9 November 2012

Tanzania: New CT Scan for Muhimbili

Dodoma — PLANS are underway to procure a new Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan machine for Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam following the persistent breakdown of the available one.

The Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Hussein Mwinyi, told the National Assembly that the government has already ordered the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) to go ahead with procurement procedures. "The CT Scan machine at MNH has developed a chronic problem because despite the fact that we had intervened and repaired the machine recently, it has broken down again. So we think the only reliable solution is to procure a new one," he said.

He was responding to a supplementary question by Dr Getrude Rwakatare (Special Seats-CCM) who wanted to know measures being taken by the government to end troubles now faced by poor Tanzanians who are forced to dig deeper into their pockets to get CT scan services in private hospitals.

She wanted to know whether the government will consider topping up or compensating the public to cover costs they incur, which is almost 80,000/-, for lack of CT scan services at MNH.

Dr Mwinyi said the government could only assure citizens of better and affordable services when the new machine is in place at MNH, adding that it was not possible to pay for those getting the service outside MNH as there was no budget for that."We will make sure that when the new machine is in place, we will review our costs and make it affordable to many especially poor people," he said.

Earlier in her basic question, Dr Rwakatare wanted to know government plans to end a tendency by doctors and nurses to work abroad after having been educated by the government using taxpayers' money.She asked the government to consider improving working conditions for workers in that bracket as a way of attracting them to remain in local hospitals.

Responding to the question, the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Seif Rashid, said that the matter is now history as the government has improved doctors' and nurses' salaries making it attractive for them to remain in the country."The fourth phase government has between 2005 and 2012 improved tremendously in the area of salaries for doctors and nurses with an increase of more than 400 per cent," he said.

He gave an example of a doctor's salary in 2005/2006 which was pegged at 267,480/- but has now been increased to 1,102,000/- per month which is an increase of 412 per cent."At the same time the salary of a nursing officer has increased from 120,300/- per month in 2006 to 781,000/- per month. The increment is equivalent to 649 per cent," he said.

Dr Rashid further noted that the government will continue to improve working environment and earnings for doctors and nurses. He added that following the improvements made so far the number of doctors and nurses going abroad to seek greener pastures has gone down and that many have also started to return home.

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