The World Health Organisation (WHO) has donated three vehicles and equipment worth 304m/- to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to facilitate a number of programmes being implemented by the government.
The programmes include data management, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and expanded programme of immunisation (EPI).
Speaking in Dar es Salaam at the weekend when handing over the donation, WHO country representative Dr Rufaro Chatora said since 2005 his office has been advocating renewed efforts on preventing and controlling of NTDs.
He said the NTDs are well known to people and these include schistosomiasis, trachoma, onchocerciasis, elephantiasis, rabies and helmintiasis.
Chatora said the diseases were strongly associated with poverty and they frequently overlap geographically, hence people living in affected areas are at risk of contracting two or more of these diseases at the same time.
He mentioned the donated equipment as 18 computer scanners, 42 laptop computers, and 17 personal computers.
Giving more details on the distribution of the donation, the WHO country representative said, two vehicles will go to the National Schistosomiasis Control Programme, another vehicle to NTD onchocerciasis elimination and control activities, specifically in supporting community directed treatment, and 40 laptop computers to data processing operations and information sharing under the EPI.
According to Dr Chatora, one laptop computer will be used to support effective data processing on financing returns for APOC supported funds in five onchocerciasis endemic regions, while the personal computers will be go to district health systems.
“However, we know that all partners are committed to realisation of the goals and targets set in national policy and strategy documents as well as obligations to international goals such as Millennium Development Goals and disease elimination or eradication goals,” he noted.
For his part, Minister for Health and Social Welfare Dr Hussein Mwinyi thanked the WHO, saying it came at a time when beneficiary institutions were in dare need of the support.
He said the support was especially crucial in supporting implementation of the NTD Strategic Plan and the Comprehensive Multi year Plan for EPI services.
“The vehicles and equipment are of great importance to save lives of thousands of Tanzanians, so we would like to assure you that they will be used for their intended purposes and that the ministry will maintain and manage them in accordance with guidelines, as well as planned preventive services for the equipment,” he said, adding:
“We look forward to continue working with the WHO and other partners in providing quality health and social welfare services to our people”.