On the morning of Tuesday, 4 October 2016, the Uhuru Torch arrived at the Bugisi dispensary, where for more than a year Doctors with Africa CUAMM has been working with local health workers to test and treat those affected by HIV.
Every year the Uhuru Torch passes through Tanzania, making stops at the country’s newly opened or most excellent health facilities to show appreciation for the good work being carried out there. Giada Corona, a Doctors with Africa CUAMM aid worker who has been active in the country’s Shinyanga Region for several months, explains what a festive event the arrival of the torch in Tanzania’s villages and towns is for the communities who live there:
The torch is a very important symbol for Tanzanians. It’s protected around the clock by six soldiers, and carried around the country by scouts in a race named after it, the Uhuru Torch Race.
The clinical officer at the Bugisi dispensary told the local community about the project, which involves – in partnership with the Diocese of Shinyanga – both the construction of a new ward for women and men and renovation of the existing building. The new facility was then inaugurated upon arrival of the torch, with a large plaque unveiled to commemorate the moment.
After Bugisi, – Giada Corona recounts – we went to Tinde, where those carrying the torch stopped to spend the night celebrating, dancing and singing. At the request of the Shinyanga District, project staff had set up areas where people could get HIV tests carried out by our own personnel; we worked until 3:30 in the morning and managed to test a total of 529 people.