Disease Outbreak News

The World Health Organization hands over 21 Vehicles to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and PMORALG to strengthen referral and supervision services

The WHO Representative, Dr. Rufaro Chatora and the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Hon.Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi signing certificates of transfer
The WHO Representative, Dr. Rufaro Chatora and the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Hon.Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi signing certificates of transfer

On the 3rd December 2013, the WHO Country Office handed over to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare vehicles to strengthen District Health Services and improve referral systems initially focusing on the peer learning districts. The 21 vehicles handed over are worth a total of USD 846,385.45 equivalent to Tanzanian Shillings 1,359,295,033.

The handing over ceremony which took place at the Ministry of Health premises, was presided over by the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Hon. Dr. Hussein Mwinyi; the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Seif Rashid; the Ag. Permanent Secretary and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Donan Mmbando; the Deputy Permanent Secretary in Prime Minister’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PMORALG), Dr. Deodatus Mtasiwa; Directors and Programme Officers from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and PMORALG; Representatives from the Districts; the World Health Organization Representative for Tanzania, Dr. Rufaro Chatora; Representative from UNFPA, Ms. Mariam Khan; WHO staff and members of the media.

In his handing over speech, the WHO Representative, Dr. Rufaro Chatora, highlighted factors hampering smooth provision of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health services to include: inadequate qualified health workers, and limited availability of ambulances, equipment, medicines and other commodities. Elaborating on the rationale for the support, Dr. Chatora said, “We recognize that effective referral systems and supportive supervision are important pillars in ensuring quality health care services. We recognize the need for technical supervisors from central level of MOHSW and PMORALG to travel to the regions and local authorities to ensure service provision is done according to national guidelines. Experts from referral hospitals also need to provide mentorship and support to hospital and health centre staff. We also recognize the need for improving the ambulance fleet to ferry referred patients. This approach works.”

He further explained that “the 18 Ambulances will contribute to improving referral systems especially for Emergency Obstetric, Newborn and Child care in 18 health facilities. The three (3) vehicles will facilitate supportive supervision by the Coordinating Units in the MOHSW and PMORALG”. He concluded by reassuring WHO and the UN’s commitment to work with partners to support the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to improve health service delivery in the country.

Similar remarks were echoed by the UNFPA Representative, Ms. Mariam Khan, who was also present to hand over 4 ambulances to support referral services for Emergency Obstetric, Newborn and Child care in Shinyanga Region.

In his acceptance speech, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare Hon. Dr. Hussein Mwinyi highlighted achievements made so far in improving maternal, newborn and child health care services and the remarkable reductions of under-five child mortality. Citing challenges that still remain in reducing maternal deaths, the Minister said that the vehicles handed over will strengthen provision of referral services and complement the country’s efforts in realising the Millennium Development Goal number 5. The Minister went on further to mention the health facilities receiving the support to include: District Hopitals in Mbeya, Babati, Ilemela, Ludewa, Chato, Bukombe, Chuya and Moshi and Health Centres in Same, Rufiji, Ismani, Misenyi, Meatu, Kondoa, Muleba, Meru, Mbogwe, Bariadi, Kishapu and Njombe. He concluded by expressing appreciation to the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNFPA for the timely support to the people of Tanzania and assured that the vehicles will be maintained and used for the intended purposes.