8 February 2018

Tanzania: Lawmakers Caution State On Dependence 'Time Bomb'

Dodoma — MPs have cautioned the government over continued dependence on donors to finance the Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) programme for drug addicts and the Tanzania Commission for Aids (Tacaids), saying doing so was akin to "creating a timed bomb."

The HIV/Aids Parliamentary Standing Committee said 100 per cent of the medication for drug addicts, methadone, is now financed by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), something that was likely to compromise provision of the service if the agency pulled out.

Tabling the committee's report in the national assembly in Dodoma on Wednesday the chairperson, Dr Jasmin Bunga, said the impact of donor dependence on provision of key health services had already been noted at Tacaids, whose operations have been disrupted by poor funding.

"The budget for Tacaids fell by 50 per cent in the 2017/18 financial year. Because of this, it has failed to employ adequate number of staff. It has been affected technologically and the organisation is in fact failing to carry out some of its operations as required," said Dr Bunga.

"The committee is advising the government to ensure that it finds ways of fully financing these institutions so that people who benefit from their[organisations] services can be protected when the donor agencies walk out," she added.

In addition, the committee asked the government to review the 2001 HIV/Aids policy, saying it had now become obsolete following the advances that have been made in HIV/Aids treatment over the years.

The committee said further that the government must step up the campaign against HIV/Aids. "When this campaign loses momentum, it leaves room for new HIV infections to rise," said the committee report.

On treatment for drug addicts, the MP for Temeke Constituency-(CUF), Mr Abdallah Mtolea said there was also a pressing need to implement a plan that was earlier announced by the government to put up methadone clinics in every region.

Debating the motion in parliament, Mr Mtolea said drug addicts who live in places far away from the few clinics that have been established in Dar es Salaam are facing a daunting task of seeking for treatment.


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