Many people who dwell in remote areas of Mbeya and Songwe are deprived of consistent and modern health care services because of their location.
Imagine having to walk 600 miles just to access a health clinic for a simple blood test. City dwellers have an organised transport system that take them to and from a health centre, making medical services accessible. This isn’t the case for people who dwell in the remote areas of Mbeya and Songwe, where Your Health recently paid a visit.
Your Health came to learn that long distance and poor roads were among the major factors hindering access of medical treatment at an early stage in rural areas of Mbeya and Songwe.
During a brief research, it was noted that many people who dwell in these areas are deprived of consistent and modern health care services because of their location. The interviewees complained of the long distance they walk, almost 600 miles, just to access a clinic.
However, the recent intervention of an advanced mobile clinic in the aforementioned areas has caught the people with a sigh of relief. Patients now tend to embrace the use of mobile health care delivery because they are assured of the medical services at their doorstep.
These properly equipped and designed mobile units usually deliver medical services at weekly basis that people can depend on.
The weekly medical treatment services include diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, blood tests, pre and post-natal care, lab testing, mammographic screening, dental treatment, and minor surgery to name a few.
Emphasis on tuberculosis
Diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis (TB), an infectious disease that usually affects the lungs, are free of charge for all patients at private and public health centres or hospitals in Tanzania but accessibility of medical privileges for people in such remote areas still remain a challenge.
Paediatrics and Child Health Specialist at the National Medical Institute Research (NIMR) in Mbeya, Dr Issa Sabi explained to Your Health that early diagnosis and effective treatment of TB are critical to reduce TB mortality and control the spread of TB.
He said that they have embarked on mobile lab clinic for early diagnosis of TB and to provide easy accessibility of medical health to several patients. The mobile medical services have been operational since 2009 to reach out to people located in remote areas, so explains Dr Sabi.
National Medical Institute Research (NIMR) in partnership with Mbeya City has embarked on mobile clinic hospital for TB patients and screening of TB to school going children in order to detect more TB patients in the region.
“We normally move around with a car to announce and show,” informs the Acting regional TB and leprosy coordinator Mr Bonny Ferdinand. He added that they are currently visiting schools to survey the extent of the disease spread among students and residents.
“We have at least 36 boarding schools in Mbeya and so far we have managed to reach to about 18 of them. During screening, a lot of issues are considered such as surrounding of the school, set up of dormitories and number of students,” he said.