Milestone in bone marrow transplant

TANZANIA is making a step ahead to ease accessibility of specialised health services to its people following the launch of bone marrow transplant services at its Benjamin Mkapa Zonal Referral hospital in Dodoma.

The institution is becoming the second after Muhimbili National Hospital in provision of bone marrow transplant services, thus making it one of the few hospitals providing such services in East and Central Africa.

“The launch of these services  at BMH  testifies  how the country  in making step ahead  in improving  health services in the country … this is a milestone taking into account that  these services  can be accessed in a few countries  in Africa,”  the PM said  at the  launching event.

He said that   the government decided to invest 2.7bn/- so that the hospital could start providing bone marrow transplant services in order to reduce treatment cost to the citizen.

“The strengthening of specialised and super specialised services in the country has reduced the huge cost which was being incurred by the government in order to enable the needy patients to access the services abroad,” Majaliwa said.

According to the PM bone marrow transplant at the BMH will cost between 50m/- and 55m/- per patient in comparison to being done outside the country at over 120m/-

Elaborating, he expressed gratitude to President Samia Suluhu Hassan for continuing to disburse funds for the purchase of medical equipment, reagents and medicines as well as funding the training of health experts at specialised and super specialised services.

Majaliwa said that the provision of the services at the hospital will relieve sickle cell patients from pains and recurrent infections while other patients get cured.

Before launching the services, the Premier visited wards which are under bone marrow transplant unit and talked to children and parents whose children have undergone the procedure.

They all expressed gratitude to the government for establishing the services, which has helped a lot to improve the health of their kids.

Earlier in her remarks before inviting the Premier, the Minister for Health, Ummy Mwalimu said procedures were on top gear to upgrade the BMH to become the second National Hospital after the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).

According to the minister, statistics show that globally, every year, 300,000 children are born with Sickle Cell Complications and that in Tanzania each year the number stood at 11,000, out of which 6,000 were receiving medical services at the clinic level.

“Children who are borne with sickle cell undergo pain and experience low blood counts. They also miss classes for several months,” she pointed out.

According to the BMH Managing Director, Dr Alphonce Chandika, Tanzania is placed fourth in the world on the sickle cell disease burden and ranks third in the African continent.

According to Dr Chandika, since the inception of Bone Marrow Transplant services to patients suffering from Sickle Cell complications, already three children have been treated and their health was progressing well.

He said already, the hospital had received over 40 patients who were on the waiting list.

Medical experts say, life expectancy of people suffering from Sickle Cell shows that 50 to 90 per cent die before the age of five.

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