Monday, June 3, 2013

Youths urged to honour traditional customs and cultures

YOUTHS in the country have been urged to honour various traditional cultures of different tribes so as to build up a unified national cultural norms and customs for the development of the future nation.  The call was made yesterday in Dar es Salaam by the Deputy Director of culture in the ministry of Information, Youths, Culture and Sports, Joyce Hagu during the celebrations to mark the International Cultural diversity Day which was held at Russian Cultural centre in the city.  The occasion which was celebrated under the theme titled, “Our culture speaks for the world we want” aimed to create greater awareness of cultural values and the need to preserve them in the country, was organized by the United Nations office in the country and attended by youths most of whom secondary students based in Dar es Salaam city. The secondary schools are Tusiime, Saint Athony, Royola, Laurente, Makongo, St. Marks and Mbezi Beach High school. Also in attendance were some invited diplomatic corps accredited in the country. The occasion was accompanied by the various performances shown by students from these secondary schools that depicted the real situation showing types of traditional dresses, marriage negotiations, male circumcision rites and youths’ initiations as part of various cultures and customs from different tribal groups in the Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar. Among the performers on the stage were various cultural groups who included foreign and local groups such as the Indian cultural dancing group and National Swahili Council (BAKITA) and some Tanzanian artist groups who took most time to entertain the audience in their performing concerts. Before she delivered her speech, the deputy director asked the audience to observe a one silence minute in honour of the beloved Tanzanian artist Albert Mangwea who passed away on Tuesday this week while in South Africa where he went to perform his concerts. In her speech, she said that, the national culture is the only targeting point to be honoured at every cost in order to build youths who are expected to be future leaders of the country, and therefore its imperative for youths to imitate what our forefathers had left as a treasury for the tribal customs. However, she maintained that, honoring the culture goes alongside with honoring traditional dances, dresses, songs, language and African culture. These are the virtues and myths which transpires the welfare of a true African state. The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development tends to be marked in countries that embraced their varied cultural history and acknowledged the importance of embracing it. The occasion reminds people to deepen their understanding on the importance of cultural diversity and harmony. Various events are organized to increase the understanding of issues around cultural diversity and development among governments, non-governmental organizations and the public. Many of these include presentations on the progress of implementing the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. Events include seminars for professionals, educational programs for children and young adolescents, the launch of collaborations between official agencies and ethnic groups and exhibitions to help people understand the history of various cultural groups and the influence on their own identities.

Open University Ilala regional centre to enhance students’ studies

IN the aftermaths of price hiking for printing of study materials for students currently studying through distance learning mode of education with the Open University of Tanzania (OUT),  students’ organization at Ilala regional centre, has timed up to establish a stationery shop that would provide affordable and cheap printing services to their students. Unlike at the moment, students are compelled to receive such services at an exorbitant price rate when going for outside bound stationeries which are too expensive for an ordinary student to afford in order to have printouts of their study materials which are issued to them by the university in a soft copy. In order to cut down such huge expenses, the centre is raising funds from well wishers including academicians from within and outside so as to help finance the establishment of a shop from where students will receive printing services and buy other necessary stationeries for their studies at a comparatively lower price rates. In their six hour meeting with OUT students from Ilala regional centre recently in Dar es Salaam,  members of students’ organization used the opportunity to enlighten fellow students the importance of having own shop which they said would provide them cheap services in order to enhance their studies. Augustine Emmanuel, the regional secretary for OUTSO Ilala centre and the Deputy President of the organization Faraja Kampambe, both urged them to contribute money at least Sh. 5,000 the minimum amount so as to facilitate their move and get avoided with the inconveniences when required to print over 200 paged booklet that costs over Sh. 20,000. According to them, the established stationery shop of their own would charge lower price rate cost of printing one page and this might make them spend between Sh. 4,000 and Sh. 7,000 per each copy of a study material required bearing in mind the fact that, a student is required to have about 14 study materials slated for one academic year. The idea of establishing stationery shop by OUT Ilala regional centre has come about amid a newly introduced system by the OUT management which it has introduced of issuing study materials to their students in soft copy instead of hard copy as it used before. However, an official from the OUT who preferred anonymity when contacted for comments from main university campus said in a telephone interview that, due to increased number of students’ admission at the university, the management is not able to issue hard copies to their students and thus requires them have printout from soft copies provided by the university. He noted that, the policy of the university requires each student to have own computer or laptop everywhere in order to read their materials issued in soft copies. But unfortunately not all 40,000 students admitted yearly in all the faculties at the university are able to afford. In view of this have to seek for an alternative. He further stated that, in addition to that despite of having computers the reading situation is compelled by some other constraints the major one emanating from erratic power supply a common phenomenon in the country which has affected the use of ICT tools such as computers. In view of this, there is a great need of having materials in print form. The Director of the OUT Ilala regional centre, Dr. Helen Kiunsi told The Guardian on Sunday in an exclusive interview yesterday in Dar es Salaam that, her students at the centre have been encountering problems of stationery services during printing their study materials due to skyscraping costs. However, she noted that, her centre requires a capital of approximately Sh. 12.5 million to establish a stationery shop which would serve about 1,500 students in her area. She said adding that, up now have collected the sum of Sh. 1.5 million from well wishers

