12 January 2013

Tanzania: Bitter Side of City Milestone Project

TRANSFORMATION of Morogoro Road to become the backbone route for the Dar es Salaam Rapid Transport (DART) has turned into a nightmare as residents can no longer access their business premises while random overhaul of the arterial road has been blamed for causing lengthy traffic jams in many parts of the commercial capital.

According to a 'Daily News on Saturday' survey, it now takes over three hours to commute from Kimara to the city centre, which is a mere 16 kilometres away, largely as result of the ongoing construction of the road that some residents think is too sluggish and somewhat leisurely. "This is a lifeline not only for Dar es Salaam residents but also for the whole country such that digging it up without well laid out detours and diversions that allow traffic to flow smoothly is disastrous," said Halidy Amri, a resident of Kimara Mbezi.

Mr Amri wondered why the contractor, M/s Strabarg International GmbH of Germany, was allowed to tear up the busy road while construction seems to be going on at a rather leisurely pace.He was of the opinion that works should have been carried on day and night to allow life to go back to normal in a reasonably short time. "This contractor is not in a hurry at all.

They go on end of year holidays, take weekends off and during public holidays, they too go on rest while such an important road remains largely closed," Amri lamented. His views echoed the feelings of many city residents whose initial euphoria at the launch of the project last October has now turned into frustration and even outright anger over the way an otherwise important project was being implemented. Businesses that have had their access literally blocked or cut off include fuel filling stations, shops and hotels.

"Three months have gone by now and we don't even know whether we are going to resume operations here," said Ilyas Abdallah, Manager of the Akiba junction Total Tanzania Limited filling station. Mr Abdallah said access to the filling station has been blocked for over three months and all 12 attendants have been sent on unpaid leave.

"Because this road will only be used by rapid transport buses, we don't even know whether cars will be allowed to refill here," lamented Abdallah. The Manager of the Kisutu Oilcom Tanzania Limited filling station, Fuadi Karama, also expressed similar frustrations. "This contractor is not concerned with time. They have taken over three months so far on this segment of the road," said Mr Karama.

He urged the Tanzania Roads Agency (TANROADS) to compel the contractor to work day and night in order to hasten implementation of the important project that will no doubt add to the beauty of the city of over four million people and bring hitherto unknown comfort, reliability and order in the now highly chaotic commuter services.

Strabarg have taken more than three months to dig up a one kilometre stretch from the junction of Bibi Titi Road and Samora Avenue. "We have lost more than 60 per cent of our clients because they cannot access the hotel since the road is closed," said the Assistant Manager of Rainbow Hotel , Mr Baiju Sukumaran. He also expressed fears over the future of their mega investment since Morogoro Road will be closed to private cars used by most of their clients.

TANROADS Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Mfugale said over his mobile phone yesterday: "Talk to me quickly, I am in a meeting," and off went the line. The 'Daily News on Saturday' had been trying frantically to reach him during the week, including sending him text messages to which he never responded. The deputy minister said that since 2008, WLF had actively upgraded, renovated or rebuilt health facilities to safeguard the existence of life saving CEmOC.

He said that though there were over 600 facilities in the country, WLF's efforts of renovating 12 health centres, 10 maternity wards, five laboratories, 11 operation theatres and building 20 staff houses had made significant impact. The Morogoro Regional Project Officer, Dr Angelo Nyamtema, said that between January and February 2012, 40 per cent of the C-Sections deliveries in WLF supported facilities were unjustified but after monthly auditing by October they achieved a near 75 per cent of justified deliveries.

Dr Nyamtema cited inadequate documented case files, misplacement of patient's files, misconception of the usage vacuum extractors and inadequate involvement of district health authorities in the auditing process as major hurdles. Coast Regional Project Officer, Dr Clementina Kairuki echoed the challenges adding that at Kibiti health centre, between January and December 2012, they accounted for 60 per cent of C-Section deliveries that were unjustified and done without clear indication, a situation that was worrying them.

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