Family planning and Maternal and Child Health (FP-MCH) are key
components of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, given their central
role in healthy and productive populations. Tanzania has made some
progress in these areas in recent years - for example, mortality rates
among infants and children under five have declined. However, Tanzania
has lagged in maternal health, with the UN MDG Monitor declaring that
the country’s goal of reducing the maternal mortality ratio and
increasing access to reproductive health is “off track”.
The 2010 AudienceScapes survey of Tanzania included a module to measure people's access to
information in general, and access to health information in particular,
as well as access to health services. The data yield some helpful
guidelines for public health professionals seeking to educate the
Tanzanian public about FP-MCH:
- Mass media, particularly radio, continues to play an important role
in delivering FP-MCH information to vulnerable groups. Community
word-of-mouth campaigns delivered by public health workers have the
potential to be just as important, particularly among socioeconomically
constrained populations with low levels of access to media outlets.
- A large proportion of Tanzanians across the country said they have
access to clinics and medical doctors. However, only between a quarter
and a third of respondents listed medical doctors as sources of
information about FP-MCH.
- There is a clear demand for more information about FP-MCH. Over half
of all respondents, including young women, said they would like more
information about FP and 41 percent wanted further information on MCH.
- Health professionals must be aware of not only what are the key
information gathering tools for general target groups like young women
and men, but they also need to be aware of the limited reach of some
media platforms among disadvantaged sub-groups.