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Minister, MP, call for solar powered rural health clinics

7th February 2013
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Special Seats MP, Zainabu Vullu (CCM)

Energy supply in rural areas has long been an issue of much concern in the country but with advanced technology a solution maybe at hand. It has been suggested that government sets up photovoltaic solar power systems for rural-based health clinics across the country.

Special Seats MP, Zainabu Vullu (CCM) made the suggestion yesterday in the House of Assembly.

“…solar power will provide a solution for the thousands of expectant mothers who are forced to deliver under the dim and harmful kerosene lamps placing both their lives and that of their babies at risk…” Vullu lamented.

In his response, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Aggrey Mwanri, admitted that most of the rural-based health clinics in Tanzania have no connection to the National power grid leaving many a pregnant woman to deliver in the dark.

“I agree with the MP’s proposal... the challenge is real, it is serious and it is the government’s intention to ensure that all women deliver in decent places…” Mwanri pledged but stopped short of listing the steps they have so far taken if they are to keep their promise of power supply to rural medical centres across the country.

“…I have travelled across the country and witnessed the situation...” said the deputy and again offering no clear way forward to avert the situation but he did offer a general call of action in form of inter-agency collaboration

“…I take this opportunity to ask MPs and other partners to team up and work on the challenge…”

However the MP’s did not let the deputy off easy, on a different but related matter, Kisarawe MP, Jafo Seleman Jafo questioned progress on yet another pending government pledge, the plan to build a maternity ward at the Mzenga Health Centre, the minister said  the government was fully aware of the health services challenges in Kisarawe District, Coast Region.

This time around though, the deputy had a promising response but it was again not specific or direct. The deputy reported that the government in collaboration with people of Kisarawe, is in the final stages of completing the construction process of a maternity ward but not at the Mzenga Medical Centre as questioned but at another centre, the Maneromango Health Centre.

Progress at the Mzenga Health Centre was the question posed to the deputy and to which his response was again vague lacking figures, time limit and jurisdiction. The deputy simply stated that the government plans to allocate what he termed as ‘enough’ funds in the 2013/14 for the Mzenga Health Centre.

The struggling district of Kisarawe has only three ambulances to serve its thousands of residents which is the case across the country and even though infant mortality rate is down and more mothers survive child birth the situation is still appalling at 460 deaths per 100,000 live births (2010).

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN