Mwanza — THE government has commended the Benjamin Mkapa HIV-AIDS Foundation for its dedication and support in complementing the country's health initiatives by reaching the underserved members of the society.
Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda said at the weekend that the foundation has done a wonderful job since its inception in 2006. Mr Pinda officiated at the fundraising campaign that managed to collect about 1.4bn in cash and pledges for the implementation of the Foundation's activities.
The Foundation, under its patron former President Benjamin Mkapa, is looking for 15bn/- to implement its five-year Strategic Plan (2013-2017).
We all have the obligation to support the noble work done by this Foundation particularly in fighting HIV-AIDS and reducing the human resources burden in our health sector," said the Premier.
According to him, the current efforts by the Foundation to pay attention to the Lake Zone was a timely move as statistics show the area is increasingly experiencing shortage of skilled health experts.
Mentioning as an example, Mr Pinda said on average, the ratio of a doctor per population is one per 20,000 people in Tanzania while it is one doctor per 25,000 people in Mara Region and one doctor per 28,000 in Kagera Region.
He thanked stakeholders who made it possible for the raising of such money out of the anticipated 500m/- the Foundation was targeting to raise.
Speaking before the fund raising event, former President Mkapa said it is high time Tanzania started self-help programmes in funding its development projects like health programmes.
He said the era of depending wholly on donors or the so called development partners is sharply phasing out, calling for Tanzanians to build a culture of contributing for their own development.
To meet its goals-without donors - Mr Mkapa said was not simple for the government to manage on its own that is why his organization has chipped in to land a supporting hand.
However, as the Foundation's Stategic Plan outlines, that task was even difficult today as the global events have effectively reduced the capacity of Western countries to give financial assistance to developing countries like Tanzania.
"So, the government needs to be supported to meet its health demands as we have done today, it is possible," the third phase President said.
The Foundation's Chief Executive Officer, Dr Hellen Senkoro, said that in 2012, it was decided-basing on the trend of the flow of assistance from donors that Tanzanian development partners take a role in supporting its mission and vision.
She said all the six regions in the Lake Zone will be covered including the 15 District Councils to be served in the second phase of the programme that starts in January 2015 to December 2017.
The beneficial Councils include Biharamulo, Shinyanga Rural, Kahama, Kishapu, Meatu, Bariadi, Itilima, Busega, Maswa, and Sumbawanga Municipality.
Others are Sumbawanga Rural, Kalambo, Nkasi, Chake Pemba and Mtaa wa Kati Unguja in Zanzibar and according to Dr Senkoro, the phase will also see 180 new Mkapa Fellows employed and 30 operation theatres constructed.