Despite great efforts by the Government, researchers and other development partners in tackling infectious and non-communicable diseases it still remains a major challenge in the country.
This was stated by the coordinator of Afya Moja (one health) concept from office of the Prime Minister Harrison Chinyuka while opening the 37th TPHA Annual Scientific Conference and Annual General Meeting in Arusha.
He stated that Tanzania is one of the middle-income countries but also at risk of contracting these diseases and affecting society therefore the conference is very important to discuss the causes of these diseases and how to deal with them.
“There has been an increase in non-communicable diseases in our society such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and so forth so I am confident that the experts here are aware that these diseases have also become a major threat to society and endanger the country’s economy as a whole,use this opportunity to discuss together on how to deal with the effects of these diseases ”stressed Chinyuka.
The co-ordinator of Afya Moja (one health) concept in the Prime Minister’s office further illustrated that for a long time Tanzania has been facing many human, animal and parasitic health problems but the Ministries, Departments and various government and private agencies each has been fighting its own way but in order to achieve greater prevention, preparedness and coping the concept of Afya moja must be used in order to have a collective strength.
“Afya Moja (One Health) concept is more widely used in view of the fact that most of the parasites that cause disease in humans are caused by animals and the rate of infection increases when humans invade the habitat of these animals in their environment without caution,” added Chinyuka.
He noted that the situation is even more dangerous for the African continent considering that the continent, especially in the vicinity of the vast forests of Congo with a wide variety of wildlife and thus being a major source of epidemics such as Ebola, Rift Valley Fever, Marburg and others .
Speaking before welcoming the official guest to open the scientific conference, the party’s chairman Dr. Philbert Nyinondi said that the party was formed in 1980 with the aim of winning the war against the disease enemy they still live with.
He added that in order to ensure that they build a nation and a safer world, the party has actively participated in educating the public, advising on policies, laws and regulations in improving public health, cooperating with the Government and development partners in implementing government programs aimed at improving public health as well as setting up stakeholder forums and providing opportunities for them to make a concerted and strategic contribution to health promotion.
“We are proud of 40 years of working for our party without any conflicts with the governments of all five phases and we with TPHA join our President Dr. John Magufuli in his intention to strengthen and build new health infrastructure as it has strengthened health services in the country “noted Dr. Nyinondi.
He stated the conference provides an opportunity for stakeholders to actively participate in assessing their significant achievements, planning and preparing the community for epidemics and emerging diseases and advising the Government and the world on how best to deal with expected and unexpected outbreaks without significantly affecting human development.
Expressing gratitude to the official guest TPHA Secretary Dr. Mariam Ongara said they as a party will implement all the recommendations of the official guest especially the concept of Afya Moja in order to increase productivity in finding solutions to the challenges of various infectious and non-communicable diseases for the wider interests of society and the Nation.
He noted that they as a party work in compliance with all government guidelines and procedures governing health matters and assisting the government in achieving its goals by conducting research and advising on best practices that should be used to improve people’s health.
Presenting the first topic that carried the conference Professor. Robinson Mdegela from Sokoine Agricultural University (SUA) said that previously the problem of infectious diseases was seen in Africa, China and in the Amazon rainforest areas but now it is worldwide and this is due to the simplification of the route. transportation and thus easily spread the disease.
Prof. Mdegela said studies show that many of these outbreaks and infections are caused by non-human animals such as monkeys, chimpanzees and caterpillars, bats and rodents which are found in every corner of Tanzania and the community lives with others without even taking precautions.
He stated there are several things to do including checking if the expertise and professionalism is in the country to identify these diseases and then inform the public the presence of these diseases as there are areas where the distributors of these diseases are a stew for them such as rats.
The 37th TPHA Annual Scientific Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Tanzania Association of Public Health Professionals (TPHA), carried the topic ““Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases: Risks,
Impacts, preparedness and responses.”