Yes, health care must be improved


IT has come to light that the health sector is keen on improving data collection. It intends to overboard the old-fashioned paper work system which is a fragmented, erratic and energy sapping procedure that frustrates stakeholders.

Indeed, this is wonderful news. The system, which is digital, is tailored to enable different types of data collection tools ‘speak’ the same language unlike the current procedure whereby statistics are in disarray.

It is hats off to the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children. It is imperative, however, to mention here that this noble initiative should go hand in hand with a critical quest to improve all-round health service provision in the country.

Indeed, health service is in tatters in state dispensaries, health centres and hospitals. A few months ago the government embarked upon fresh recruitment of about 3,000 new medical workers.

The move, the government said was designed to seal the gaps left open after the dismissal of public servants, including medical workers, with fake certificates. The government dismissed about 10,000 public servants last April in connection with possession of fake academic documents.

It was determined that a large number of the fake document holders were unscrupulous medical cheats and outright quacks. The state has also called upon the private health sector to join hands with it in its efforts to employ only qualified medical professionals.

Health workers are engaged only after painstakingly assessing applicants’ professional credentials. This is a commendable move. The upshot here is to weed out any remaining cheats and quacks in the medical profession.

Indeed, before the clean-up, medical facilities, including government dispensaries and health centres harboured medical workers who held questionable medical knowledge or skills. This unfortunate scenario had been, by and large, brought about by the prevailing shortage of medical workers and other professional paraphernalia.

In the private sector the situation was even more frightening. The menace is still prevalent. In state facilities shortages of medical materials and equipment, for example, remain a serious all-round problem.

Even mundane items such as laundry soap, antiseptics, and bed sheets sometimes fall seriously short. In most cases establishments in rural Tanzania have too few medical workers. So, running an institution that is understaffed, whose staff feel underpaid and one that lacks the requisite medical tools, is not a small matter.

In some cases, You found a single medical physician attending to nearly 100 patients a day instead of the mandatory 20. Such shortage of medical staff impairs the quality of service delivery. This kink also opens doors to corruption and a lack of compassion for the sick.

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