TANZANIA – The Aga Khan Health Services Tanzania (AKHST) has launched a project worth TSh1.8 billion (US$0.77m) aimed at improving emergency care in the country.

The project which is funded by the Polish government through Polish Center for International Aid (PCIA) will run for two years and four months in seven health facilities in Mainland and Zanzibar.

“We aim to work together with health stakeholders from the seven selected health facilities, including doctors and nurses. The project will also provide health providers with training and distribute medical equipment to the health facilities,” said AKHST Project Coordinator, Dr Hussein Manji.

“The project also encompasses first aid training of first responders such as traffic officers, police force, firefighters and more to heighten the response to emergencies at first contact.”

The facilities that will benefit include Chanika Health Centre, Temeke Hospital, Mwananyamala Hospital, Nyamagana Health Centre and three Aga Khan Hospitals of which two are located in Dar es Salaam and one in Zanzibar.

Hussein said that the project intends to train over 120 first responders to emergencies and accidents, 1,000 healthcare workers to provide quality emergency care and 60 healthcare workers to become instructors.

“I am also happy that we are opening a new chapter in Polish-Tanzania relations. A chapter focused on one of the most important areas of human activity-saving lives,” The Ambassador of Poland, Krzysztof Buzalski commended the initiative.

During the launch, Dr Sherin Kassamali Head of Emergency Department at Aga Khan Health Service Tanzania, said the preparation through education is less costly than learning through tragedy.

“Knowing what to do in the first hours of any emergency is crucial and having resources and means makes a difference between life and death; today the Polish government is funding this initiative in support of the government’s efforts to save the lives of our people,” said Sherin.

The Head of Emergency and Critical Care Services Coordinator Case Management in Outbreak and Disasters, Dr Erasto Sylvanus, who represented the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Prof Abel Makubi applauded the project’s plans.

Dr Sylvanus said that the project aligns with the government’s plans to strengthen health services in the county, mainly the emergency services.

“The government has put in place plans to strengthen the emergency services. For example, the government has plans to bring 500 ambulances, where some of them will arrive in February and until next June all ambulances will be in the country,” he said.

The event was accompanied by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the partners and seven targeted health facilities.

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