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Saturday, December 10, 2016

TANZANIA; HEALTH PROJECT IN GEITA GET 13.6 BILLION/- BOOST FROM CANADA



By Pius Rugonzibwa

Geita — The Canadian government through its Global Affairs department has donated 8.3 million dollars (about 13.6bn/- ) for the implementation of water and health projects in Geita Region.

The four-year project will be implemented by two Non-Governmental Organisations, Amref Health Africa Tanzania Office and Water Aid in supporting the government efforts to improve the health and wellbeing of the community, particularly reducing maternal, newborn and child mortality.

Speaking at the launch of the project in Chikobe Health Centre in Geita District on Wednesday, a representative from the Canadian Embassy, Dr Tommie Robert said the project was expected to benefit around 878,000 members of the populations in Geita and Nyang'hwale districts reported with high maternal mortality rates and neonatal deaths.

"This is part of a comprehensive project being implemented in three additional African countries of Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi, apart from Tanzania, and will help address the present challenges by improving the delivery and use of quality reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health services (RMNCH)," he said.

Dr Robert also said the project will also integrate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) as well as nutrition services and enhancing good governance and accountability of the local government structures to be responsive to RMNCH, nutrition and WASH services.

He said about 211,200 women of reproductive age, 200,800 children under five, 445,300 adults, 260 healthcare workers and 532 community health workers will benefit from the project in the two target districts.

The four year project that kicked off from March 2016 and going up to March 2020 was in line with the Tanzania's Big Results Now (BRN) strategy which focuses on improving sanitation and hygiene services at all levels for communities and institutions.

Amref Health Africa Tanzania Country Director, Dr Florence Temu and Water Aid representative Dr Jane Sembuche were thankful for the donation that will improve health and sanitation systems and lead to improved livelihood.

"WaterAid believes that WASH is a critical determinant in health and education by ensuring that our healthcare facilities and our schools have access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, we can then reduce water-related diseases such as cholera and diarrhea," said Dr Sembuche.

To facilitate the implementation of the project, Amref will get 7.06bn/- of the fund while WaterAid will get 6.5bn/- for the same purposes. 

The Geita Regional Medical Officer (RMO), Dr Joseph Kisala, said his area of operation was severely affected with shocking deaths of infants and maternal deaths, releasing a report indicating that between 900 to 1000 children and 70 mothers died between January and October this year.

"We appreciate the initiatives by the government and development partners for making this project possible, and call for the community to extend necessary support to its successful end come 2020," said the RMO.

Earlier, while inaugurating the project, the Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Hamis Kigwangala said the government has decided to invest heavily in addressing health challenges that will see the construction of 489 health centres across the country by June, next year.

The Deputy Minister insisted that in the earmarked plan, every health centre will be housed with operating theatre and laboratory, calling for leaders in the local governments to mobilise resources for the master plan.

He thanked the donors for keeping on supporting the provision of social services, but said time has come for Tanzanians to make it on their own while donors supplement their efforts. 

He said about 20,000 health workers will be employed soon and others will be reallocated, especially to the village centers according to needs.

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