How a Tanzanian abroad repays the sacrifice made by fellow countrymen

As he enjoyed dinner with his friends one evening at his home country after being away in Australia for some time Dr Joseph Masika (Medal of the Order of Australia) requested to visit any nearby hospital and make a donation as it is his passion.

His host suggested that they visit Y ombo V ituka Health Centre, which by then it had a few buildings with a labour ward in bad shape.

As he stepped into a shabby-looking building that was the labour room, his heart was saddened as he saw the ward has no ultrasound and one of the maternity beds that mothers gave birth on, being supported by plastic buckets.

Thinking of mothers who undergo excruciating pain during birth have to go through it with such equipment, broke his heart. Distraught as he witnessed this, is when he requested the health centre’s management to sit and provide a list of what is needed to improve the situation.

“From today I will be donating to this health centre,” he firmly promised. “That is when I decided to meet the Board of Management of the Health Centre and on behalf of the Australian-Tanzanian Service Foundation, I promised to help them in transforming the centre,” Dr Masika said.

Speaking to this paper, the Assistant Medical Officer of Y ombo V ituka Health Centre Dr Mainda Zayumba said that Dr Masika and his foundation “have been a great help to our health centre and others who have benefited. He is, indeed, transforming the health centre.”

The Australian-Tanzanian Services Foundation Inc. (ATSFI), has donated over US dollars 40,000 worth of medical equipment to Temeke Hospital and Yombo Vituka Health Centre within Temeke District Council in Dar es Salaam Region, she revealed.

A total of 267 pieces of 37 different medical equipment including Complete Theatre Anesthetic Unit, Gurneys (stretcher with legs and wheels), dental chairs, hospital beds and their mattresses, have been donated to the hospital, said Dr Zayumba.

“We are grateful for the donation, especially because it has come at the right time. The theater building has just been completed and it can be used as the donation has come with complete theater equipment,” she remarked, adding: “Our theatre room is now complete with the needed equipment; we are just waiting for them to be installed and expect that by the first of July, it will be operational. The remaining equipments will be used once the expansion of the health center is completed.”

ATSFI has also donated over 15 computers which will enable the health center to join the national government network system of registering patients, dubbed GoT-HoMIS (Health Data Collaborative).

“We would have incurred great expense in acquiring the computers but now it is easy as we are just waiting for the installations to be completed and every department will have its own computer, and we will also start serving patients using GoT-HoMIS,” stated Dr Zayumba.

She explained further that the foundation through Dr Joseph Masika, (Medal of the Order of Australia), who visits the hospital frequently noticed the electricity problem and promised to donate a solar system to power the center whenever electricity supply interruptions occurred.

“We cannot afford to purchase our own generator at the moment, but Dr Masika asked us to send specifications of the solar system we need and has promised to donate it through his foundation in the near future,” she said.

“We are grateful to Dr Masika and his foundation for all the donations we have received; he is a fellow Tanzanian who is proud of his country and does not hold back in giving back to the community.”

This is the second time the health center has received donations from Dr Masika. “The first time we were able to share the donation with Temeke, Muhimbili N ational Hospital (MNH), and Mwananyamala hospitals.”

The first 40 feet container received had ten computers, five ultrasounds, beds and their mattresses, patient monitor, office chairs, and wheel chairs, just to mention some. Most of these hospital equipment were distributed to other hospitals as well.

“When he came to visit the hospital and we were able to account the usage of the donations. He was delighted and promised to offer more help as he witnessed we were extending the hospital building,” Dr Zayumba said.

A lot of people depend on external assistance, “but Dr Masika is our fellow Tanzanian. He normally says that ‘I studied using tax collected from the society and I must repay the sacrifice.”

The White Ribbon Ambassador Dr Masika appealed to all Tanzanians in Diaspora to use their inherent social capital values to pool resources to support basic infrastructure and services such as classrooms and education facilities, health equipment and access to clean water and electricity to communities in Tanzania.

“I encourage every Tanzanian to support President John Magufuli’s dedication and commitment towards improving the health and quality of life of the community. The President has made all Tanzanians living abroad proud. We pray for him to continue with the good work.”

He explained that ATSFI is a nonprofit organization that he and Professor Lillian Mwanri (both Tanzanians), established in 2010 and operating in Australia.

The Foundation was established to complement the services and initiatives of government of the Republic of Tanzania towards reaching the national and international development targets, including Sustainable Development Goal to reduce maternal deaths by 75 percent by 2030.

ATSFI believes that the donated equipments will contribute significantly to the provision of health services from the grass root level, improving the health and wellbeing of Tanzanians.

This is not the only thing Dr Masika has been able to do. The Costs for the medical equipment sent to various districts Hospital in Tanzania started from 2012, forty Feet Medical Equipment Container to Siha Hospital including Ambulance; worth US dollars 95,200.

In 2014, another forty Feet Medical Equipment Container to Rufiji Hospitals worth US Dollars 45,750, in 2016, he sent a forty Feet medical equipment to Temeke Hospital and Yombo Vituka Hospital worth US Dollars 36, 175; and in 2018, forty Feet medical equipment to Temeke Hospital and Yombo Vituka Hospital worth US Dollars 42,135.

He explained that all the donations were free of charge to Tanzania and included the shipping costs from Adelaide Australia to Dar Port in Tanzania.

Dr Masika who will be visiting the country in October this year said that he has to support the Yombo Vituka Health Center with solar Panels Power worth of US Dollars 15,000.

“All I do to my Fellow Tanzanians in Tanzania is inspired by words of our founding father that, ‘N obody is asking us to love others more than we love ourselves; but for those of us who have been lucky enough to receive a good education we have a duty also to help improve the wellbeing of the community to which we belong; it’s a part of loving ourselves’.”

The Temeke Municipal Chief Medical Officer Dr Gwamaka Mwabulambo said that Dr Masika and the foundation have been of great help to the hospitals in the Temeke Municipal.

“They have been donating to the hospitals for some time and of recent we have received a 40 feet container filled with modern medical equipment for Yombo Vituka health Center.”

He recalled that last year the foundation also donated a 40 feet container filled with medical equipment to Temeke Hospital and Yombo Vituka health Center with one Ultrasound machine that was located to MNH.

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