Muhas project ‘risks being a white elephant’

Monday May 15 2017

The Minister of Education, Science, Technology

The Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Prof Joyce Ndalichako, presents her docket’s 2017/18 budget estimates in Dodoma on Saturday. PHOTO | ANTHONY SIAME 

By Athuman Mtulya @mtulya

Dodoma. MPs have advised the government to complete the multi-million dollar Mloganzila Hospital project and hire the required staff or risk turning the project into a white elephant.

The Social Services and Community Development Committee and the Opposition both advised the government on Saturday to make sure the project is completed as soon as possible. The Mloganzila Teaching Hospital, which is under the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (Muhas), is a $94.5 million (Sh210.6 billion) project in Kibamba on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam.

The hospital building is already completed and fitted with state of art medical equipment. However, the hospital has yet to be opened.

According to the committee, Muhas requested Sh14.5 billion this financial year (2016/17), but until March, this year, when the committee visited the hospital, not a single cent had been released. However, the government told the committee that Sh5 billion would be made available by April.

“Apart from financial constraints, Muhas also faces shortage of staff. Out of 900 workers that are required to run the hospital only 381 or 42.8 per cent were there by March,” said Mr Hussein Bashe (Nzega Urban-CCM) as he was reading the committee report on the budget proposals of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology before the august House.

“The committee advises the government to ensure all the required 900 staff to be recruited and service delivery to patients to commence as soon as possible, otherwise it will be under utilizing the project which is of international standards,” said Mr Bashe adding “the committee is of the view that the government should also be injecting the required funds timely to complete the remaining faces so the project can yield the desired results.”

The Shadow Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Ms Susan Lyimo, told Parliament that houses for the staff are yet to be constructed forcing the available staff to travel 60 kilometres from and back to Muhimbili, where they are currently based, and back.

“The government should do everything on its powers to make sure the hospital starting operations soon; it will be big boost for health sector.

We are advising the President (Dr John Magufuli) to issue permit for the university to recruit all the needed staff, otherwise the building will become a white elephant,” she said.

Presenting her docket’s 2017/18 budget estimates earlier, the Minister for Education, Science, Technology and Vocational Training, Prof Joyce Ndalichako, said the government would in the next financial year embark on construction of staff accommodation, student hostels, lecture rooms and laboratories at Mlonganzila.