ZANZIBAR: ZANZIBAR has signed an agreement with the Exim Bank of Republic of Korea for 163.6 million US dollars (about 409.8bn/-) loan for constructing a modern college hospital for both teaching and referrals.
The new facility is expected to be constructed at Binguni area in Unguja Central district.
The loan for the project has been guaranteed by the Union government.
Speaking at the signing ceremony recently, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Finance Ministry of the Union government, Ms Amina Khamis Shaaban said that was an admirable move in implementation of the project, which is among Zanzibar’s priorities.
She explained here that the Zanzibar government requested the Union government to help secure the loan from South Korea. “Fortunately it has been successful. We urge executives to use the funds as planned.” She noted.
In addition, she said, although the loan is 163.6 million US dollars, the total cost of the huge project is about 190.0 million US dollars.
The funding is for construction of buildings for the modern referral hospital and training centre for medical doctors.
“This project is important for the government and the people of Zanzibar and Tanzania in general, and if successful, I believe the burden of treating patients abroad will be reduced,” she said.
Dr Marijani Msafiri, Director for Department of Prevention under the Ministry of Health in Zanzibar, said the project was very important for Zanzibar because Mnazi Mmoja referral hospital has limited space for patients and training.
He said the biggest problem for the Zanzibar Ministry of Health is the high cost of transporting patients to Tanzania Mainland and abroad for treatment.
“We have agreement with three referral special medical centres in mainland: Muhimbili National Hospital, MOI, and the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute.” Explained Dr Msafiri.
He also said the Zanzibar government was spending a lot of money to send patients to India, therefore having a modern health facility will definitely help the Island in minimizing costs as most of the patients will be treated at home (Zanzibar).
Dr Msafiri said the planned new hospital at Binguni will have more than 500 beds, modern medical services to treat spine, kidney and brain, Cardiology unit, and modern health centre for children complications.
On her part, the Executive Secretary of the Zanzibar Planning Commission, Ms Rahma Salum, said the signing of the agreement was timely for the strategic project in Zanzibar, officially starting next year- 2024.