Israeli doctors toconduct rural health outreach programmes in Tanzania

28Jan 2020
Marc Nkwame
The Guardian
Israeli doctors toconduct rural health outreach programmes in Tanzania

MEDICAL experts from Israel have expressed interest to return into the country and work with the government in the provision of health services in remote areas.

Dr Naiz Majani

The development came after a team of cardiologists and other medical attendants from Israel visited Karatu and Ngorongoro districts  in Arusha under the invitation of President John Magufuli who was impressed with the team’s previous volunteering work in various parts of the country.

Dr Asa Sagi who led the delegation of 23 medical experts from the Middle East, said they have seen for themselves how people in rural Tanzania live; “Many are located far away from medical facilities with some parts challenged by inadequate transport infrastructure,” he pointed out.

The team could not make it to Ndutu   in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, where they were to witness spectacular wildebeests’ breeding season, because the pounding rain had cut off road communication at ‘golini’ area.

However, they enjoyed the game-drive inside the Ngorongoro Crater where they saw all the ‘Big Five’ species of animals including the rare and endangered rhinos that are free roaming around the caldera.

The team took time to visit villages in Karatu, as well as the native Maasai co-existing harmoniously with wildlife in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. After their three-day tour of Arusha, the Israeli doctors promised to be good tourism ambassadors of Tanzania in the Middle-East.

The cardiologists from the Save a Child's Heart (SACH) organization of Wolfson Medical Centre, have been volunteering in Tanzania since 2015 conducting heart surgeries at Bugando Referral Hospital in Mwanza and the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI), in Dar es Salaam.

President Magufuli who had previously met the medical experts at the State House, saluted the cardiologists from Israel for their commitment to saving the lives of Tanzanian children, as well as the Israeli government for its support for the mission.

For his part, Dr Naiz Majani of the Jakaya Kikwete Heart Institute who accompanied the team to Arusha, said the doctors were concerned by the way the Maasai lived as some of their housing structures posed health hazards.

“They live in windowless huts sometimes sharing the abodes with goats and sheep, plus the open fire which puff out thick smoke, this is not good for their respiratory systems,” he pointed out.

Dr Majani revealed that more than 300 children benefitted from cardiovascular services offered by the volunteering Israel doctors, with 70 of them being referred for further treatment in Jerusalem.

Overall nearly 800 patients with various heart complications in Tanzania have so far benefited from cardiovascular services offered by cardiologists from SACH since 1999.

Last year, in April 2019 more than 1000 tourists from Israel after completing their week-long itinerary in Tanzania also got impressed by rural settlements they have witnessed in the country during their trip here.

The leader of the group, Hagit Geffen said they were impressed by Tanzanians’ ways of life as most of them seem to live in rural areas far away from towns and cities and still the government manages to reach out to all these places, providing electricity, water and other essential services.

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