Why Mwinyi teamed up with NBC in building Kizimkazi Health Centre

COMMUNITY health centres across the country are specifically established to provide care in underserved communities for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. In other words, they “increase the citizens’ access to crucial primary care by reducing barriers such as cost, lack of insurance, distance and language for their patients.”

These community health centres assist people of many ages and backgrounds, including children, veterans, people living in rural areas, farmworkers, and homeless people that is why President Hussein Ali Mwinyi of Zanzibar officially launching the construction of the Kizimkazi Health Centre in Unguja’s South Region deserves praise.

In quick analysis, the groundbreaking project worth 4.4 billion that is a collaborative effort between the government and the National Bank of Commerce (NBC), with the objective of enhancing healthcare services for the local population, not only answers the authority’s role but also shows how the country is embracing the private sector as a development partner in the islands.

The momentous launch event that took place as part of the Kizimkazi Festival 2023 launch in the Isles over the weekend that began with the symbolic laying of the foundation stone at the project site, is a clear testimony that financial intuitions have also seen the essence of using money in their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) for the benefit of the communities, where they operate.

During the occasion, distinguished attendees including Zanzibar Deputy Minister for Health, Hassan Hafidh, South Region of Unguja Regional Commissioner (RC), Rashid Hadidi, NBC Managing Director Theobald Sabi and other senior officials from the bank , as well as local residents were eager to witness the historic occasion talking in one voice of building Zanzibar.

During his address, President Mwinyi expressed his deep appreciation for NBC Bank’s significant contribution of 400m/- towards the overall budget of 4.4bn/- for the remarkable project. He highlighted the government’s long-term vision of establishing state-of-the-art healthcare facilities in areas with high demand for medical services, such as Tumbatu, Fuoni and Kizimkazi.

“Our immediate focus is to develop robust healthcare infrastructure, followed closely by efforts to ensure an adequate supply of skilled healthcare professionals and cutting-edge medical equipment.

The Kizimkazi Health Centre is one of three specialised healthcare centres that we are planning to construct in Zanzibar,” emphasised President Mwinyi.

He further added, “I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our valued development partners, including NBC Bank, for their unwavering commitment and support in realising this important project. It is my sincere hope that we will have the privilege of inaugurating the completed Kizimkazi Health Centre during next year’s Kizimkazi Festival.”

On his part, Mr Hafidh underscored the profound impact that the completed health centre would have on the community, estimating that it would cater to approximately 8,000 patients simultaneously. The centre will offer a comprehensive range of services, including clinics, maternity care, laboratory testing, dental services, X-ray examinations, and ultrasound examinations.

“This health centre is not only destined to uplift the overall health of the community but will also prove instrumental in providing critical support to expectant mothers during childbirth, as well as offering exceptional care to outpatients and inpatients,” emphasised Hafidh.

Speaking at the event, the MD of NBC bank, Mr Sabi stated that the project is part of the bank’s ongoing strategy to collaborate with the government in solving various challenges facing the community, including health care challenges.

“We believe that this centre will provide better healthcare services to women and children in Kizimkazi and surrounding areas. Furthermore, through our collaboration with the AMREF Africa in Tanzania, we have managed to improve maternal health. We have helped increase access to medical equipment in various hospitals in Zanzibar, especially for women during childbirth,” he noted.

According to Sabi, in addition to the construction of the health centre, the bank has been involved in various development projects in the area, including the construction of nursery school classrooms, the purchase of office furniture for the residents’ Saccos, and in 2021, the bank initiated the Mobile Clinic project through which it has been able to provide healthcare services to over 4,000 pregnant women.

The bank’s formidable efforts in the healthcare sector come just days after the successful NBC Dodoma Marathon, which raised over TZS 500 million to support education and combat cervical cancer, the leading cause of death among women in Tanzania. Furthermore, the funds raised will contribute to improving the training of midwives, thereby safeguarding the lives of mothers and infants during childbirth.

In addition to inaugurating the health centre, President Mwinyi had the opportunity to visit NBC Bank’s exhibition booth among others located at the Paje grounds in the Southern District of South Region, Unguja, where the Kizimkazi Festival launch was held.

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