Through TASAF, Njombe residents are healthier

WHEN Jaffari was bitten by a snake that night, it was luck that his neighbour had a visitor spending the night, and the visitor came with a car.

Where Jaffari lives, the nearest hospital was about 10 kilometers away, and according to the doctor, he wouldn’t have made it if he had used other means of transportation.

Jaffari, a resident of Ramadhani village, Ramadhani Ward in Njombe region says that he believes the day for his demise had not arrived, although he says that the distance to the nearest hospital would have contributed to his end.

Recently, Jaffari was faced with another challenge early in the morning when he was preparing to go to work, when suddenly his pregnant wife told him that she felt as if the baby was ready to come out

This time round there was no visitor with a car at his neighbour’s house to save the situation, but Jaffari was not worried, because just a few meters from where he lives there was a new dispensary.

Evariste Mwimba, the Ramadhani Village Chairman says that after facing several challenges, in 2017 the residents held a meeting and a call was made on the importance of having a dispensary in their area.

He says this call was made because Ramadhani Ward with more than 10,000 residents was faced with a challenge of lack of a health facility.

He says after coming up with that resolution, they presented their request to municipal council and handed it over to Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF) representatives so that they could find a solution.

“We thank God that the following year in 2018 Tasaf started construction of the dispensary, which rescued residents like Jaffari from walking for a long distance in search of health services,” he says.

He thanked Tasaf for implementation of the project, saying that apart from the dispensary, Tasaf is also in the process of constructing houses for the health workers of the health facility.

Dr Rehema Omary, the Ramadhani Dispensary Doctor in Charge says that the dispensary has four workers and a general doctor and offers various services, catering to about 20 to 25 patients per day.

She says that before Tasaf constructed the dispensary, residents faced serious challenges, because the health facility which was there could not meet their needs.

“The presence of this dispensary has brought a great impact to the residents, because they receive services in a relaxed and private manner because the facility is spacious unlike the previous one,” she says.

To pull health services closer to the people, Tasaf was also prompted to construct another dispensary in Wikichi area, Ramadhani Ward in Njombe region, which Odeni Luwiyiso Kiwale, the village chairman, terms as a miracle.

He says because they faced similar challenges, in 2019 Wikichi residents decided that they need a health facility in the area, that is why the residents decided to raise their voices, which was heard by Tasaf.

“Tasaf dished out 89 m/- for the construction of a dispensary, which began in August 2020 and by July 2021 the job was complete, and services started officially in September of the same year,” he says.

He says that before Tasaf constructed the health facility, they used to rely on a small, rented house, which presented inconveniences to the residents.

Mr Kiwale says that apart from constructing the modern health facility, Tasaf is also in the process of constructing a modern two in one house for health workers at the dispensary so that residents can receive 24-hour services.

Residents of Kitisi Ward, Makambako District in Njombe region are also giving positive feedback on Tasaf after construction of a similar dispensary in their area.

“To be honest the presence of this dispensary is encouraging, because there is nothing as important as having health services closer to home,” says Ms. Navy Sanga, the Kitisi Ward Councillor.

She however says that because of the high number of pregnancy cases in Kitisi Ward, the residents have requested the government through Tasaf to construct a residential house for the health workers and a maternity ward which will cater for the women.

She says that because of lack of a residential house for the dispensary workers, services are offered until evening when the centre is closed, saying that with availability of accommodation, these services can go for 24 hours.

“I really thank Tasaf for what they have done in my ward, because apart from constructing the dispensary, they are completing a girl’s hostel which is not far from the dispensary,” she said.

Grace Ngole, a nurse at the Kitisi Dispensary, says that before it was constructed in 2020, the residents had to endure walking for long distances to seek for medical services, which is now a thing of the past.

She says that apart from catering for Kitisi residents, the other residents from out of the Ward rely on the dispensary which serves more than 300 patients per month, because it is the nearest so far.

Eliud Mkigombaki, the Makambako Municipal Council Planning Officer, speaking on behalf of the Municipal Director Kenneth Haule says that so far Tasaf has constructed five dispensaries in Makambako District, which has eased provision of health services to the residents.

“All these health centres have staff operating, but the only challenge so far is staff housing, which is in the process of being taken care of,” he said.

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