12 December 2012

Tanzania: Kikwete Orders Kawe Plot Invaders to Vacate or Else

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has directed those who invaded the Tanganyika Packers area in Mlangozila Kawe area to vacate to pave way for construction of new Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS).

He issued the directive yesterday when inaugurating three modern hospital buildings at Mnazi Mmoja, Sinza and Rangitatu area in Ilala, Kinondoni and Temeke districts respectively. The buildings have been constructed and equipped with modern health facilities by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), to cater for expectant mothers and children under five years.

President Kikwete also received three ambulances for the three hospitals. The President said the government is determined to improve health services in the country, including the number of health experts, especially doctors. He said the government had already compensated those that invaded the 3,000 acres at Mlongazila area, although some were refusing to move, demanding disturbance allowance from government.

"We were lenient despite the fact that they invaded an area that already belonged to the Tanganyika Packers, whose title deed is still valid, and now they are demanding for disturbance money from the government. We will not pay this and they must move, to allow the construction of MUHAS," President Kikwete stressed.

Once the University is up and running, it will have a capacity of admitting 12,000 students, as opposed to the current 5,000. "We are facing a big challenge of health experts in the country, currently one doctor serves 30,000 patients, while in developed nations, one doctor serves 500 patients," he explained.

The president said a part from the University, a modern hospital will also be constructed and will be equipped with modern facilities for both teaching and providing service to the public, noting that the present location where MUHAS is situated, does not allow for expansion.

The President said already the government had received US 60 million dollars as soft loan from the government of South Korea through Exim Bank for construction of the modern hospital which is expected to start in January next year and will be completed in January 2015. The defunct Tanganyika Packers was an abattoir and cattle meat canning factory at the Mlongazi area Kawe in Dar es Salaam.

President Kikwete stated that the government was planning to improve the health sector in the country, by building and upgrading some hospitals, dispensaries and health centres with a focus on bringing health services closer to the public. He said the Muhimbili National Hospital will also be improved to higher standards so that people would not need to travel outside the country, seeking for medical services such as kidney transplant.

"We do not want people to walk more than 5 kilometres looking for health services, that is why the government will ensure there are hospital closer to them, while those who travel outside the country for medical reason, will not need to do so in the near future, as we are revamping and expanding Muhimbili to accommodate services otherwise found outside the country," he explained.

The president added that the main challenge facing the health sector, apart from experts, were lack of buildings and health facilities, noting that through the Health Sector Strategic Plan, the government has decided to increase higher learning institutions focused in health and improve those currently operating.

On his part, the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Mr Said Meck Sadick said the cost of construction of the three health centres in the three districts which started in 2008 was 6.7bn/- and was a grant from the Republic of South Korea. He said the one storey buildings have 31 rooms, including consultation room, labour ward, antenatal and postnatal wards, theater rooms, laboratories, X-ray and Ultra Sound and neonatal unit.

The RC explained that all the buildings were equipped with modern facilities and already six Tanzanian experts of different disciplines in the health sector are in South Korea receiving training on how to provide high standard service to mother and child.

"Similarly we have South Korean experts at the health centres providing health services as a way to build local capacity at the three centres," he explained. The South Korean Ambassador in the Country Mr Jung IL said his country is proud to assist Tanzania, attain the Millennium Development Goals focusing on reducing child mortality and improve maternal health.

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