Medical referrals abroad drop by 97 pc

COAST REGION: THE number of patients seeking medical treatment abroad has dropped by 97 per cent, thanks to substantial investments done by government and foreign investors in improving health service provision in the country.

Speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, on Friday shortly after inaugurating the state-of-the-art Kibaha Health Technology Centre in the Coast Region, Deputy Minister for Health Dr Godwin Mollel said since President Samia Suluhu Hassan entered the presidential office in 2012 the ministry has so far received a total of 6.7 tril/-.

The inaugurated centre is run by the largest medicine organisation from German known as Action Medeor.

According to Dr Mollel, the money dished out by the government has gone to the construction of health facilities and procurement of critical medical equipment such as x-rays, CT-scans and MRI.

Besides, he noted efforts by the President to open up and encourage investment in the country particularly in the health sector has seen the only hematology reagent factory in Eastern and Central Africa being established in Tanzania.

According to him, the establishment of the factory will bring major revolution to the health sector something which President Samia has always been encouraging.

He directed the Tanzania Medicines and Medical Devices Authority (TMDA) to ensure efforts are made so that the plant kick starts operations within two-week’s time.

Besides, he called upon the Director General of the Medical Stores Department to visit the inaugurated centre to find out how the country’s laboratory can cut down cost of operation.

Recounting the Covid-19 pandemic, he said a big lesson was learned during the time on the importance of having local factories, saying investors like Action Medeor need to be embraced.

He urged Tanzanians working at the centre to acquire skills and later on become innovators rather than remaining as mere machine operators so as to help the country realise its ambitious plan of industrialisation.

For his part, the Country Director and Executive Director at Action Medeor International Healthcare, Mr Christoph Bonsmann noted that the reagent is ISO certified, saying currently it is awaiting TMDA registration for its take off.

“The product is expected to bring down cost of reagents by 70 per cent thus saving Tanzania from huge importation costs from abroad,” he said.

Upon starting operation, he said they can produce up to 500 tonnes per year, meaning that the product can be marketed outside East African Community and beyond.

However, he noted that their goal is to expand the production base to other crucial medical supplies in the near future.

For his part, Zanzibar Deputy Minister for Health, Mr Hassan Hamis Hafidh extended recognition to Action Medeor noting that their step is important one as it paves the way for creating a healthier future for Tanzania.

He indicated that Zanzibar has made major reforms in their health sector whereby bureaucracy is discouraged, welcoming Action Medeor in Zanzibar should they want to invest.

On the other hand, Kibaha District Commissioner Mr Nickson Simon, speaking on behalf of Coast Regional Commissioner Mr Abubakar Kunenge, applauded the President for improving business environment in the country, noting that investors have been flocking into the country.

He observed that the Coast Region currently accommodates 1,523 industries and 434 health facilities, adding that 22 plots have been earmarked for industries in the region.

He welcomed investors to the Coast Region, noting that a Special Export Zone valued at 3tri/- had been designed to accommodate around 200 factories. He said at Kwala area  in Coast Region about 250 factories are currently being established.

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