The public health facility has now been upgraded into a full health centre after undergoing a major rehabilitation, hence enabling it to deliver a wide range of health services to patients.
Sungusungu Dispensary has become second largest government owned public health facility in entire district of Tarime after the district old government hospital situated in Bomani area.
The dispensary was named after local militia men locally known as Sungusungu, who supervised it’s construction in 1980’s The rehabilitation included construction of administration block, an Out Patient Department(OPT), a laundry room, theatre room, four different wards, toilets as well as installation of sewerage system and supply of safe and clean water at the health centre.
The health centre is now seen as a big relieve to Nyamongo residents especially scores of men suffering from machete wounds that related to uncalled for conflicts. It also serves pregnant women and children less than five years; its aim being to cut down maternal deaths and infant mortality in remote villages surrounding the North Mara Gold Mine, which is operated by African Barrick Gold (ABG).
The mining company has coughed about 350,000 US dollars to finance expansion of the facility, which was established in 1980’s by local militiamen locally known as Sungusungu. Government medical experts based in Tarime estimate that there is about 27,000 people expecting to get health services from Sungusungu health centre.
In addition to that, the health centre serves a number of patients hailing from the neighbouring Serengeti district living by the Mara River. Ordinary people and local leaders have welcomed the expansion of the health facility, predicting good health service delivery.
“First of all we thank ABG for realizing the importance of improving social services like this in our villages. “We believe everything including service will change to be excellent,” Mr Wilson Mangule, a councillor for Kemambo Ward in Nyamongo said.
North Mara Gold Mine General Manager (GM) Mr Gary Chapman said they will donate more materials such as 100 bed sheets to the health centre. “We are proud to handle over this hospital and arrangement has already been made to donate 100 bed sheets.
We understand local people are our good neighbours,” the mine boss said in his brief remarks during the official inauguration of the new health facility and those which have been rehabilitated on October 5.
ABG’s Vice President for Corporate Affairs Mr Deo Mwanyika expressed satisfactory on how the work at the health centre has been done by Kiribo Construction Ltd, a local contractor based in Nyamongo area. “Sungusungu has really changed to be a modern hospital and looks better than other district hospitals,” Mr Mwanyika said.
Expansion of the health facility kicked off in November last year under close supervision of the mine’s expert with Engineering service department Mr Walter Girigori. “Every thing with the rehabilitation and expansion of the hospital went on smoothly and it is a well done job.
We had one of the best contractors in Tarime district which is Kiribo,” Mr Girigori said. ABG North Mara Gold Mine site Civil and Infrastructure Manager Mr Jan Venter described the project as significant and huge investment.
The inauguration occasion was officiated by Minerals Deputy Minister Mr Stephen Masele and his counterpart (Deputy Minister) in charge of Environment in the Vice- President’s Office Mr Charles Kitwanga.
Mr Masele hailed the project as a symbol of how close the government of Tanzania was working with the Canadian miner to improve social services in the communities surrounding the mine.
“This is a clear testimony that the government is close with the mine and ABG is now implementing its promises to the local communities. It is also more exciting to learn that local people have started regarding ABG as good people,” Minister Masele remarked shortly after inaugurating the project.
He directed the mining company to speed up implementation of other promises it has given to communities surrounding the mine under Villages Benefits Implementation Agreement(VBIA) signed between the mine and the seven villages late last year.
The move, according to Mr Masele will help to enhance relations between the mine and local villagers. “You (ABG) need to work so hard to improve your relationship with local communities. If you have good relationship there will be no need of building a wall fence,” the minister said.
Frequent intrusions carried by mainly young men to steal gold sand have forced the Canadian miner to build a multimillion wall fence in a bid to boost it’s security at the mine. Hundreds of men and a few women have invaded the mine pits to steal gold sand despite the fact that it is guarded by armed police officers 24 hours.
North Mara Gold Mine has been recording highest rate of crime compared to other gold mines operated by ABG in the lake zone regions. ABG is rated to be the leading investor in the country’s booming mining sector at this time.