Tanzania: health budget to improve mental health, specialized medical services

ZANZIBAR plans to build a new Mental Illness Hospital in Kinyasini suburb of Pemba and introduce the National Center of Excellence for Superspecialized Medical Services.

Health Minister Nassor Ahmed Mazrui told the House of Representatives yesterday that the ministry also plans to set up the national blood transfusion center and massively renovate Wete hospital.

Moving the ministry’s 2022/2023 budget forecast, Minister Mazrui briefed the chamber on plans to launch and ensure that all levels of service delivery meet the ministry’s certified guidelines and national standards.

The minister said that under the curative program, the ministry will spend more than 90 billion/- or 58.7% of the total budget of 154 billion/- to fund curative services and projects.

Apart from building industries for manufacturing medicines and medical devices, the ministry will also set up a special program of health services for tourists.

Minister Nassor told the house that Zanzibar had 7,721 people – 2,241 men and 4,944 women – living with HIV/AIDS, with 7,111, or 99% of all victims, taking antiretrovirals (ARVs).

Between July 2021 and March 2022, a total of 252,807 people – 138,625 women and 114,182 men were tested for HIV/AIDS, of which 1,759 or 0.6% – 1,180 women and 579 men – tested positive .

However, 7,721 people – 5,318 women and 2,403 men – living with HIV/AIDS are on antiretrovirals (ARVs) in 14 clinics in Unguja (10) and Pemba (four).

The minister said 35,007 pregnant women came to antenatal clinics for the first time and were tested for HIV/AIDS, of whom 263, or 0.7 percent, tested positive. They have all been initiated on ARVs.

During the period, 101 infants born to HIV-positive mothers were tested and eight of them tested positive

The minister said 22,686 people – 18,964 women and 3,726 men were tested for hepatitis B, of which 241 – 89 women and 152 men – tested positive in Unguja and Pemba.

Minister Mazrui further said that 8,241 islanders – 2,979 women and 5,262 men have been tested for Hepatitis C, of ​​which 34 or 0.2% tested positive. There were also 1,090 TB patients in Unguja and Pemba.

He said plans were underway to spend more than 34 billion/- which represents 22.3% of the total budget for health prevention and awareness services.

Under this program, the ministry intends to build capacity and preparedness to fight epidemics and health calamities; and boosting the delivery of primary health services at the district level.

On the malaria situation in the country, the Minister said that 636,131 people – 550,752 in Unguja and 85,379 in Pemba – visited various hospitals and health centers during the period July 2021-March 2022, with 2,780 patients who tested positive for the deadly disease.

Areas with high malaria cases were identified as Urban District B, followed by Urban District in Urban West, with Mkoani District of Pemba ranked with the lowest rate of infections.

The House Welfare Committee has denounced the acute shortage of medical workers and devices in many hospitals across the country, challenging the government to address the problem.

The chairman of the committee, Mr. Mohamed Ahmada Salum called on the government to allocate sufficient funds to Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, the country’s reference establishment to improve services to the wananchi.