Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children Ummy Mwalimu made the statement yesterday when addressing a press conference at the ministry’s headquarters in Dar es Salaam.
She said the government is striving to ensure that availability of medicines reach 85 per cent by the year 2018. She said there was no a shortage medicines as it was previously reported by the media.
“What happened is that some public hospitals faced a challenge to order and receive the medicines,” she said adding that during that particular period the availability of potential medicines in hospitals was 60 per cent.
“This last Saturday I was at Pangani District Hospital and we found that the medicines availability within that hospital is approximately by 96 per cent,” she added.
Mwalimu said that availability of medicines depends on the geographical location of a specific district. She said that in some places the medicines delay due to transport challenges.
The minister revealed that the government has provided 60bn/- for the purchase of medicines. She said that it is difficult for the country to ensure the availability of medicines by 100 per cent due various factors including the increased population and outbreak of diseases.
In another development, the minister received cervical cancer screening treatment equipment that were donated by Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon (PRRR).
“May I take this opportunity to thank PRRR for handing over the 15 cryotherapy ad one cold coagulator machine for treatment or cervical precancerous lesions,” Mwalimu acknowledged.
The minister confirmed that Tanzania is among the countries with the highest levels of cervical cancer patients.
“There are 51 cervical cancer patients in every 100,000 women while the mortality rate is 38 per 100,000 women. These figures are the highest compared to other countries in the East African Community (EAC)”, Mwalimu said.
In the fight against cervical cancer the ministry plans to scale-up cancer screening and treatments services in10 regions with low coverage.
“In those regions, three councils will be selected and within the councils three facilities will be equipped and their staffs will be trained,” Mwalimu said noting that that there are 90 public health facilities that provide cancer screening and early stages of treatment.
“I am personally committed to an initiative that will enable 2 million Tanzanian women be screened for cervical lesions by 2018,” Mwalimu said.
Chief Executive Officer PRRR, Celina Schocken, said that since its establishment within the country in the year 2013 they have screened 84,000 women for cervical cancer and 7000 women for breast cancer.
“Our priority focus is to strengthen the reproductive health cancer section of your ministry to ensure that the national cervical cancer prevention programme is on a solid path to sustainability,” Schocken said.