Tanzania commits to publish Covid-19 reports weekly amid pressure from IMF

TANZANIA – Tanzania’s Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima, has said the country will publish Covid-19 numbers weekly, as a confirmation that the virus is a public health concern in the country.

Tanzania submitted its last report on the virus to the World Health Organization (WHO) on January 3, 2021, when the country indicated there were 25,846 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 719 deaths.

However, the country has come under pressure to publish data on the spread of coronavirus as part of conditional approval of a US$574 million emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Previously, the government of late president John Magufuli, in which Dr Gwajima served as Health Minister, denied the presence of Covid-19 in the country. Dr Gwajima said Covid-19 data is now available as per WHO requirements.

The country’s Covid-19 data will not be announced in press conferences, but will be published online on the WHO website.

It is not possible to conduct a press conference every day to brief reporters. Through the WHO website, we update the statistics weekly for everyone to access,” the minister said.

She urged the public to adhere to recommended coronavirus prevention measures, and to get vaccinated to avoid suffering from severe forms of the disease or death.

As of October 2, a total of 595,938 vaccine doses had been administered to Tanzanians. Meanwhile, the government is expecting to receive 489,042 doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China to arrive in the country on Friday.

Dr Gwajima said that another consignment of 576,558 doses is expected this month from the Covax facility. Tanzania launched mass vaccinations in late July after receiving slightly over a million doses of Johnson and Johnson jabs donated by the US.

President Samia Suluhu kicked off the exercise by publicly receiving her first jab, signaling a turnaround for a country that only months before was in denial about the pandemic.

In other news, USAID has unveiled the five-year USAID Afya Endelevu project in Zanzibar amid calls for the islanders to voluntarily go for Covid-19 vaccination.

Under the project, 100 health workers have been hired on a nine-month contract to intensify the fight against the deadly corona virus. The new recruits will be deployed in the entry points, especially airports and seaports.

Speaking at the event, USAID Health Office Director, Ananthy Thambinayagam said a robust and adequately equipped health workforce is essential for continued advancement and sustained provision of quality health care and emergency responses like Covid-19.

USAID supports investments in the health workforce because a strong and capable workforce for health saves lives, especially now with Covid-19 pandemic,” Thambinayagam said.

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