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MNH saves 30bn/- on oversees referrals

MUHIMBILI National Hospital (MNH) has recorded huge success in the provision of quality and specialised health care services during the four years of President John Magufuli’s reign.

The national health facility has during the period saved over 30bn/- that could have been spent to seek the specialised medication abroad.

MNH Executive Director Professor Lawrence Museru told reporters in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday that in the four years of President Magufuli’s leadership, the institution saved 32,149,930,000/- through introduction of specialised services in the country and invested over 37bn/- in various departments to improve service delivery.

He said when he assumed office on November 5, 2015, President Magufuli made an impromptu visit to the hospital and issued several directives to transform the national facility.

Prof Museru said among others, Dr Magufuli ordered the hospital management to restore the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and CTScan services and ensure patients who were sleeping on the floor were supplied with beds immediately.

The president also directed the hospital to invest in services, which were not available in the country.

Professor Museru said in the past four years, availability of medicines at the national hospital has been improved and patients were currently accessing drugs by 96 per cent against the previous 40 per cent.

“The national health facility is currently spending 1.5bn/- in procuring drugs compared to between 500m/- and 700m/-, which was spent monthly before... this has improved medicine availability at the hospital,” Prof Museru said.

He said the national hospital has made efforts to ensure that patients who were sleeping on the floor were provided with beds, transferring Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) patients from MNH wards and converting the ministry of health’s administration building into wards.

Professor Museru said in executing the presidential directives on specialised services, MNH dispatched health personnel—specialists, nurses, lab technicians, radiologists and gastroenterologists— for long and short-term trainings oversees to acquire essential skills for efficiency service provision.

“The training of our experts has increased the number of Tanzanians with access to specialised services within the country, reducing the cost that the government could have incurred to treat the patients abroad,” he said.

Prof Museru said the referral hospital currently offers highly specialised services like cochlear implant, kidney transplant, interventional radiology and gastroenterology and blood cancer treatment.

He said in 2017 the hospital introduced cochlear implant that has so far benefited 34 patients, “The availability of this service in the country has enabled the government to save 2.05bn/- which could be spent on oversees treatment.”

Prof Museru added that the cost of cochlear implant in the country is 36m/- against the over 100m/- per patient, abroad.

Muhimbili further introduced kidney transplant in 2017, benefiting 51 patients at 1.530bn/-, equivalent to 30m/- per patient.

“The government could have spent 6.120bn/- on all patients if they were treated oversees, our services have therefore saved 4.590bn/-,” Professor Museru said, adding that before introduction of the kidney transplant in the country, only 150 patients were referred abroad for treatment over a 15-year period, equal 10 patients annually.

But, in the past two years, Muhimbili has attended to 34 per cent of all patients attended to during the 15-year period.

The national hospital also introduced interventional radiology services in partnership with experts from Kenya and Yale University in the US, said Professor Museru, adding that 558 patients have been reached with the service at a cost of 2.192bn/- or 8m/- per patient.

“The government could have paid 26.304bn/- or 96m/- per patient if these patients were referred abroad, 24.112bn/- has been saved,” Prof Museru noted.

He said gastroenterology services are available at the hospital and 380 patients have already accessed the services at the cost of 116,820,000/- instead of 1,514,270,000/- which could have been spent abroad, saving 1,397,450,000/-.

Tanzanians were also accessing from the health facility blood cancer treatment, including diagnosis and primary medication.

Professor Museru said the hospital is finalising processes for provision of bone marrow transplant by end of next month or early next year.

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