WHO praises Tanzania’s new position on Covid-19

Friday March 12 2021
WHO PIC

WHO regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti.

By Louis Kalumbia

Dar es Salaam. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended Tanzania for reverting to measures meant to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The WHO regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said instructions recently made by the government including putting on face masks were promising in scaling up the war against contagious disease.

Last month, the government urged Tanzanians to undertake eight specific measures in a deliberate move to win the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Apart from a three-day period of prayers, the Health ministry issued a statement instructing Tanzanians to also subscribe to hygienic requirements as advanced by health experts.

The hygienic requirements include frequent hand washing with soap and running water and use of sanitizer in the absence of clean water and soap.

Reiterating that the country will not go on a lockdown, the Health ministry said Tanzanians should conduct physical exercises while protecting the elderly; those who are obese and people with underlying conditions.

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The Health ministry said it was about time Tanzanians ate balanced diets, with an extra focus on vegetables and fruits.

The use of traditional remedies that have been registered by the Traditional and Alternative Health Practice Council must also be taken seriously.

Putting on face masks and reporting to health centres after developing disease symptoms, must be observed.

“We must continue taking precautions by abiding by healthy living requirements so as to prevent hazards that may weaken our body immune systems….,” according to a statement signed by the head of government communications unit at the Ministry.

And in line with that, the WHO said yesterday during an online media briefing that Tanzania’s recent move on the disease was promising.

“This has come after the death of the First Vice President (for Zanzibar) and another senior government official,” said Ms Moeti as she responded to a question from a participant in Geneva.

Furthermore, she called on Tanzania to abide by Covid-19 testing procedures recommended by WHO and share important data on the trend of the disease, expressing hope that the organization will start receiving statistics.

She said disease prevention and control measures should be built from individual, community and public levels, reaffirming the WHO commitment to support the country.

Ms Moeti encouraged Tanzania and Burundi to roll out the Covid-19 vaccines, assuring that they were safe to protect people after having passed through the necessary international standards.

“Members of the scientific community are the ones discovering, developing and testing vaccines, not the WHO. They conform to international standards even for those recommended for emergency use,” she said when reacting to a question from a Burundian participant.

She added, “It is risky for the region and the world to have a portion of the population that has been vaccinated and the other that hasn’t. Therefore, Tanzania and Burundi should rollout for the vaccines. They are safe for our people.”

Ms Moeti gave the assurance after Tanzania and Burundi made a stance to rollout for the vaccines after the final testing and approval of the inoculations.

Apart from calling for collaboration efforts to improve infrastructure and investment in the health sector, the WHO boss for Africa emphasized the need for prioritizing health workers, the elderly and people with chronic diseases in provision of vaccines.

She was seconded by the president of the Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association, Mrs Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo, who said more investment was required to develop infrastructure and personnel and achieve universal healthcare by 2030.

The chair, Secretariat and Central Africa Regional Representative, Africa NCDs Network (ANN), Mr Ferdinant Sonyuy, said people with diabetes, hypertension and obesity have core morbidity, therefore should be given priority during vaccination provision.