Improving Women’s Reproductive Health

Global inequities in human health are widespread and unequal access to reproductive health service is an immense problem which especially affects poor women who are living in underprivileged societies. Hence, 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries and sexual and reproductive health conditions account for nearly two-thirds of disability-adjusted life years lost among women of reproductive age in Sub-Saharan Africa, compared with about one-third worldwide. Additionally, many low income countries are also facing problems with weak health systems as well as societal, gender-based and environmental barriers to health.

Hence impoverished women suffer disproportionately from maternal death, maternal morbidity and other problems related to their reproductive system. It is increasingly acknowledged that if only local doctors had the advantage of learning clinical and surgical skills and how to apply them in their own settings countless lives could be saved and quality of life improved. This does also apply for Tanzania where skills of human resources has emerged as perhaps the single most important barrier to achieving  universal access to reproductive health service.

Against this background, a strategic collaborative project has been established between the obstetrical and gynaecological departments at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMCentre), Tanzania and Odense University Hospital (OUH), Denmark with the overall aim to improve Tanzanian women’s reproductive health. This will be achieved through advancement of clinical and research skills among obstetricians and gynaecologists working at KCMC within selected focus areas.

The Women’s Reproductive Health (WORTH) project is focusing on three common reproductive health problems among Tanzanian women: Quality emergency obstetric and neonatal care (EmONC), Pelvic floor disorders and Cervical cancer. The mentioned problems share in common that they have i) a significant negative impact on women’s health ii) there is a documented need of upgrading skills of health workers to handle these health problems and iii) high expertise in diagnosing and treating these health problems are available at OUH. The project is additionally giving priority to enhancing research capacity within reproductive health through a joint collaboration between KCMCollege and University of Southern Denmark (SDU). Both KCMCollege and SDU are believed to benefit from the research activities, which will help attune health professionals in both countries to better address the health challenges which globalisation brings around.