Tanzania: No Favouritism in Subsidising Religious Hospitals, Minister Says

Tanzania_mapTanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam) Dodoma — THE government has distanced itself from claims of any favouritism of religious sects in supporting social services, saying that religious hospitals are subsidized to provide services as district- or regional-designated hospitals.

Mr Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Governments), Mr Aggrey Mwanri, told the National Assembly yesterday that the government will continue collaborating with religious institutions until it is able to put up its own facilities.

He was responding to a supplementary question by James Mbatia (Nominated-NCCR-Mageuzi) who wanted to know the criteria used by the government to subsidize religious hospitals and whether the act did not amount to favouritism.

“These hospitals are designated district hospitals by district councils. They are providing services on their own behalf and on behalf of the government. Therefore we subsidize them to better serve our people and we will continue doing so until we have our own hospitals,” he said.

He added that public-private partnership in the sector would not be confined to religious institutions but the government would collaborate with any organization that met the required criteria.

Ms Diana Chilolo (Special Seats-CCM), in her basic question, wanted to know to when the government would be ready to use Kijota Mission Hospital in Singida District as a designated hospital as plans were underway to construct new hospitals.

Mr Mwanri admitted that Singida District did not have a district hospital and its residents continued to get services from Makyungu designated hospital in neighbouring Ikungi District.

“The government has started procedures to upgrade St Carlous-Mtinko Mission Hospital to a designated hospital of Singida District,” he said.

He said the procedures included talks with the owners of the hospital, in this case the Roman Catholic Church’s Singida Diocese, and district health board has endorsed the proposal, adding that the government was in the process of solving its current challenges to ensure the hospital offered proper district hospital services.

He added that Kijota Hospital did not meet the criteria of being considered for a district designated hospital.

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