Tanzania's Heart Institute Plans Treating More Patients This Year

Dar es Salaam — Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) intends to perform surgeries to more than 1,500 in its efforts to reduce the number of patients, who are referred abroad for treatment.

Disclosing this on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 JKCI executive director Prof Mohamed Janabi said last year the institute conducted a total of 1,356 surgeries.

"Our main objective is to continue to save people's lives. Hopefully one day with the increasing cardiovascular treatment skills to our experts we will not be sending patients abroad," he said.

Prof Janabi also expressed the intent of JKCI to continue using the support of its donor countries to increase cooperation and skills especially in enhancing treatment for children with heart defects.

On that day the institute received a visit from the embassies of Germany and the high commission of Canada who pledged to continue with their support.

He said, "Currently, we have received one of the top three children cardiologists from Germany, Prof Felix Berger, who will train Tanzanian specialists in that particular field," said Prof Janabi.

For his part, Prof Berger from the Medical University in Berlin said, "It is my third time to come here. I help children. I also train physicians and nurses to gain expertise in the field."

Moreover, the head of the Cardiology Unit at JKCI, Dr Peter Kisenge, said the institute is still in need of more experts as number of patients in the centre has reached 7,000 per month.

"On average we were supposed to have 50 senior specialists but currently we only have 12," he said.

Government through the Ministry of Health reported that regardless of the fact that there was an increment of the number of patients with heart diseases from 64,085 in 2017 to 83,718 in 2018, the number of deaths caused by heart defects has decreased.

It was reported that number of deaths dropped to 1,253 in 2018 from 1,904 in 2017.

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