5 January 2013

Tanzania: Health Services Extended to Villages

THE government has received a jab in the arm in its efforts to improve the quality maternal, newborn and child health services after the Aga Khan Hospital joined forces with a local company, Ndege Medics in assisting in emergency services.

The Aga Khan Hospital Board Chairman, Mr Amin Habib said during a brief launching ceremony of five UK standard ambulances issued by Ndege Medics to operate in five regions of the country namely Mwanza, Dodoma,Mbeya, Morogoro and Iringa, that the joint venture with a purely Tanzanian company was huge.

"The overall aim of the Joining Hands Initiative (JHI) project which is in line with the MDGs 4 and 5, is to contribute to improve reproductive and maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) in the country," he said.

Mr Habib explained that the project would be implemented through Aga Khan Health Services Tanzania and its five primary medical centres in the five regions with a focus on community based services, capacity building and strengthening the links with the referral services.He said that the project was consistent with the government's objectives under its poverty reduction plan and the health sector strategic plan of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

"Another objective to the project will focus on improving the health, hygiene and nutrition practices of the targeted families relevant to the MNCH and increasing the demand for quality services by the target population," he said.The Managing Director of Ndege Medics, Dr Sebastian Ndege said that the availability of emergency services were vital for the assurance of delivery services in areas that were distant from health facilities and that he was privileged to be part of JHI.

He said that the current statistics that exist pertaining to child and maternal mortality being involved in doing things that God is ordained to do was a blessing.Dr Ndege said that it was his conviction that the JHI project would drastically help in reducing child and maternal deaths and that the project was an innovative and much needed initiative.

"The ambulance services will strengthen a formal referral system between primary medical centres and the government hospitals to provide timely and appropriate access to emergency services, management of severe cases and continuity of care," he said.JHI is a three year Canadian International Development Agency funded project for Aga Khan Health Service Tanzania, with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to contribute to improvements in MNCH services.

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