6.8bn/- needed annually for untreated fistula cases

TANZANIA needs 6.8bn/- annually for the treatment of women suffering from obstetric fistula in the country.

According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), only 1,300 fistula victims of the 3,000 new annual cases can afford the cost of 4m/- required for treatment of one patient.

This suggests that the country needs a total of 6.8bn/- to treat 1,700 fistula victims who are unable to pay for the treatment cost every year.

The UNFPA estimates that there are over 10,000 women living with obstetric fistula in Tanzania that would require over 40bn/- to treat them.

The huge burden of treating obstetric fistula where most women fail to pay for the treatment costs that prompted NMB bank to embark on the initiative aimed at restoring the dignity of women suffering from the disease.

“We are informed that the medical cost for a mother suffering from fistula is about 4m/- which many ordinary Tanzanians cannot afford.

And it is from this reality which made NMB Bank to come up with the charity marathon idea to raise funds for fistula treatment,” said NMB Chief Executive Officer, Ruth Zaipuna at the closure of Season II of the NMB ‘Mwendo WA Upendo’ charity Marathon graced by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa in Dar es Salaam at the weekend.

Ms Zaipuna said initially the plan of the bank was to raise 250m/- every year in four years to tackle the problem. It exceeded the target by 60 per cent and resolved to raise the remaining 600m/-this year.

She added, “The high costs involved in dealing with this problem is the main reason why many women in the country don’t get proper treatment of fistula,” she told the Prime Minister who has called on other corporate entities to emulate what NMB is doing to support the government in delivering quality social services.

NMB’s corporate giving budgets in recent years have crossed 2bn/-annually with the spending for 2022 set to amount to 2.9bn/-from its 2021 profit after taxation of 290bn/-.

Figures provided by the CSR Unit of the bank show that in the last 10 years the top lender spent over 11bn/-to complement efforts of the government in improving delivery of health services and education.

The philanthropic spending benefited 633 health facilities across the country and relieved many people in the same way the NMB- Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) anti-fistula partnership did to women last year with the 400m/-obtained from the 2021 charity race.

The bank’s Board chair Edwin Mhede said achieving the goal depicts the importance NMB accords social investments and the support it enjoys from like-minded partners. Two of them, namely Sanlam Life Insurance and UAP Insurance Tanzania, contributed the biggest chunk of the amount.

“Apart from lack of money for many women to treat fistula, the other main obstacle in dealing with disease in Tanzania is ignorance of the problem,” Dr Mhede noted saying it was good CCBRT is also addressing the education shortcoming.

The bank spends one per cent of its annual net income on social investments as directed in its corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy, which gives special attention to improvement of health services and supporting the education sector.

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