1 March 2017

Tanzania: Benjamin Mkapa Hospital Now Fully Equipped

Benjamin Mkapa ultramodern Hospital (BMH) will be the first in central zone regions to offer Magnet Resonance Imaging (MRI) and CTScan services in the next one month, authorities confirmed here yesterday.

The 170bn/- facility seating at the heart of the University of Dodoma (Udom), is a brainchild of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), the Min istry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children and the University to transform health service delivery in the country.

BMH Acting Executive Director, Dr Alphonce Chandika, told the health minister that the facility is fully-equipped to offer world class diagnostic services through improved, timely diagnosis and quality treatment of patients.

According to the director, the hospital now awaits the Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission approval later this month to start offering MRI and CT-Scan service, now the highly needed services at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).

It is estimated that between 10 and 15 patients seek MRI and Computed Tomography (CT) scan service at the national referral hospital, yet the machines suffer regular breakdowns.

"We have all the machines ready for testing throughout March. It's our expectation the atomic energy commission will verify and nod to them to be used ... we are hopeful that by April 1 we will be ready to offer the service," Dr Chandika said.

He said the hospital was investing on modern technologies and now intends to start endoscopic surgeries - the first in Eastern and sub-Saharan Africa. "It is a specialised service.

We managed to secure modernised equipment and the technician will from now fix the machines ready for diagnosis" he stated. The executive director announced that the facility was facing serious shortage of specialised professionals to handle the expected huge number of patients within and outside the country.

In response, Heath Minister, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, said the government was undertaking an internal redistribution of staff and already some 50 specialists have been sourced from MNH, Mbeya Referral Hospi tal and the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) to cover the gap.

"We have also picked specialists from Jakaya Kikwete Heart Institute who will now be offering consultation at the hospital. We are expecting to dispatch six more doctors to further their specialisation in India ... we expect in the meantime to recruit more health providers," the minister said.

BMH which also plans to embark on telemedicine involving specialists from around the globe to offer consultation and care currently admit 200 patients and has 300 beds.

"Now, patients can access all services ranging from theatre services, cancer treatment, maternal and child health care as well as heart treatment," she said. "There is no need to travel all the way to Dar es Salaam for medical checkup or treatment.

" Already the ministry of health has permanently moved from Dar es Salaam heeding President John Magufuli's executive order. In its first batch, more than 100 public officials including the minister, her deputy and permanent secretaries have all relocated to the new designated capital.

According to the minister, public officials and businessmen moving from Dar es Salaam and setting up their new base in Dodoma should not worry over access to health service, saying the BMH was fully-equipped to attend all health ailments.


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