Welcome to Maternity Africa

Making Childbirth Safe

Changing Lives

Too many women die in childbirth every day. Find out how you can join Maternity Africa in making childbirth a safe and joyous experience for poor mothers and families in Tanzania.

Make an Impact

Providing free maternal care to our clients is vital to accomplishing our mission. Will you join us?

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About Maternity Africa

Maternity Africa is a Christian-based not-for-profit organization that endeavours to provide fistula treatment and quality maternity care for all marginalized women throughout Tanzania.  We do this through clinical excellence and in the example of displaying love, kindness and compassion regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.

Maternity Africa currently operates from its base at Kivulini Maternity Centre outside the city of Arusha in Northern Tanzania.  In late 2025 it plans to open a second maternal healthcare centre around 50km from the city of Dodoma, reaching even more underserved women with life-saving maternal healthcare services.


Maternity Africa's annual service delivery targets are:

Up to 4,000 deliveries

Up to 16,000 antenatal visits

Up to 230 fistula and other birth-induced injury surgeries

Up to 2,500 family planning consultations (for external clients)

Practical skills development for up to 60 external birth attendants

Up to 5,000 young people educated in sexual and reproductive health and rights

Problems facing pregnant women in developing countries

In Sub-Saharan Africa, over 200,000 women die each year during pregnancy and childbirth.  This is because they do not have access to safe maternal health care.  Death is not the only risk that women face.  Many are left with permanent injuries, all because they wanted to have a family.

Maternity Africa provides access to good, evidence-based maternal healthcare before, during and after childbirth.  This saves lives and reduces the risk of injury.

Where do maternal deaths occur?

The high number of maternal deaths in some countries reflects unequal access to health services.  It also highlights the gap between rich and poor.  Almost all maternal deaths (99%) occur in Low Income Countries.  Most of the deaths (83%) occur in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in developing countries in 2015 averaged 239 deaths per 100,000 live births.  This compares to an MMR  of 12 in developed countries.  There are also large disparities: between countries, between women with high or low income, and between women living in rural or urban areas.

In Tanzania, where Maternity Africa is based, the MMR in 2018 was 556 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The risk of maternal mortality is highest for girls under 15 years. Complications in pregnancy and childbirth are leading causes of death among adolescent girls in developing countries (2), (3).

Women in developing countries have, on average, many more pregnancies than women in developed countries. Therefore, their lifetime risk of death due to pregnancy is higher. The probability that a 15 year old woman, will eventually die from a maternal cause is 1 in 4,900 in developed countries compared to 1 in 180 in developing countries. In countries designated as fragile states, the risk is 1 in 54, showing the consequences of breakdowns in health systems.

You can read more about maternal mortality here.


Why do women die during pregnancy and childbirth?

Women die as a result of complications during and following pregnancy and childbirth.  Most of these complications develop during pregnancy and most are preventable or treatable.  Other complications may exist before pregnancy but are worsened during pregnancy, especially if not managed as part of the woman’s care.  The complications that account for nearly 75% of all maternal deaths are):

  • severe bleeding (especially after childbirth);

  • infections (usually after childbirth);

  • high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia and eclampsia);

  • complications from delivery; and

  • unsafe abortion.

The remainder are caused by or associated with diseases such as malaria, and AIDS during pregnancy.

You can read more about why women die in pregnancy and childbirth here.


Why do women not get the care they need?

Poor women in remote areas are the least likely to receive adequate health care.  This is especially true for regions with low numbers of skilled health workers, such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.  In 2015, 89% of births in the richest 20 per cent of households were attended by skilled health professionals.  In the poorest 20 per cent of households only 43% were attended.  This means that millions of births are not assisted by a midwife, a doctor or a trained nurse.

In high-income countries, almost all women have at least four antenatal care visits.  In addition, they are attended by a skilled health worker during childbirth, and receive postpartum care.  In 2015, only 40% of all pregnant women in low-income countries had the recommended antenatal care visits.

Reasons why it is challenging to access good, evidence-based maternal health care include because women are often:

  • Relatively far from other maternal healthcare providers;
  • Located in rural communities or areas of high urban deprivation where transport infrastructure is poor, expensive and logistically challenging (comprising travelling on foot, by pillion motorcycle rides, using several public minibus journeys or expensive taxis);
  • Otherwise served only by poor quality, unprofessional maternal healthcare;
  • Economically impoverished;
  • Have large families (some already with up to eight or more children), who require their time and attention;
  • Affected by other social constraints, such as fear of stigma and low standards of education;
  • Live in areas that are subject to poor healthcare governance and accountability mechanisms; and / or
  • Potentially otherwise at higher risk of maternal death, or major birth-acquired injury such as obstetric fistula.

