Maternal mortality in urban and rural Tanzania: Social determinants and health system efficiency

Policy brief State

  • Maternal mortality rates (MMRs) in Tanzania have remained stubbornly high over the last decade, at around 500 per 100,000 live births.
  • Previous research indicates unequal burden of MMRs and large variations across regions.
  • This brief uses the 2015/16 Tanzania Demographic Health Survey (TDHS) and 2012 National Census to provide an overview of MMRs.
  • The brief also analyses the supply of maternal health services across stages of pregnancy (from seeking care to delivery) to understand where bottlenecks and delays emerge and their causes.
  • The authors find multiple factors behind the regional variances in service delivery, including the quality of service and other factors such as marital status during pregnancy.
  • The authors outline four recommendations for policymakers and suggest that reducing the delays in mothers receiving treatment is key to reducing MMRs.