Dar es Salaam. Good morning! The Chanzo is here with a rundown of major news stories reported in Tanzania on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.
MNH partners with Afya Sasa Africa as it explores AI uses in its services
Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) has signed a deal with Afya Sasa Africa LLC, an Artificial Intelligence firm specialising in healthcare, as the national hospital is planning to apply the firm’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) based health services at its Mloganzila centre.
MNH Executive Director Prof Mohamed Janabi was quoted as saying on Tuesday that the national hospital will start with MNH Mloganzila, and then expand to MNH Upanga.
“Once successful there, the Ministry of Health will want the system for the whole country,” Prof Janabi said.
According to reports, the ensuing months will see Afya Sasa Tanzania begin execution in the following phases: assessment of IT and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems at MNH and Integration of Afya Sasa systems with MNH; launching of a pilot cardiac module; and expansion to all primary and speciality medical areas.
Afya Sasa Tanzania Managing Director Sri Perera said that the company leverages the power of advanced artificial intelligence to assist the clinician in the proper diagnosis, testing, and treatment to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of clinicians while providing the patient enhanced access to state-of-the-art care in line with the goals of the Government of Tanzania.
“Afya Sasa Africa can be customized to disease prevalence by country and even to specific regions within a country and can be accessible in English and Swahili,” Perera said. “We believe Artificial Intelligence and Afya Sasa’s System can bridge the gap in unmet healthcare needs in the developing world.”
Powered by AdviNOW Medical, the Afya Sasa system has executed exclusive rights agreements for ten initial priority markets across Africa including Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Egypt, representing a total catchment of 1 billion people.
AU security council calls for strengthened participation of women in area of peace, security and trade
The African Union Peace and Security Council on Tuesday called for national, regional and continental strategies to strengthen women’s participation in the area of peace, security and trade as it seeks to empower women-led cross border trade in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The call was made in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the 1144th session of the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) at the Ambassadorial Level on the Agenda of Integrating Women Peace and Security Agenda in the Implementation of the AfCFTA with a focus on Women in Cross Border Trade in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations.
The government of Tanzania chaired the session in its capacity as the Chair of the African Union Peace and Security Council for March 2023. Ambassador Innocent Shiyo, Permanent Representative of Tanzania to the African Union, chaired the Tuesday meeting.
In a statement yesterday, the Embassy of Tanzania in Ethiopia said that during the session, the PSC noted African women’s significant contribution and participation in cross-border trade and peacebuilding.
“The council also noted with concerns the persistence of challenges facing women in conflict and post-conflict situations and their adverse impact on the participation of women in socio-economic activities, including cross-border trade,” the Embassy said in the statement.
The session also condemned violence against women engaged in cross-border trade.
“The session, therefore, deliberated on national, regional and continental strategies to strengthen women’s participation in peace, security and trade,” reads the statement in part.
“In this respect, the council encouraged [AU’s] member states to sign, ratify, and fully domesticate all AU and [other] international instruments relating to women, peace and security,” it added.
Since its establishment, this was the first time that the PSC has considered an agenda with a nexus on women, peace, security, and trade to ensure meaningful and effective participation of women in implementing the AfCFTA agreement.
NHIF clarifies scraping of ‘Toto Afya Card’ amid controversies
The Director-General of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) Bernard Konga on Tuesday clarified the fund’s controversial decision to do away with its ‘Toto Afya Card,’ calling the decision a step towards the realisation of universal health coverage in Tanzania.
‘Toto Afya Card’ was officially rolled out in 2016 to enable parents/guardians who are members of the NHIF to register children who could not be registered because their dependency vacancies are full.
It also aimed at providing opportunities for children with no blood relationship with a contributing member to register and receive paid services from a parent or guardian.
But on March 9, 2023, NHIF announced that it would dump the arrangement, an announcement that has received intense criticism from several actors.
Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Anna Henga, for example, slammed the decision as unacceptable, noting that the decision will affect many children from poor backgrounds in Tanzania.
“Many children will be affected because very few Tanzanians are in formal employment, whether in the government or the private sector,” Henga said in a Tuesday statement. “Many parents will not afford to subscribe their children under the packages recommended by NHIF.”
LHRC urged the government to reflect on its decision and consider its effects on children, mainly their rights as children.
But speaking in the capital Dodoma on Tuesday, NHIF’s Konga defended the decision, saying that the seven-year-experience implementing the Toto Afya Card has shown that registering children individually will delay the realisation of universal health coverage, which will work only if many people pay.
“From now on, parents/guardians should register their children as their dependents or through their schools,” Mr Konga said during a news conference.
Over 4000 people died in road accidents in Tanzania between 2020 and 2022
Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on Tuesday said that a total of 4,060 people died in road accidents in Tanzania between December 2020 and December 2022, with 6,017 others left injured in the various road accidents recorded during that period.
Among those who died, 1,582 were passengers; 959 pedestrians; 797 motorcyclists; 509 drivers; and 196 cyclists.
Speaking during a function to commemorate Wiki ya Nenda kwa Usalama in Mwanza, Majaliwa urged drivers to make sure they observe road safety laws lest Tanzania continues to lose many of its workforces.
“These accidents leave an unbearable pain to families which lose their loved ones,” Mr Majaliwa said during the function. “It also leaves Tanzania, as a nation, without much of its workforce.”
Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Jumanne Sagini, who doubles as the chairperson of the National Road Safety Council of Tanzania, said during the function that man-made factors cause many road accidents.
He said the council is preparing a national plan to address the carnage, which, among other things, will seek to address the use of alcohol among drivers, speed-driving, and unlicensed driving, among others.
“We will also seek to amend existing road safety acts so that they can go with the time and address the current problem of road accidents,” Sagini said.
UK-based corporate watchdog wants Barrick to ‘clarify’ death of artisanal miner
The UK-based corporate watchdog Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID) on Tuesday called on Barrick Gold and Tanzanian authorities to “credibly” investigate and report on the death of Emmanuel Mgesi after allegedly being shot by the mine’s police.
Mgesi, 25, died on March 12, 2023, as details leading to his death remain conflicting. According to Tarime-Rorya Special Zone Commander Geofrey Sarakikya Mgesi died when he fell while trying to escape arrest from the government’s task force combating gold smuggling.
In a statement on March 12, 2023, Barrick Gold repeated the police’s explanation, adding that Mgesi was “illegally digging for gold-bearing ore in a remnant area of the North Mara underground mine” before he “fell to his death.”
The police in the region said a full report would be made after the autopsy on the deceased had been completed.
Unconfirmed reports allege that Mgesi was shot at by mine’s police when they started chasing him, thinking he was an illegal miner, although he was in the company’s uniforms.
But on Tuesday, RAID, which has been documenting human rights violations at various Barrick’s mines in Tanzania, said Barrick’s statement raises questions about how Mgesi accessed a highly secure area if he was an “illegal miner.”
“There are conflicting accounts as to what happened and reports of workers demanding answers,” RAID said in a statement. “Barrick and Tanzanian authorities should credibly investigate and report on this incident. They must clarify if the deceased was an employee, how he got underground, and how he died.”
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