Through its base at Kivulini Maternity Centre, Maternity Africa is located specifically to serve such vulnerable and marginalized women.


How can women’s lives be saved?

Most maternal deaths are preventable.  The maternal health care solutions to prevent or manage complications are quite straightforward.

All women need access to professional antenatal care in pregnancy, skilled care during childbirth, and care and support in the weeks after childbirth.

Maternal health and newborn health are closely linked.  Globally, an estimated 2.7 million babies die in the neonatal period annually, and of these, about 0.7 million die from intrapartum-related events. In Tanzania, where Maternity Africa is located, estimates suggest that 51,000 newborn deaths and 43,000 stillbirths occur every year.  Approximately two-thirds of these deaths could be potentially prevented with improvements in intrapartum and neonatal care.  Routine measurement of fetal intrapartum deaths and newborn deaths that occur in health facilities can help to evaluate efforts to improve the quality of intrapartum care to save lives.  You can read more about perinatal deaths in Tanzania here.

It is therefore particularly important that all births are attended by skilled health professionals.  This is because timely management and treatment can make the difference between life and death for both mother and baby.

Severe bleeding after birth can kill a healthy woman within hours if she is not attended by a professional health worker. Medication given immediately after childbirth effectively reduces the risk of bleeding.

Infection can be eliminated if good hygiene is practiced and if early signs of infection are recognized and treated.

Pre-eclampsia can be detected and managed with medication before the onset of eclampsia (convulsions and other life-threatening complications).

To avoid maternal deaths, all women, including adolescents, need education and access to family planning and prenatal, childbirth and postnatal care from professional healthcare workers.  Maternity Africa provides such care.

Sustainable development goals for maternal health

Sustainable Development Goal 3 aims, by 2030 to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030.  It also aims to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.  You can read more about Sustainable Development Goal 3 here.

Sustainable Development Goal 5 aims to  ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.  You can read more about Sustainable Development Goal 5 here.

Through its work, Maternity Africa seeks to contribute to the achievement of these goals.


The percentage of women in Tanzania who give birth at home without the assistance of a trained health professional (Tanzania DHS 2016).

The average number of women globally who die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of these deaths occur developing countries (World Health Organization 2014, 2019).

MILLION. The number of women of reproductive age in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy are not using a modern contraceptive method. The number of maternal deaths would be reduced significantly through family planning and quality maternal and child health care (World Health Organization 2018).

For every woman who dies, 20 or 30 encounter injuries, infections or disabilities. Most of these deaths and injuries are entirely preventable. Obstetric fistula is one of the most devastating injuries (United Nations Population Fund, 2016).

What Maternity Africa does

Maternity Africa provides a range of maternal healthcare services, including comprehensive family planning, for vulnerable and marginalized women and girls of childbearing age. 

Maternal healthcare services include antenatal care, intrapartum care (including 24-hour Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care – CEmONC), and postnatal care.

Maternity Africa also offers surgical treatment for obstetric fistula and other birth-induced injuries.  It does this predominantly by way of fistula ‘camps’ – usually four a year.  Each camp is preceded by outreach trips, usually into remote regions of Tanzania, in search of women who suffer from these conditions, and who could benefit from surgery.  They are then transported to Kivulini Maternity Centre, Maternity Africa’s 56-bed hospital outside the city of Arusha.

All of Maternity Africa’s services are provided free of charge, so that no one is excluded.

Maternity Africa enjoys very strong partnering relationships with other organizations that serve similar beneficiary groups.  This extends the depth and reach of Maternity Africa’s services, making them available to those people who need them the most.

Maternity Africa originally registered in Tanzania on 6 September 2013 under the Companies Act, 2002 as a Company Limited by Guarantee, with Registration Number 102204.  On 27 August 2019, Maternity Africa registered in Tanzania as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) under the Non-Governmental Organization Act, 2002, with registration number 000NGO/R2/000524.

Obstetric Fistula Surgery


Family Planning

Educating and Equipping

Antenatal Care

Assessing and Addressing

Labour and Delivery

Celebrating Life


2023 Report

2023 Report

Today, International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, Maternity Africa is delighted to publish its 2023 Annual Report (narrative version). With immense gratitude to all of our generous donors and wonderful staff. Thank you all so much.

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Kivulini Maternity Centre

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PO Box 16464

Arusha, Tanzania


YouTube: Kivulini Maternity Centre

Maternity department:

+255 685 308 321


YouTube: Kivulini Maternity Centre

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