which has specialised equipment provided by SolidarMed and trained staff, is currently an isolated case.

SolidarMed trains nurses in outpatient obstetric emergency care and promotes active knowledge sharing.

Ensuring the survival of premature babies

Kangaroo Mother Care involves mothers having skin-to-skin contact with their newborn to prevent the baby’s body temperature dropping. Early breastfeeding also prevents infections and boosts the immune system. Kangaroo Mother Care reduces the risk of health complications and the risk of death for babies with low birth weight and those born prematurely. SolidarMed demonstrated the effectiveness of Kangaroo Mother Care in a pilot project between 2018 and 2021. Information pamphlets for mothers were developed with the ministry of health. The method is now being rolled out in other hospitals. 

From pilot project to national recipe for success

Between 2018 and 2021, SolidarMed conducted a pilot project to improve the health of newborns at Lugala Hospital. The project delivered insights on the optimal promotion of newborn health and highlighted some impressive improvements. Building on these findings, the measures are to be rolled out to three state-run hospitals in the Morogoro region over the next three years. They are also to be shared with health institutions and authorities to support a scaling-up of the measures. In this way, SolidarMed is helping to reduce the newborn mortality rate well beyond the catchment area of its own projects.

Knowledge transfer in communities

The density of healthcare facilities in rural Tanzania is low. To ensure that rural communities can access medical care and the benefits of modern medicine, community health workers are educated on supporting and caring for newborns. These lay volunteers are accepted members of the community and help both share knowledge and dispel prejudice around visiting health facilities.


Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

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Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung (EKFS)

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SolidarMed is working in the Morogoro region to provide over a million people with access to better medical care.