Feb 04, 2015

Zanzibar: Health Services Improving but Lack Skilled Personnel and Adequate Funds

The Second Vice-President, Mr Iddi, announced at the Annual Joint Health Sector Review meeting that Zanzibar has reduced child mortality, raised the average life expectancy of its population and reduced the prevalence of diseases, such as malaria. However, chronic diseases are on the rise and the island lacks adequate funding and skilled personnel to further improve its health care system. Zanzibar authorities are therefore appealing to their development partners for more support in order to achieve further progress.

Below is an article published by All Africa:

Second Vice-President Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi has appealed to development partners to continue supporting the Islands' initiatives to improve health services, particularly that of women and children.

"Support from development partners is important and in turn we guarantee that the money will be well spent in saving lives, improving productivity and hence reducing poverty in Zanzibar," said Mr Iddi during the 9th Zanzibar Annual Joint Health Sector Review meeting held here last weekend [31 January and 1 February 2015].

He informed participants at the meeting held at the Zanzibar Ocean View Hotel that Zanzibaris are close to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG-4): Reducing child mortality.

Ambassador Iddi mentioned other admirable achievement as including a rise in life expectancy from 57 years in 2002 to 66 years in 2012, and that Zanzibar has been doing well in fighting communicable diseases, mainly malaria now with prevalence under one per cent, and HIV prevalence at one per cent expect in MARs groups.

'For Most At Risk (MAR) groups, including commercial sex workers, homosexuals and Intravenous Drugs Users (IDUs), the prevalence is up to 16 per cent.

Zanzibar is also in progress in meeting MDG-4 (reducing maternal mortality), as Mr Iddi says it remains a major concern. Ambassador Iddi noted that Zanzibar continues to improve its health infrastructures like roads, communication links, electricity and fresh and clean water supplies.

He noted that despite life expectancy and more sedentary lifestyles, "we are, however, faced with a growing burden of chronic diseases."

The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Mohammed Saleh Jidawi, informed the gathering that although there have been several achievements in the past one year, the health sector is still faced with challenges, including inadequate funds and shortage of skilled personnel.