28 February 2013

Tanzania: Hospital Seeks an End to Patients' Relatives Camping Outside Wards

Zanzibar — MNAZI Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar is planning to put an end to the problem of relatives and friends of patients camping outside wards.

"People who camp for hours or days outside hospital wards such as maternity risk contracting diseases and also make noise for sick people, besides polluting the place," Mr Muhhamed Adil, the Administrative and Legal Advisor of the hospital said. He added that the hospital was taking the step to maintain cleanliness and ensure that silence is observed.

However, implementation of the plan may be challenging because most of the people who camp outside the hospital wards are relatives of the patients, who would have travelled for long distances. It has been prohibited to gather outside any ward, but it has fallen into deaf ears.

"We are not stubborn, but we do not have alternative places to stay, while waiting for our relatives. In most cases hospital workers need a relative to be near in case of emergency. We ask the government to construct a building close to the hospital," said Ms Amina Omar from Chwaka Village.

Meanwhile, health officials in Zanzibar revealed that response to family planning has been gaining momentum and that already 12-in-100 women now use contraceptives. Mr Kassim Issa Kirobo from the 'mother and child' unit in the Ministry of Health, said that 2010 statistics are positive although many couples are still reluctant to use family planning methods.

"We need more people to use family planning for health families, child spacing and for the health of the mothers. We need to encourage women and men to accept family planning because it is safe," said Kirobo. According to Kirobo, widely used family planning methods in Zanzibar include pills, implants and injections and that most of them are safe.

He said Unguja South District is leading in the use of family planning, while Pemba Islands has been doing badly. The major reasons for reluctance in accepting family planning are men who believe that using contraceptives is against religion and tradition.

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