Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: President Pledges to Boost Health Services

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has reiterated the government's commitment to continue working with the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) in provision of health services to the people.

Mr Kikwete made the remarks in Dar es Salaam when handing over a cheque of 8bn/- to CCBRT for treatment of women suffering from obstetric fistula and construction of a brand new maternity and newborn hospital.

The new maternity and newborn medical facility is envisaged to cater for 15,000 people a year upon completion in 2014. It will deal with complicated maternal cases and infants. Communication conglomerate Vodafone International and its subsidiary Vodacom Tanzania raised the 8bn/- through a fundraising campaign dubbed 'Moyo Campaign.'

Moyo Campaign was launched in February this year in Dar es Salaam through a charity walk in which Mr Kikwete took part. The campaign had targeted to raise about 10.2 million US dollars. "The government is always ready to work with CCBRT in provision of health services to the people," the president said.

He elaborated further that as part of the commitment, the CCBRT has been ranked as a designated referral hospital through which the government support it by paying salaries of staff and contributes some equipment and medicines used at the hospital.

"I am equally happy that the hospital has given hope back to people who had lost it, particularly women who suffer from obstetric fistula. "Fistula is a degrading impairment and through treatment you have restored dignity of women who hitherto lived in isolation," he said.

The Head of State hailed Vodafone and Vodacom Tanzania for fulfilling the pledge by raising the amount through fundraising. "I have attended quite a number of fundraising events after which promises are not fulfilled.

In fact others just use the events for photo opportunities. Vodacom has made good of its pledge," he commended the company. Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of CCBRT, Mr Erwin Telemans, said according to estimates, there are 3,000 new cases of fistula every year.

"Since the start of the millennium, some 24,000 women have been living with fistula in Tanzania without seeking medical intervention," Mr Telemans said. Hailing Vodacom Tanzania for supporting the initiative through its mobile money transfer services, M-PESA, Mr Telemans was optimistic that the CCBRT would become one of the greatest fistula departments in the world.

For his part, the Managing Director of Vodacom Tanzania, Mr Rene Meza, said the contribution by the company is 'a dream comes true' after months of hard work. He also spoke on the need for a healthy population if the country was to attain economic development.

The handover ceremony was also attended by representatives from development partners, who have been supporting the health facility in provision of its services to the people.

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