Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Dar residents flock to Peace Ark for free health check-ups

Dar es Salaam residents gather along Sokoine

Dar es Salaam residents gather along Sokoine Drive to be issued with pieces of paper with numbers so as to enjoy free health screening.  PHOTO | ERICKY BONIPHACE 

By Aurea Simtowe TheCitizenTz news@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Thousands of city residents thronged the Dar es Salaam Port yesterday as they sought to receive free health testing from Chinese doctors, creating havoc on the way the exercise was conducted.

Chinese naval hospital ship Peace Ark arrived at the Dar es Salaam Port on Sunday on an eight-day humanitarian mission of providing free medical services to local residents.

Upon hearing the news, residents showed up in big numbers so they could be attended to by the Chinese doctors, causing chaos in attempts to get into ship.

Saddened by the number of people, who came to seek medical services, the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner, Mr Paul Makonda was compelled to issue procedures that were to be followed.

He decided to start issuing numbers to the residents who thronged the Central Police Station.

However, the system could not work, forcing him to stop the exercise of issuing numbers to members of the police force.

The police were also overwhelmed as everyone wanted to become the first one to be attended to.

At that point, the police decided to divide the residents into groups, but it was to no avail as the people continued moving into the Central Police Station and it only took a few minutes before they were unmanageable.

“These swollen legs have been troubling me for the past three years now. I have gone to several hospitals, but nothing has changed. I hope these Chinese doctors will finally come to my rescue,” said Mr Mohammed Masunga, who came from Tegeta.

While the Central Police Station remained fully-packed, the roads were almost impassable during certain times of the day, with residents using the Kilwa Road facing one of the worst traffic jams in recent days.

Similarly, vehicles heading to General Post Office and Gerezani moved slowly. They stopped for 20 minutes before resuming with the journey.

A conductor of a bus that plies between Mbagala Rangi Tatu and Stesheni, Mr Yasin Yusuph, said they had spent two hours on the road.

“There is a serious snarl-up. Vehicles are not moving. There is a lot of confusion. People have gathered everywhere and vehicles use only two roads,” he lamented.

He suggested that a special area be prepared for people to wait for services instead of gathering anywhere.

“There are so many people, but there is no place where they can rest. There are no enough trees where people can take shelter as the sun is hot.”