The importance of the central role being played by the Health ministry in concerted efforts to oversee the timely delivery of health services throughout Tanzania cannot be overemphasised.
However, it is an undeniable fact that a good number of health workers are overburdened and demoralised. Corruption and inefficiency are still rife in the sector despite efforts made in recent years to stamp out the vice.
Inevitably, this means that the timely delivery of quality health services is still a long way off, and those who bear the brunt of these shortcomings are the poor rural communities.
Yet with a little effort, things could change for the better and tremendous results achieved.
The few rotten eggs exacerbating the situation should be casr aside so that dedicated health personnel are able to deliver the goods without any hindrance whatsoever. They can do it with the right kind of support.
One of the endemic problems is poor or non-existent delivery of drugs and essential facilities to public health institutions across the country.
More often than not, patients are turned away for lack of drugs, or asked to buy the medicines from private pharmacies or hospitals that are a stone’s throw from public health facilities.
This is disgusting, as it has been happening when the government has been insisting that there are enough stocks of drugs, some of which expire in its stores and warehouses.
We could not agree more with the widely held assertion that the Health alone ministry cannot claim to be in the business of curing the nation if it cannot guarantee the availability of essential medicines.
The directive requiring the Medical Stores Department (MSD) to ensure that drugs are delivered to district hospitals, health centres and dispensaries is a step in the right direction.
Reforms at the MSD in recent years have helped to reduce the bureaucracy that encouraged the pilferage of drugs and supply delays. However, much more still needs to be done.
The use of technology and the involvement of communities should go a long way in streamlining the mess. The MSD delivery system should also be strengthened.
ENFORCE LAW TO PROTECT GIRLS
A lot still needs to be done to educate the public on the grave danger of female genital mutilation (FGM) and help reverse the trend, especially in rural areas. From the look of things, many parents and guardians are not aware that FGM is a serious human rights abuse issue.
The majority of those still clinging to this backward so-called rite of passage have a narrow understanding of the consequences, as they lack knowledge of its harmful effects.
Women and gender activists have always accused the government for failure to eliminate the practice, which some communities continue to perform openly, accompanied by traditional dances.
Largely to blame are local leaders, especially at the village level, who are well aware of the rampant practice in their areas, but choose to turn a blind eye.
Besides enforcing the law to protect teenage girls, we must intensify public campaigns to raise awareness against this evil practice.