Basic health care has been an ongoing challenge for Zanzibar Island’s communities on the north-east coast, but happily that situation has now changed.
Where is Kigomani?
Kigomani village is tucked away on the north-eastern coast of Zanzibar (in Swahili, Unguja) Island in the Zanzibar Archipelago. A shortage of facilities and almost non-existent service delivery is the norm for this community of approximately 500 households or 3,200 people.
With few clinics in this region, neighbouring communities have had to use local transport to travel to Stone Town on the West coast, a driving distance of about 60 km (37 mi.) each way.
Ready, steady, stop
With the need for a clinic to serve Kigomani and the nearby communities recognised, land was allocated opposite the community school. In 2012, Government funded the construction of a clinic building and work also started on accommodation for medical staff, who would have to move to the community and live on site. Funds ran out before the project was completed, and most critically, before an ablution block was built – a mandatory requirement for the clinic to open.
From stop to go
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the severe implications for vulnerable communities, Africa Foundation moved healthcare projects like the Kigomani Clinic to a priority level. With generous donor support, the Foundation took on the tasks of completing the medical staff’s accommodation and the one remaining crucial element before the clinic could open to staff or patients: the construction of an ablution block.
Kigomani Clinic opens
The official opening of the Kigomani Clinic on 09 October was a cause for great celebration. Guest of honour was Mr Mussa Makame Mussa, Director of District Council, with Mr Juma Makungu, Deputy Prime Minister of Land and Water, also in attendance.
Now, in addition to the Kigomani villagers, about 11,000 people from nearby communities including Matemwe, Mbyutende and Kijini will have access to the clinic’s general medical treatment for outpatients, and Reproductive and Health Services (RCH). The six clinic staff in place include two clinicians, two trained nurses and two nursing attendants.
While this local clinic has been a long time coming, the health care benefits and additional resilience that it brings to these communities are immeasurable.