Aga Khan commissions new polyclinic in Zanzibar

Zanzibar's first lady Mariam Mwinyi with Princess Zahra Aga Khan during the official opening of the new Aga Khan Polyclinic in Unguja on Tuesday, April 25. She is flanked by minister for tourism Simai Mohammed Said (L).

Unguja. The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), under the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) Tanzania, has commissioned a polyclinic in Unguja in order to facilitate the provision of and access to health services in Zanzibar,

The polyclinic, which is located in Stone Town, will provide eye services, blood purification, bodily examinations, dental, laboratory and emergency services.

The investment in improving the polyclinic building and purchasing medical equipment was done through a loan of Sh2 billion from the French Development Agency (AFD), whereby it expects to serve 150,000 patients per year.

Speaking during its launch yesterday, the wife of the President of Zanzibar, Mariam Mwinyi, congratulated His Highness the Aga Khan and AKDN for their unique commitment to improve the health and well-being of people around the world, especially in Zanzibar.

"The government is making great efforts to expand the capacity and upgrade quality of health centres and improve the health of its citizens, the priority is to improve the provision of maternal, child and adolescent services," she said.

"We recognize and appreciate the relationship between the Government of Zanzibar and the Aga Khan network, which has lasted for more than 100 years as AKDN has been contributing to reducing poverty and improving education, health and economic development,” she said.

According to Mama Mwinyi, the opening of the Aga Khan Polyclinic is an important investment in health infrastructure that will also help other professionals from Zanzibar hospitals to acquire that knowledge through it.

She asked AKDN to look at how to invest in Pemba as well in basic services while inviting His Highness the Aga Khan to also invest in other economic, heritage and environmental areas.

For her part, Her Highness Princess Zahra Aga Khan said since they started to provide health services in 1929 until now, AKHS will continue to provide quality and sustainable services to people.

She said that in 2021, AKHS served more than one million patients at international standards and hence it will continue to ensure that the best services are provided to the community.

For his part, the Director of Medicine and Health at the AKHS Institute, Dr Harrison Chuwa, said there are 26 polyclics across Tanzania and the Unguja polyclinic is the 27th and that Zanzibar it has been given priority to be installed with all the necessary equipment including CT Scan.

"From the first day we started providing testing services, there has been a shortage of these services here, so we have come to support the efforts of the Zanzibar government," said Dr Chuwa.

He said they will also offer training for professionals.

"We welcome you as, we offer training opportunities, and change technology, doctors from government hospitals are welcome to provide services here and we will also go to those hospitals to do the same," he said.

For his part, the French Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Nabil Hajlaoui, said they will continue to support the efforts of the presidents due to their plans to prioritize education and health to maintain the cordial relations that have lasted for many years.

The Minister for Tourism and Antiquities, Mr Mohamed Simai, said the polyclic will help provide quality services to tourists visiting Zanzibar.