The number of heart patients seeking treatment abroad has dropped by 80 per cent in the last financial year, the government said yesterday. Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ummy Mwalimu, told journalists in Dar es Salaam that the reduction in number of patients referred abroad has helped the government to save millions of money it could spend for their overseas treatment. Ms Mwalimu made the remark after receiving medical equipment for operation theatre at Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) donated by Kuwait Embassy in Tanzania. “Reducing the number of patients seeking for treatment abroad is one of the fifth phase government strategy to cut spending, that is why it has taken measures to improve the health sector by making most of the services accessible in the country,” Ms Mwalimu said. She said that in 2015/2016 the JKCI dispatched 85 patients with heart complications abroad but in 2016/2017 the number dropped to 17. The Minister further said that the government has succeeded in improving specialized treatment whereby in the past JKCT was conducting 30 surgeries per month but to date the capacity has doubled. She added that following the advanced services at the JKCI, the institute has also been receiving referrals for heart patients from Malawi. Ms Mwalimu, however, commended the government of Kuwait for the donation that will facilitate the institute to increase the number of heart surgeries conducted per day. JKCI Executive Director, Dr Mohamed Janabi said that the donation by Kuwait Embassy would help his institute to carry out six surgeries in a day. “The institute had two theatre rooms which were used for conducting surgeries for both adults and children thus with this donation the hospital will have three operating rooms and one will be special for children,” he said. Dr Janabi said that with addition of the third theatre room, the hospital will be capable of conducting six operations per day and 120 per month thus reducing the number of patients in waiting list. Kuwait Ambassador to Tanzania Jassem Al- Najem said that the donated equipment was worth 325m/-. The envoy said his country is committed to offer more assistance to Tanzania’s health sector such as improving mother and child health and facilitate blood donation services.

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