Zanzibar — ZANZIBAR has reported massive healthcare achievements in the past five years despite the multiple challenges the sector faced.
Health Minister Juma Duni Haji told an annual health stakeholders meeting here that while big challenges remained, the isles could still celebrate improved efficiency thanks to the ongoing health sector capacity building programme.
The meeting, held at the Zanzibar Beach Resort, was attended by health experts and development partners who discussed challenges and successes in implementing various health programmes in Zanzibar. "We still have challenges, but we can celebrate improving efficiency following the ongoing capacity building and training of staffs in health sector," Mr Duni told the meeting.
He mentioned that in addition, there were 1,435 students, including 188 pursuing medical and health studies abroad. He expressed hope that the shortage of medical staff in the isles will be minimised when the students graduate.
"There has been improvement in health services on both Unguja and Pemba islands, including distribution of human resources, facilities, finance and improvement of administration at district level," the minister told participants.
Mr Duni mentioned other 'success stories' as proper utilisation of available resources and improved health services for children and mothers. "Our heavy reliance to development partner for funds has also decreased due to increased allocation of funds from the government," he said.
The minister thanked the development partners for contributing between 62 per cent and 55 per cent of the budget for health from 2006 and 2010, while the government's contribution was only 43 per cent in 2010.
On malaria, Mr Duni said there has been a drastic decline of such cases from 45 per cent in 2004 down to 0.7 per cent. The UNESCO Representative in Zanzibar, Ms Ruth Leano, commended the isles for its ongoing efforts to improve health services and pledged further assistance by development partners.