The Aga Khan University in Tanzania on Thursday opened a Sh137 million medical training facility as part of the institution’s plans to bridge the human resource gaps in the country’s health sector.
The project was officially launched in Dar es Salaam at a colourful event graced by the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Gerd Muller.
The presence of Dr Muller and other dignitaries, including outgoing East African Community (EAC) Secretary-General Richard Sezibera, signalled the huge support AKU has received from Germany and the regional bloc in healthcare projects.
AKU will now provide high-quality training to nurses and midwives and improve healthcare in the region through a Sh1.9 billion grant it received from the Federal Republic of Germany.
According to Dr Muller, the funding will boost the health workforce across the region and help the EAC to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Number 3 — Good health and wellbeing for all.
He said: “Despite all efforts, maternal and newborn mortality are still unacceptably high in East Africa. Reducing the deaths requires well-functioning health systems, including skilled workforce.”
Dr Sezibera praised AKU for playing a leading role in modernising the nursing curriculum in the region.
“This facility is another example of AKU’s longstanding commitment to educating the much-needed nurses and midwives to improve the quality of healthcare for East Africans,’’ he said.
Since 2014, more than 2,100 nurses from East Africa have graduated from AKU, 600 of them Tanzanian.
The country has a 51 per cent shortage of qualified nurses, said deputy minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Children and the Elderly, Dr Hamisi Kigwangala, at the event.