It gives us the opportunity to recount how Doctors with Africa CUAMM launched a government-led healthcare cooperation program in 1977, following the signing of a bilateral agreement between the governments of Italy and Tanzania.
Entitled “Volunteer program in Tanzania in the healthcare sector”, it was Doctors with Africa CUAMM’s first real country program – one which involved the transfer of Italian volunteers to priority areas chosen by the Tanzanian government based on the above-mentioned agreement.
The very first interventions were undertaken at Masasi District Hospital (Mtwara Region), Songea Regional Hospital (Ruvuma Region), Kahama District Hospital (Shinyanga Region), Dodoma Regional Hospital (Dodoma Region) and Chake Chake District Hospital (Pemba). These were all public facilities where the volunteers helped improve standards for clinical activities and the training of local managerial staff by carrying out professional training initiatives and teaching in the paramedic schools found in the hospitals.
In 1982 President Julius Nyerere asked to meet with Doctors with Africa CUAMM’s workers in Tanzania and Don Luigi and Dr. Dal Lago, the organization’s directors at the time, to mark the final year of the program. Here is how Agostino Paganini, then CUAMM’s Tanzania country coordinator, described the encounter in papers held in our archives:
On 12 June 1982 the President of Tanzania welcomed a Doctors with Africa CUAMM delegation, the program coordinator and a group of volunteers and their families to the State House for an enjoyable meeting that lasted about one hour. After introductions had been made and our delegation had given a brief presentation on CUAMM and its objectives, President Nyerere asked about program initiatives and whether any problems had come up in the various locations where they were implemented. After a frank exchange with the various group leaders present, the president gave a closing speech during which he thanked the volunteers for their efforts and urged all repatriating aid workers and their organizations to work to raise awareness among Italy’s people and political and social institutions about the economic crisis underway in the Third World, particularly in Tanzania.
Click here to see the photographs of the 1982 visit with President Nyerere