Quality Improvement for Maternal and Newborn Health in Mtwara Region, Tanzania (IMCHA)

This project will provide evidence for how systems-wide quality improvements can enhance maternal and newborn health outcomes at the district, health facility, and community levels in Tanzania.

Healthy women, healthy babies
Maternal and newborn health outcomes in southern Tanzania's Mtwara region are poor despite 70% of births occurring at health facilities. Recent research in the region found that maternal and newborn mortality rates were similar when comparing home births with health facility births. This suggests a clear need for improved quality of skilled care in health facilities.

Another issue is poor health-seeking behaviours among women. Combined with weaknesses in the health system, these factors limit the use of high quality interventions that have been proven to reduce maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.

Strategies to improve quality
The Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania's Ministry of Health, and Canada's SickKids Centre for Global Health have tested and applied quality improvement strategies for mothers and newborns across six districts in southern Tanzania. This project will explore if these strategies can be scaled up and integrated into district-level health systems. It will also examine whether these strategies for higher quality maternal and newborn health care services, better care-seeking, and improved health outcomes can be sustained at the regional level.

Researchers will produce a model that can be streamlined and integrated into existing structures within the Tanzanian health system. It will generate evidence needed to inform national policy on quality improvement in Tanzania.

Project partners
This project is part of the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa program. The program is a seven-year $36 million initiative funded by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Project ID


Project status



54 months

Total funding

CA$ 980,834




Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa

Project Leader

PhD Fatuma Manzi


The Registered Trustees of Ifakara Health Institute

Institution Country


Institution Website


Project Leader

MBBS, PhD Zulfiqar Bhutta


Hospital for Sick Children

Institution Country


Institution Website