DODOMA: The Tanzanian government has allocated 4 billion shillings for the treatment of 20 children grappling with sickle cell disease through bone marrow transplant services.
This was revealed on Thursday by the Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu, following President Samia’s visit to the Benjamin Mkapa Hospital, where she inquired about the well-being of three children who had undergone the procedure.
Minister Ummy stated that the allocated funds will be utilized to treat an additional 13 children, supplementing the initial seven, starting from January to June 2024.
President Samia visited three children on Thursday, namely Grace Hosea (8), Elisha John (11), and Isack Kedmond (10), all of whom have successfully recovered from sickle cell disease.
This marks a significant milestone as it represents the inaugural treatment since the initiation of bone marrow transplant services at the Benjamin Mkapa Zonal Referral Hospital in Dodoma.
The cost of a bone marrow transplant at BMH ranges between 50 million and 55 million shillings per patient, compared to being done outside the country at over 120 million shillings.
While the bone marrow transplant treatment costs approximately 65 million shillings, research indicates that the funds allocated for a child with sickle cell disease could cover the service for only five years.
Speaking to the children, President Samia expressed satisfaction with their recovery and encouraged them to maintain a healthy lifestyle while excelling in their studies to become specialists in sickle cell disease.
Furthermore, President Samia announced that the government has allocated an additional 9 billion shillings to the hospital for the training of specialized doctors capable of providing super-specialized services.
Parents of children who have undergone the bone marrow transplant procedure expressed gratitude to President Samia for the substantial financial support to the hospital, ensuring free medical care for children afflicted with sickle cell disease.