Dar es Salaam. Aga Khan Health Service, Tanzania (AKHST) received an award for the Best Large Taxpayer category (Ilala Tax Region) for the first time. As a new entrant in the contest, the award came as a surprise for this top-tier tertiary health services provider.
“We received a letter of invitation, and I sent a representative to attend the award ceremony without clear knowledge of what we were vying for. Later that night, I received a congratulatory message for winning the large taxpayer segment. I didn’t know what to feel, but I slept proud that night,” narrated Aga Khan Health Service Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sisawo Konteh, in an elated tone.
Mr Konteh says that the accolade initially draws the lines of their strong and boundless engagement with the Tanzania Government around the health docket.
With Tanzania being named among the African countries with an overburdened and fragile health system with rising costs, AKHST consistently supports the Government with improving quality of life for Tanzanians.
“We have entered massive investments within our facilities. We have expanded our upcountry reach with similar health facilities, Zanzibar can be a good example, procured advanced medical equipment, introduced mobile clinics, conducted outreach programs, engaged in national health campaigns, and so much more,” Mr Konteh elaborated further.
In addition, he reminds us of how the brave-hearted AKHST was committed to containing the devastating COVID-19 pandemic when the world went into panic.
“We had to rapidly take stringent measures in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. We successfully accommodated a separate space within our institution full of necessary tools for attending to COVID-19 cases. Not only that, but we installed a complete set of COVID-19 healthcare facilities at the Mwananyamala Referral Hospital to help them address the scourge at the local level,” CEO commented.
The facility has also formed synergies with other private and public health institutions to offer advanced health support to remote communities. For example, in partnership with Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Ocean Road Cancer Institute, Bugando Medical Centre, Aga Khan Foundation Tanzania, Aga Khan University, Institute Curie, and the Government, AKHST launched the Tanzania Comprehensive Cancer Project (TCCP) in 2020. This four-year high-quality, evidence-based, private-public initiative aims to improve cancer care services’ quality, access, and capacity in target regions across Dar es Salaam and Mwanza. Additionally, the Aga Khan – KFW COVID-19 Vaccination Project, funded by KFW Development Bank, increases awareness and scales up COVID-19 vaccine uptake.
In their regulatory compliance checklist, which seemingly justified their win, AKHST’s CEO clarified that they have a very strong non-negotiable internal and external audit mechanisms, apart from paying tax. He boasted that AKHST has an expansive and experienced team of accounting staff who ensure that all processes are being carefully adhered to.
“Despite any challenges we may be going through, we always strive to comply to mandatory regulations for Tanzania, including paying tax,” he emphasized.
His above assertion echoes their 360-dimension compliance as it cuts across other sub-segments of health, safety, and environment compliances under the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA). To conclude, AKHST is an all-compliant medical entity. “We are happy that we have been awarded this for being fully compliant with the country’s regulations,” he stated. “High-end and integrated health services provision, which is the core business of AKHST, is our principal secret to the victory,” cements the CEO.
“Health service is not an easy service to deliver, because you are touching the hearts and minds of individuals, family and the community. But, we are here 24/7, 365 days a year, providing services,” he said.
Mr Konteh also refuted the claims that the costs of the medical services at Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam, are exorbitantly higher than they should be. He views these costs as a massive investment made to enable locals’ access to comprehensive healthcare services at home, without needing to fly miles abroad to receive quality healthcare.
“Several years ago, we had some patients flying outside the county for medical tourism, on the grounds that there are no super specialized health services for heart diseases in Tanzania. However, ever since AKHST brought such expertise home, the rate of patients who go abroad for this service has decreased,” he stated, to underscore AKHST’s service-centered approach.
The CEO wishes for the public to understand that AKHST won in the respect of their tax compliance that resulted from the quality health service provision, and not for bankrolling.
Further, Mr. Konteh is very proud of how staff across AKHST’s medical facilities have contributed to this milestone, namely through their professionalism and diligence. He further praised the media for consistently presenting AKHST in a positive light.
After securing this award, Mr Konteh hopes for many partnerships with the Tanzania Government, given that AKHST as a premier health facility is one of their trusted partners.
Moreover, to address the lack of super specialized medical practitioners in Tanzania, AKHST is taking bold steps to conduct training for several medical officers with different capacities, so that they can be leveraged by our health centres across all levels.
“For us to continue providing services, we would like everyone to know that we have different levels of services and they can access here. For those who are desperate for advanced health procedures yet cannot afford them, we invite them to our office to have a discussion and negotiate at any level,” Mr Konteh requested.
With over 90 years of presence in Tanzania, Aga Khan Health Service, Tanzania (AKHST), is the longest-serving, not-for-profit, premier private health care organisation in the country that houses the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam and Aga Khan Hospital, Mwanza, alongside our network of Primary Medical Centres and Outreach Health Centres.