Military facility gearing up for medical tourism

29Jul 2021
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Military facility gearing up for medical tourism

TANZANIA has positioned itself as a regional hub for medical tourism following the unveiling yesterday of a state-of-the-art 10.5bn/- infectious diseases wing of the Lugalo Military Hospital in Dar es Salaam.

The wing, constructed and equipped by a German military detachment, will be offering specialized and rapid diagnostic services not available in a number of neighbouring countries, President Samia Suluhu Hassan affirmed yesterday.

She said at the launching of the Infection Disease Department (IDD) held at the military hospital that the new facility will improve the country's capacity to fight infectious diseases, with the ceremony marking the launching of ten military projects in the two parts of the Union.

Constructing the IDD reflected the government's long-term desire to invest in specialized healthcare services, the president noted, citing cardiovascular services in particular, noting that specialised services will promote the country's abilities regionally, attracting visitors seeking advanced healthcare.

Since 2017, business between Tanzania and Germany has been growing apace, reaching $320m in total trade volume, with Germany having invested 1.6bn/- worth in projects, offering job opportunities to 14,850 local people.

“I would like to thank the German government for its support to ensure that health services are world-class,” she said, underlining that the government will ensure that TPDF procures modern defence systems and the cadre enjoys improved benefits.

Dr Dorothy Gwajima, the minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children said the IDD facility marks a great achievement in combating Covid-19, cancer and the Ebola viral disease, as it will improve diagnostic services and promote medical tourism.

Home Affairs minister George Simbachawene said that the IDD was built by the German Armed Forces Technical Advisory Group (GAFTAG), with construction starting in April last year. It has been installed with modern instrument to make it world-class with a capacity to diagnose serious infectious diseases like Ebola and Covid-19, he explained.

“Our facility is a world class unit as Covid-19 and Ebola samples can be diagnosed within a few hours,” he stated.

The unit has a number of components, as depending on the nature of medical assistance needed it can sometimes be turned into a mobile hospital to serve people outside the camp.

It can serve for diagnosis of disease, isolation centre in cases of severity when diseases like Covid-19 are involved, and premium services when the situation stabilises, he elaborated.

German ambassador Regine Hess said Germany intends to put up a similar project in Dodoma in a few years. Implementation of the project shows true commitment of Germany for Tanzania, as the relationship between the two countries spans several decades, she added.

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