Zanzibar Island, Tanzania, 25 April 2023 – Aga Khan Health Service, Tanzania today marked a significant 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, specialised 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 (€75 million) 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 billion (€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 qualified and specialised human resource. In addition, we are also working towards the availability of digital healthcare systems.”
Her Excellency Mariam Mwinyi further added: “We recognise and value the relationship of the Government of Zanzibar with the Aga Khan Development Network, which extends over 100 years, as well as the growing and important role of the private investors that invest in health services to combat diseases and improve healthcare services.”
“Our relationship with France goes back many years and spans many projects around the globe," noted Princess Zahra Aga Khan. "The Government of France and Agence Française are committed to improving health outcomes in low-income countries, and in East Africa particularly.
“[The Aga Khan Polyclinic in Zanzibar] symbolises 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.”
The Aga Khan Polyclinic, Zanzibar will benefit the local community in many ways beyond just healthcare. With a staff that is 70 percent 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, immunisation, 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 specialised healthcare programmes, and remain the most significant private non-profit organisation operating under AKDN. AKHS’s focus on enhancing access to high-quality and cost-effective health care through its "hub and spokes" 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.
Read about the history of the Polyclinic and Zanzibar’s health system.
Read Princess Zahra Aga Khan’s speech.
Read Her Excellency First Lady Mariam Mwinyi’s speech.
Read His Excellency Nabil Hajlaoui's speech.
Watch a video from the Polyclinic opening ceremony.
About the Aga Khan Development Network & Aga Khan Health Services
Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) is a group of private, international, non-denominational agencies established by His Highness the Aga Khan, which partners with other like-minded organisations to help improve the quality of life of those in need irrespective of their origins, faith, or gender. Through initiatives in sectors such as health care, education, culture, rural development, institution building and the promotion of economic development, AKDN takes a multifaceted approach to help communities and individuals become self-reliant. The Network also espouses a set of values and norms, which include pluralism and cultural tolerance, gender and social equity, civil society organisation and good governance. The AKDN therefore has a holistic view of progress that goes beyond poverty alleviation to encompass a more rounded view of human experience and aspirations.
Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS) is one of three agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) that supports activities in health care, together with the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and the Aga Khan University (AKU). Working to tackle today’s greatest health challenges in low-and-middle income countries, the three agencies of the AKDN provide quality health care to over eight million people annually and work closely on planning, training, and resource development. Through our focused presence in Central Asia, East Africa, and South Asia, AKHS operates 14 hospitals and medical centres, as well as 375+ health centres, offering one of the most comprehensive non-profit healthcare systems in the developing world. AKHS also works with the Aga Khan Education Service (AKES) and the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) on the integration of health issues into other sectors.
AKHS operates in Afghanistan, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Uganda, with central coordination from AKDN offices in Geneva, Switzerland. The offices are linked internationally through network-wide strategies for regional geographies, as well as topics of importance to the agency, such as quality of care, digital health, virtual learning, climate change measures, population health, communication, human resource development and audit.
About the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) – Project Funding Partner
The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) implements France’s policy on international development and solidarity. Through its financing of NGOs and the public sector, as well as its research and publications, AFD supports and accelerates transitions towards a fairer, more resilient world. It also provides training in sustainable development (at AFD Campus) and other awareness-raising activities in France.
With our partners, we are building shared solutions with and for the people of the Global South. Our teams are at work on more than 4,000 projects in the field, in the French Overseas Departments and Territories, in 115 countries and in regions in crisis. We strive to protect global public goods – promoting a stable climate, biodiversity, and peace, as well as gender equality, education, and healthcare. In this way, we contribute to the commitment of France and the French people to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Towards a world in common.
In Tanzania, working closely with the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, AFD’s focus has been on financing infrastructure sectors such as water and sanitation, energy and transport. Over the past few years, AFD has broadened its scope to include health and agriculture. Over the 2008-2022 period, AFD has provided more than €1 billion of financing to the country, mostly through concessional sovereign loans. This financing has already changed the lives of millions of Tanzanians: for example, a million people benefitted from improved water services and 100,000 households from improved access to electricity thanks to AFD-funded projects.
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