Coronavirus (226) The New Humanitarian: When coronavirus came to Tanzania

26 March, 2020

Extracts below. Full text here: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2020/03/24/coronavirus-tanzania-...

... On Monday, 16 March, the Tanzanian health ministry confirmed the country’s first case of COVID-19 at the government-run Mt. Meru Hospital in the centre of Arusha, a city of 463,000 people at the base of Mount Meru, not far from Kilimanjaro... Within an hour of the announcement, more and more Tanzanians were crowding the pharmacies and purchasing protective masks, hand sanitiser, and plastic gloves. Bottles of hand sanitiser doubled in price and then quickly sold out...

Juma, an employee at a safari airline who asked TNH to use a pseudonym to protect his identity, said he didn’t believe the government had been prepared for a possible outbreak and wasn’t taking the crisis seriously.

He referred to an earlier press conference – in response to the first COVID-19 case being reported in South Africa – when Mwalimu, the health minister, said: “I believe that God is going to protect us during this tragedy.”

“Can you imagine a government saying this? I was so frustrated by this,” Juma said. “This isn’t right. We’ve had a more than two-month headstart on this. It was bound to come to Tanzania. We should have been preparing and creating awareness and making sure everyone had the information and education they needed so that they would know exactly what to do when the virus arrives.”...

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Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org