Kilimanjaro — MORE than 354 million/- was collected during a fundraising event which was graced by Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, for the construction of a hospital to cater for Lerangwa Village and Kamwanga Ward.
The Hospital, owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Arusha will serve more than 50,000 people in the locality which falls within the West-Kilimanjaro area in Longido District, where Arusha borders Kilimanjaro Region and Amboseli in Kenya.
Previously, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for the construction of the proposed Hospital building as thousands of residents of Lerangwa village witnessed the occasion.
The hospital, which has already started its operations runs under the Endumet Catholic Parish and is set to serve mostly nomadic pastoralists and subsistence farmers in the rather remote landscapes of West-Kilimanjaro.
The Prime Minister's fundraiser collected 236m/- in cash while additional pledges amounted to 118m/-. The Prime Minister himself contributed 20m/- while the office of the Arusha Regional Secretariat pledged 5m/-.
The hospital, while still undergoing construction, started offering health services since April, last year and after its completion the facility is expected to reach out to more than 50,000 people in the Kamwanga Ward and nearby areas.
For many years the residents of pastoral communities in the area used to travel long distances but mainly to the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) and the Kibong'oto Hospital both in Kilimanjaro region seeking medical services.
The Premier assured religious institutions of the government's support in all endeavours related to social and community services promising that the state will further help the area to get an ambulance for emergency services as well as ensuring that the road connecting to the area is upgraded.
Mr Pinda also gave a nod to the proposal made by church leaders who suggested that it was possible and advisable to get electricity from Kenya's Kidawachi area, which is just 20 kilometres from the area or Amboseli which is around seven kilometres from the village.
The Church leaders were of the view that, since the area was closer to Kenya, it was cheaper to tap power from the neighbouring country than considering to connect the location to the National grid along Moshi-Arusha road.
"I cannot give you the exact answer but I will try to communicate with Kenya's Prime Minister on this matter," he said. One of the Catholic Arch-Diocese officials, Father Fredrick Karori, appealed to the government to supply the area with electricity as some of medical facilities need power.
He also said being in peripherals, the medical practitioners have been hesitating to work at the hospital, hence there is a need for doctors and nurses willing to go in the area be given motivations from the Mkapa Foundation Fund.
On the road, church leaders pledged to improve the existing road so that it can be passable all time in a year. Earlier, leading the mass, Archbishop Josephat Lebulu said health facilities at the hospital will be provided to all people irrespective of their colour, tribe, religions and other factors.
He also commended the government effort to improve health services in the country.