Muhimbili cardiac centre operations start in June

THE newly constructed cardiac centre at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) is expected to open its doors to the public in June, the hospital management has confirmed. MNH Executive Director Dr. Marina Njelekela said in an interview in Dar es Salaam on the sidelines of a three-day exhibition that showcased various medical and health services   provided by the hospital. It was part of NMH activities to mark its 57 years of existence and 13 years since the facility was titled a national hospital. Exhibitions by MNH staff included medical practitioners showcasing various medical and health activities and how the hospital operates through its various units, with its medical facilities providing high technology diagnostic services. Dr Njelekela noted that preparations are underway to begin performing heart surgeries, as installation of surgery equipment is at the advanced stage at the new building. “We plan to reduce the number of people seeking cardiac related services abroad once the centre is operational,” the director noted. The construction of a cardiac centre in the country is in line with campaign promises by President Jakaya Kikwete in the 2005 polls, laying a foundation stone in 2008 for the building. Government efforts to put up an open heart surgery facility have continued for years, while Muhimbili hospital has been performing minor heart surgeries since 2008, with about 346 heart patients attended since then. Limited capacity to perform heart surgery compels serious heart problems to be treated abroad, particularly in India. The head of the cardiac surgery unit, Dr. Usiri Elijah said the cost for open heart surgery stands at Sh. 10 million regardless of age. The new facility with sophisticated equipment has eight patient beds remotely controlled at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the cardiac centre, and 96 beds to accommodate non-ICU admissions. Technicians are putting the final touches on installing heart surgery equipment, especially catheterization, part of whose function is to locate patients’ veins for conduct of operations. Looking at the high tech buildings and equipment at Muhimbili National Hospital, it is hard to believe that Tanzania’s premier medical institution started out as a simple structure built along the coast of the Indian Ocean. Sewahaji Hospital, as it was known then, took eight years to build—from 1893 to 1905. Soon enough, though, the hospital along the coast of the Indian Ocean had to grow to match the needs of the population. In 1945, the colonial government built a smaller hospital within Muhimbili that came to be known as Makuti. It was so called because most of the buildings were roofed with coconut leaves. The Muhimbili buildings were constructed from in 1954, and on October 11, 1956, Princess Margaret—the second daughter of King George II—laid the foundation stone of the hospital and officially opened sections that were already completed. The hospital’s name was changed to Princess Margaret Hospital and it was upgraded to a referral and training centre.  There would be more name changes—when it became Muhimbili hospital with independence in 1961 and when, in 1976, it was re-baptized to Muhimbili Medical Centre. The MNH Act of Parliament No 5 of 2000 gave it the name Muhimbili National Hospital. It even got an extension in the form of the Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, now the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. Every name change marks a milestone in the hospital’s growth. The hospital started with only four buildings—Sewa Haji, Mwaisela, Kibasila and management building, but now there are 10 big buildings, a hospital brochure notes. The services have grown too, including a fast track system in which patients are attended by the same doctors but are admitted at the private wing.

