One of the reasons we love to sponsor young women in Tanzania is because when they graduate not only are they registered nurses but also registered midwives. Tanzania has a population of nearly 49 million, many of whom live in rural areas away from facilities with trained staff capable of providing prenatal and birthing support for women. Only half of the women who give birth in Tanzania each year are attended by a skilled birth attendant. According to 2013 World Bank statistics, 410 women die per 100,000 live births in Tanzania from complications related to childbirth. In comparison, the US rate of maternal deaths is 28 per 100,000 live births.The main causes of maternal death are hemorrhage, infection, hypertension, obstructed labor and unsafe abortions. Many of these deaths could be prevented with proper care.
Although progress is being made to reduce maternal mortality, Tanzania (like many sub-Saharan countries) will not meet the 2015 Millennial Development Goal 5: reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015. Additional healthcare workers are needed in order to support continued decline in maternal mortality rates.