Zanzibar Island April 25, 2023: Aga Khan Health Service, Tanzania today marked a historic and extraordinary expansion of its outreach health programme by opening its first Aga Khan Polyclinic in the Old Dispensary at Stone Town in Zanzibar Island. The new Aga Khan Polyclinic will allow the citizens of Zanzibar and Mainland Tanzania to identify alternative and new sources of valuable services in a vast range of areas including in the latest technologies in imaging, pathology, renal complication management, enhanced urgent care, specialized cardiopulmonary services, pharmacy, ophthalmology, and dentistry care delivered by highly trained, Family Medicine specialists.
The Old Dispensary was first built in 1887 and was subsequently leased to the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) by the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar in 1990. Between 1994 and 1996, AKTC restored the Old Dispensary building. In April 2022, the Stone Town Conservative Development Authority (STDA) approved the design and granted renovation of the facility to Aga Khan Polyclinic while continuing to maintain it as a conservation site.
Since the establishment of its first health dispensary in 1929, the Aga Khan Health Service, Tanzania has aimed to develop an integrated health system in the United Republic of Tanzania, with the goal of overcoming critical barriers to accessing quality healthcare and positively impacting the country’s health standards. This work has included a Tsh 192 billion expansion of the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar-es-Salaam, which was funded by the Government of France through a loan from Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and from the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). The expansion has positioned the hospital as a premier teaching and tertiary hospital with a vision to operate 35 outreach health facilities across Tanzania. As part of the expansion of this outreach programme, Tsh. 2.0 billion (Euro 800,000) from the initial financing from AFD and AKDN has been invested towards renovating and equipping the Aga Khan Polyclinic, Zanzibar.
Speaking at the event the chief guest, Her Excellency First Lady Mariam Mwinyi said “the Government is working to expand the capacity and quality of healthcare facilities to improve public health service delivery. Our key priorities are improving the provision and delivery of quality reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health services, as well as ensuring the availability of the qualified and specialized human resources. In addition, we are also working towards the availability of digital health care systems. Her Excellency Mariam Mwiniyi further said, “the Government also acknowledges and recognizes the growing and important role of the private investors to combat diseases and improve health care services.
The First Lady said, “we recognize and value the relationship of the Government of Zanzibar with the Aga Khan Development Network, which extends over 100 years”.
“Our relationship with France goes back many years and spans many initiatives around the globe. The support and commitment of Agence Française de Développement to improving health outcomes in low-and-middle income countries, particularly in East Africa, has been instrumental to our work as Aga Khan Health Services and the broader Aga Khan Development Network,” noted Princess Zahra Aga Khan. “The Aga Khan Polyclinic in Zanzibar symbolizes our commitment to supporting the Government’s vision for a better tomorrow. By providing affordable, equitable health care services, disease prevention and health promotion, the Polyclinic supports the Zanzibar Development Vision 2050, which aims to provide a sustainable universal healthcare system staffed by skilled healthcare professionals and supported by modern medical technologies and facilities,” further noted Princess Zahra Aga Khan.
The Aga Khan Polyclinic, Zanzibar will benefit the local community in many ways beyond just healthcare. With a staff that is 70% Zanzibarian, the clinic will drive social and economic development on the island by offering employment and skills building opportunities.
“The establishment of this Outreach Health Centre in Zanzibar and its link to the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar-es- Salaam will enable people across the Island to access affordable and quality health care at their doorstep. The Aga Khan Polyclinic in Zanzibar is one of 24 centres already established that have been financed by France through AFD with the objective to protect the most vulnerable patients — including over 150,000 women and children — through family planning, immunization, growth monitoring and antenatal care across various regions in partnership with the various district and regional health systems,” noted French Ambassador to Tanzania, HE Nabil Hajlaoui.
Aga Khan Health Services is committed to upholding a quality culture within all its service delivery centres with the guiding principle to be the best, offer excellent quality services and specialized health care programmes, and remain the most significant private non-profit organisation operating under the AKDN. AKHS’s focus on enhancing access to high-quality and cost-effective healthcare through its ‘hub and spoke’ model with world-class facilities, cutting-edge technology, infrastructures, and highly trained staff has driven its continued growth over the last nine decades, which is a strong testament to the institution’s commitment to healthcare development in the United Republic of Tanzania.