THE Tanzanian government and the private sector have teamed up to put in place enhanced health services and precautions as the tourism season starts with tourists jetting into the country.
Having received the first passenger plane on Monday evening, the government has facilitated and enhanced services at Arusha Lutheran Medical Center (ALMC) in Arusha, Mawenzi Regional Referral Hospital in Kilimanjaro and set some camps in northern zone national parks as emergency response centres for susceptible Coronavirus cases.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Hamisi Kigwangala (pictured) and the Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children, Dr Godwin Mollel, say they are satisfied with enhanced preparations and facilities at the designated hospitals and centres.
They made a tour at ALMC yesterday morning, saw the emergency rooms, wards as well as those set for dialysis and ambulances fully equipped with necessary equipment that meet the standards required by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and were guided and briefed by the ALMC Director, Dr Paul Kisanga, and the Head of Emergency Services, Dr Peter Mabula.
The initiative has been made in collaboration with Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO). Dr Kisanga said the heightened preparatory measures will ensure safety and healthy stay of tourists and if it happens there was any case of Covid-19, it would be handled properly and ensure the tourists end their tour and return home safely.
“We are well prepared to handle professionally and at the highest standards any cases of coronavirus suspects here as we are well equipped and have specialists in the area; So when they are brought in here, they, their families and friends should rest. assured that they are in safe hands and will leave fully recovered,” said Dr Kisanga.
Dr Mabula revealed that the ambulances are of state-of-the-art standard in that they are equipped to serve patients before they reach designated hospitals and there is a separation between where suspects or patients lie and the drivers while service providers will be in special Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
He said they also had 46 well trained traffic police on trauma management. He said in any eventuality, patients will be taken good care of and brought to the hospital as soon as possible for further treatment and possible referrals.
Dr Kigwangala expressed gratitude to the Lutheran Church and management of ALMC as well as to TATO for their efforts in ensuring that tourists are protected and are safe and that many more now know that Tanzania is a safe destination and will be coming over in big numbers.
“We are satisfied by the efforts taken; The facilities are in good shape, and we have enough equipment and staff who are capable of serving tourists efficiently. “The world should know that we are now receiving tourists and expect more in the coming days. As medical doctors, we have seen the facilities at the designated hospitals and centres with all emergency response specialists for different diseases, including Covid-19,” said Dr Kigwangala.
He assured prospective tourists of a safe stay, safaris and enjoyment on beaches and that isolation camps had been established and are well equipped; There are mobile clinics at tourist hotspots, with helicopter services to fly susceptible cases to designated hospitals.
“We have everything needed in place–the well-equipped designated hospitals, isolation centres and camps in tourist hotspots and helicopter ambulances to fly them from wherever they are and bring them to the designated hospitals. We have competent personnel in emergency services and in general services as well. We are ready and have started receiving tourists,” said the minister.
The minister said that Covid- 19 cases had dropped so much so that the thing is no more a pandemic but rather endemic as the government, through President John Magufuli intervention initiatives, have flattened the curve after a short period.
The northern tourism zone attracts the highest percentage of tourists who tour the country. He said some people had initially panicked when the disease emerged, but given the assurance of quality services, the panic has eased considerably.
Dr Mollel, who was recently appointed by the president to replace Dr Faustine Ndungulile, said the country was safe and tourists would get special health care in precautionary as well as treatment spheres.