When Zanzibar managed to wipe out malaria a few years ago, its strategies were viewed as a model which Tanzania as a whole could bank on its endeavour to fight against Africa’s leading killer disease. Numerous interventions that had succeeded in the Isles were taken aboard and implemented on the Mainland.
These helped in reducing malaria cases, especially among children aged between five and ten, to less than 10 per cent by 2011. However, a new report shows we have backtracked, for cases of the scourge among children have shot up to 14 per cent in the space of only five years.
The preliminary findings in the 2015/16 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey and Malaria Surveillance Survey released recently shows that the prevalence of the disease among other groups has also increased.
This is a disturbing development, a clear testimony that something went wrong in our efforts to battle this disease, which, at one time, we were in the course of controlling.
It is a worrisome situation, for malaria is a problem that puts such a heavy burden on the government and the country’s economy.
If we had reached a point where we were heading towards eliminating the disease, as exemplified by Zanzibar, it is most unfortunate that we backtracked.
The decline in malaria cases in the Clove Isles was attributed to a combination of factors, including improved access to effective malaria treatment and protection from mosquito bites by increased availability of insecticide-treated bednets and indoor residual spraying.
If we had managed to do all these things initially, why did the situation worsen? The health survey report should be a wake-up call to the government and other health stakeholders.
There is a need to look back and ask where we went wrong if we are to ensure that any new strategies we set up won’t allow for lapses.
YES, TAX THE BIG SHOTS TOO
With its socialism legacy anchored on the now discarded “Arusha Declaration” of 1967, Tanzanians generally believe in equality, much as they acknowledge that differences between individuals are inevitable, given our different social roles, responsibilities and capacities to produce.
Any just government, however, strives to develop a system which provides for measures to reduce income gaps between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. Taxation is one of such measures. It is immoral to make it easy for the rich to get richer in ways that provides for the poor to get even poorer.
It is for this reason that we welcome the move by the government to ensure senior public service officials get a taste of the taxman’s axe, aimed at their hefty send-off packages. While we don’t wish to have our national leaders retiring into poverty, we consider it apt for those who earn most to contribute more to the national coffers.
It was unfortunate hearing MPs opposed to being taxed arguing that they need every single penny earned as gratuity to go to their bank accounts because they need the money to give to their over-demanding constituents! Isn’t that tantamount to saying they need the cash to bribe voters so that they return them to Parliament in coming polls? Let us have none of that!
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