Mkuranga residents cautioned against vandalism on water infrastructure

MKURANGA District Commissioner (DC), Mercy Sila has cautioned residents of Kiguza village in Mkuranga ward in Coast region against misuse of water pumps and other equipments used for the supply of water and asked them to take care of water wells which are constructed by donors for their domestic use. The DC made the call last week during the inauguration of the two solar driven water wells which took place at Kiguza village and at Tambani Secondary School in Mkuranga district respectively. The two wells have been constructed in the area by help of a US based African Reflections Foundation (ARF) who visited the area in March this year during World Water Day and met with the district officials whom they promised to build for them five wells. The two wells whose pumps uses solar power generation has constructed at a cost of Sh. 70 million, and both of which will be officially handed over to the village government leaders today (on Tuesday) in a ceremony to be attended by officials and councilors from Mkuranga district council. The construction is part of their fulfillment to accomplish the government’s long term program aimed to ensure the implementation of its millennium development goals which requires its people to receive clean and safe water supply by the year 2015. The DC cautioned when she delivered her speech to the people of Kiguza village who turned up to witness the occasion, and she also used the opportunity to warn some untrustworthy people within her district who do not care of the water infrastructures installed and instead tend to steal these equipment without caring about their necessity to the people. She mentioned such equipments as water pumping machines, solar panels, underground pipes and other fixing equipments like water taps and other parts. However, she said and asked her people to take a keen interest and respect donors who to a great extent have played a crucial role to end up water problem facing her people in the district.
 However, the DC has also ordered the village government leaders of the area to plan for a communal security organization saying that it is the only way to curb against the increased vandalism of these equipments. The DC is on the view of the fact that, a planned security organization will create a syndicate that would ensure safety of these equipments placed at constructed water well which are disappearing in a mysterious circumstances. She has also thanked the donor for their sponsorship which she said has helped to a certain extent a great burden that overwhelmed women in the area who toils everyday walking long distances in search of clean and safe water. On her part, the founder of the ARF who is also a consul of the Seychelles government in the country Merryvonne Pool said that, her foundation which has donated over 57 water wells in some other places in the country which have been installed with solar power with 25 lifespan. Out of these wells, 15 have been constructed in Mkuranga district alone. She further noted that, her foundation has started to produce free eye medical treatment to the people within the district, a program which she said will be continuous whenever need be. ARF was established in the country with a view to raise standards of living to the poor people by bringing to them clean and safe drinking water especially to poor communities. The firm has been engaged in construction of water wells in different parts of the country. In order to achieve these objectives, the firm has been working closely with the local government authorities in the country in order to raise then standards of living by providing humanitarian aid.

Insurance companies yet to agree on the new motor vehicle premium rates

INVESTIGATION An investigation by this paper can establish that intense negotiations  are still going on between the Association of Tanzania Insurers (ATI) and that one of the Insurance Brokers Association (TIBA) over what should be the new motor vehicle premium rate for private vehicles scheduled to start effectively in July this year in the country. It has been learnt. The negotiations follow complaints raised earlier by insurance brokers who wanted ATI to reduce the percentage rate it earlier proposed saying that it was too high for their customers to afford an aspect that is likely to render their business transactions ineffectively. However, the Insurance brokers who conduct insurance business on behalf of insurance companies want it to be lower than what the ATI association has proposed. The newly proposed motor premium insurance rates are yet to be made public, but sources revealed to this paper that, ATI wants the initial annual insurance rate be raised to over 6 percent of the vehicles value. The current initial annual rate is 5 percent of the vehicle’s value.  An official from Insurance group of Tanzania Ltd who preferred to remain anonymous said last week in Dar es Salaam in an interview that, the two associations have been holding several meetings since February this year to review the current rates and are yet to reach a conclusion. He said that once agreed, the two associations will issue the report for approval so as to effectively start in July this year.   Speaking on behalf of ATI’s General Manager Mathew Mahundi, an official of the association who asked for anonymity when contacted for comments put it clear main reasons behind the move and said that, it was meant to compensate for the great loses which occurs to damaged vehicles caused as a result of increased accidents in the country.  He said other loses occurs due to various damages including car theft, and added that this has made the motor insurance covers to be the leading category of all insurance premium covers that spends huge sums of  money for compensation to clients in the country. In view of this, ATI association is intending to increase the rates so as to compensate the increased losses which have been occasionally reported by their clients now and then. In mid February this year, ATI association made a joint public notice regarding the increase of motor insurance premiums by Tanzania Insurance companies and rates adjustments which are scheduled to start effectively in July this year. It also analyzed reasons as to why the new rates are to be introduced. A statement was quoted as saying that, for the past three years (2009-2011), the Tanzania insurance industry had experienced a negative performance in the general insurance business. In 2010, the industry recorded an underwriting loss of Sh. 20.43 billion out of which motor insurance accounted for Sh. 4.8 billion and in 2011 the loss increased to Sh. 8.34 billion with motor insurance contributing to Sh. 4.2 billion. The statement further said that, for 2012, the loses are projected to reflect a worse performance. The combined ratios for the last three years have been 99 percent, 102 percent and 106 percent for 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. However, despite of all these, the statement has further praised the Tanzania Insurance industry saying that it is still profitable when investment income is added back to the underwriting results.  The statement quoted number of factors that have contributed to the poor underwriting results and the major ones are age of vehicles, increased motor vehicles and number of accidents and public insurance awareness leading to increase in claims trend by third parties. Other causes are attributed to be due to increase in cost of spare parts and standard of living, high rates of inflation and the reinsurance cost to insurers. This trend indicate a potential disaster to the insurance industry and the overall national economy and so it was found imperative for the market ton effect appropriate adjustments for insurance pricing to resuscitate the ailing insurance industry, reads part of the statement.