GEITA Gold Mining Limited (GGM) has signed an agreement to extend funding for the maintenance of the first medical boat on Lake Victoria from 87,000 US dollars to 120,000 US dollars.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked with Vine Trust of Scotland, African Inland Church Geita Diocese and the government through the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children.
The GGML Sustainability Vice President, Simon Shayo said the fund would replace the previous agreement that expired in 2019 and extend for five years to maintain and repair the 160-tonne British Royal Navy vessel that acts as an ambulance in the lake to reach islands. Mr Shayo noted that the medical boat will provide a range of primary health care services including maternal health care, voluntary HIV testing and care and treatment for AIDS patients, immunization, dentistry and general basic health education with a major focus on maternal and child health care.
"This is under the Jubilee Medical Boat project that is an initiative of the Jubilee Hope Medical and Dental Programme launched in February 2015.
The scheme is part of the partnership between the African Inland Church of Tanzania, the Vine Trust of Scotland and Geita Gold Mining Limited.
Mr Shayo further said the medical boat that shuttles between the islands for 14 days and docks in Mwanza to refuel routinely will also be maintained and repaired in the city, where medical supplies to the isles will originate from.
"We are proud that the medical boat has reached over 46,000 people on yearly basis ... most of them being women and children as well as the fishing communities on isolated and far islands, where access to healthcare is a major challenge. Our support with this boat will include daily fueling, engine lubrication, and shouldering maintenance costs.
On his part, African Inland Church in Tanzania Archbishop, Mussa Magwesela, said the extension of the MoU for another five years between them would be milestone is supporting the government to improve health services in country.