Moshi — More than 650 households in Mabogini Ward now boast of food security and health services, thanks to programmes initiated by TPC Limited, one of the oldest sugar companies in the country.
Mtakuja and Mserekia villagers in Moshi Rural District cultivate maize, beans, onions, vegetables and bell peppers on an area covering 100 hectares, and for more than five years they had enough food for their families and surplus for sale.
TPC Director of Corporate Services, Jaffery Ally, said here that the company has invested more than 1bn/- in the project as a means to support the community that was once begging food from the government every year. Through the Foundation to Earth, Mankind through Inspiration and Initiatives (Femi), TPC built two wells whose water is used for irrigation during the dry season.
Mtakuja Development Organization (MDO), Secretary, Janeth Joshua said "we have two seasons per year and the output is amazing."
She said that from the proceeds, the villagers have managed to build a warehouse for storage of harvests that they sell through MDO. The harvest of maize per hectare is between 20 to 26 bags per season. The warehouse has a capacity to store 2,500 bags at a go.
TPC Limited has also supported the villagers by building a health centre and staff houses at Mserekia village at a cost of more than 90m/-. Ally said the centre cost 60m/- and the rest was for the staff houses.
However, despite the company's efforts, the health centre isn't operational for lack of personnel. Pregnant women are forced to be carried on carts to TPC and Mawenzi hospitals. Mserekia Village chairman Daniel Lyimo said it was absurd that they have a modern health facility and staff houses which remain idle.
He said the village government had applied to Moshi District Council for a medical officer and nurses but the request has not been met. He said as a short-term solution, "we decided to deploy traditional midwives who are not competent enough to deal with the pregnant women."
"It's risky when in the event of complications or patients are in need of clinical tests, hence some are subjected to life-threatening situations," he said.
A traditional midwife, Stella Mserikia, admitted that "we are unable to detect diseases associated with pregnancies, so that we offer a limited support to the women. Other patients have to bear the brunt of travelling long distances to get treatment at TPC or Mawenzi hospital," he said.