Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli yesterday directed the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) to provide top-notch medical treatment to 43 survivors of a road fuel tanker accident who were transferred to the health facility.
He said the government would pay for all the expenses associated with the treatment.
The 43 in-patients are among 59 survivors of the fire breakout following the accident which occurred in Morogoro Region on Saturday morning, and who were taken to the national referral hospital for specialised treatment. Three of the patients passed away at the country's biggest hospital, while 15 others continue with treatment at the Morogoro Regional Hospital.
President Magufuli went to console the survivors at MNH, where he directed the hospital administration to provide them with all their requirements - including food and medicines - and submit the final bill to the government for payment.
"These are poor people who didn't want this to happen to them; they just found themselves in the thick of it. Therefore, provide them with everything needed in their treatment - and send the bill to the government. I will service the bill on behalf of Tanzanians," the President stressed.
Dr Magufuli arrived at MNH at around 1pm, and went straight to the Sewahaji and Mwaisela wards, as well as to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to see the patients.
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In the event, he gave out Sh500,000 to each of the patients in the wards, and spoke highly of the medics attending to the victims of the tragic road accident.
The President also directed that that Sh1 million be given to each of the patients in ICU, and also Sh1 million be given to each of the medical experts who were attending to the patients.
"You are doing a wonderful job... .We pray for God's guiding hand as you undertake your responsibilities. We pray for a quick recovery of the patients," President Magufuli said by way of praise and consolation.
The MNH authorities had said earlier yesterday that the hospital had received 46 out of the over 70 people who were injured in the road tanker fire outbreak in Morogoro on Saturday.
Until midday yesterday, official data showed that 71 people had died from the fire, while 59 others were injured in the blast that occurred when the fuel tanker exploded as thieves rushed in to syphon off the fuel leaking from the wreckage.
The MNH executive director, Prof Lawrence Museru, said nine of the 43 accident victims who were receiving treatment at the hospital were in critical condition.
"Most of the patients were seriously burnt. Some of them have up to 80 per cent of their bodies burnt. So far, we have 43 of the victims who are receiving treatment here," he said.
President Magufuli called upon Tanzanians to avoid concluding that all those who were injured in the accident were "fuel thieves.
"Some of those I have seen are not Morogoro residents... Some of them rushed to the scene so they could offer a helping hand," the President said.
Woman's happy hour
President Magufuli's visit to the national hospital proved to be a blessing for a woman who had her problem solved as a result of the visit.
Ms Rahel Kitwai Roita of Turiani, Morogoro Region, had been taking care of her mother at the hospital for a long time.
Unfortunately, her mother died, leaving behind a Sh5 million bill.
She pleaded with President Magufuli, who directed the MNH management to release the mother's body for burial, saying he would personally pay the costs.
President Magufuli also gave the bereaved woman Sh500,000.