Alarm as lung-related diseases top killing list

20Jan 2019
The Guardian Reporter
Guardian On Sunday
Alarm as lung-related diseases top killing list

LUNG diseases have been identified as the major killer dieases in the country, a report released yesterday by the Minister for Health, Community Developmnet, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ummy Mwalimu, said.

“Lung diseases accounted for 18.2 per cent of all dealths last year compared to 12.9 per cent in 2017,” the report on the status of the health sector in 2018 said.

It said at least 2,590 Tanzanians died from lung-related diseases last year, with 1,269 children dying owing to lack of oxygyen while 1,253 of them died due to cardiac arrest-related diseases.

The top three killer diseases, according to the report, were indicated in the list of the top ten killer diseses in the country for last year.

The list also includes still-born deaths, coming fourth with 766 dealths; malaria ranking fifth position with 693 dealths, while HIV and Aids ranked sixth with 605 dealths. Other diseases had relatively smaller numbers of deaths.

According to a World Bank 2015 report, the country had managed to strengthen its primary health care, with a strong focus on the country’s Big Results Now in health initiative.

The 10-year initiative aims to improve maternal, neonatal and child health in poor regions with the highest burden by strengthening performance, governance and accountability in the country’s primary health care system.

The programme’s strong focus on boosting services for mothers, infants and young children in poor communities will significantly improve health outcomes, allowing families to benefit from the economic and welfare gains of better health.

For the past 10 years since 2015 the country has successfully reduced death rates in younger age groups and surpassed the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) related to child mortality. 

Howerver, Mwalimu said on Friday that statistics collected through DHIS2 revealed that there were 20,087 dealths in 2018 compared to 19,693 in 2017.

She said in the same period the country had recorded good results in the availability of medicine and healthcare services.

“There is great improvement in the availability of medicine in all health centres in the country,” she said.

According to her, this has been a result of an increase in the health budget to Sh270bn in 2018/19 fiscal year, from Sh31bn in 2015/16.

The said in 2015 only 46 per cent of health centres in the country had access to medicine and health care services as the country enjoyed an 89 per cent in access to health services by last year.

According to the minister, the health ministry was undertaking a 2016-2020 health initiative that aims at improving mother-and-child health.

„This intitaive also aims at ensuring that health services move closer to the public to easily access them,” she said, adding that this would also reduce maternal dealths to a large extent.

She said the areas that have been given priority include delivery centres, improving services to expectant women, under-five children as well as HIV/Aids mother-to-child transmission prevention .

The minister said through the 90-90-90 health initiative aiming to come up with 90 per cent of the people living with HIV/Aids by 2020 will help to scale down infection to a greater extent by availing patients with antiretroviral drugs.

 “At least 1,500,000 Tanzanias are expected to be infected with the virus by 2020,” the minister said.