Tabora — PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete congratulates Dr Joseph Komwihangiro, who is the Director of Marie Stopes Clinic, for his commitment in service and family planning during the launch of cervical and breast cancer screening in Tabora Region on Saturday. Left is the First Lady, who is also the Patron of the Medical Women's Association of Tanzania (MEWATA), Mama Salma Kikwete. On her left is the association's Chairperson, Dr Sarafina Mkuwa. Extreme right is the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Kebwe Steven Kebwe. (Photo by State House)
PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has ordered the Police Force to investigate and immediately take action on officials alleged to have swindled funds of co-operative societies in Tabora Region.
The president expressed concern that tobacco farmers in the region have for long complained over not being paid after selling their produce to the cooperatives.
Mr Kikwete made the remarks over the weekend in his speech during an occasion to launch the screening of cervical and breast cancer to be conducted by the Medical Women Association of Tanzania (MEWATA).
"Regarding tobacco farmers, I have been briefed on swindling and graft, which has crippled the cooperatives and rendered them unable to pay the farmers.
"I have thus directed the Inspector-General of Police to send a team of criminal investigators to work on this matter and arraign the perpetrators," Mr Kikwete said.
The IGP, according to the president, has pledged to send the investigation team by Monday (today). He urged the farmers to cooperate with the investigators to pin down all those involved in swindling the cooperatives.
President Kikwete was irked that there have been rampant tendencies by officials of the cooperatives and financial institutions to steal from the societies, saying it was high time that the vice was eliminated.
In another development, the president showered praises on MEWATA for its efforts in supporting the government to address the threats posed by cervical and breast cancers among women in the country.
Tanzania is among the countries hit hardest by cervical cancer in the East African region with statistics showing that 56 out of 100,000 women are affected by the disease.
"It is also estimated that some 35,000 women are affected by the disease each year out of whom 27,000 pass away. During the year 2010, about 6,000 women were found with cervical cancer and 4,000 of them died," Mr Kikwete said.
Cervical cancer, according to medical experts, mostly attacks women in the age bracket of between 30 and 50 years. Women living with HIV/AIDS are more prone to the disease as 50 per cent of them can be affected.
"We also have a challenge with breast cancer which is the second after cervical cancer for causing deaths among women.
"It is thus clear that women are at higher risks of dying because of cancer compared to men who are mostly affected by prostate cancer save for other types of cancers which affect both men and women," Mr Kikwete noted.
The president thus urged the public to ensure they regularly screen for cancer since early detection of an infection can make it possible for treatment.