On average 19,699 people in Mtwara go for health screening services in a year. However last year, a meeting between head of Local Government Authority departments and social accountability and monitoring team in Mtwara, Mikindani unveiled a not very pleasant situation. One of the most striking issues that raised concern during the meeting was the facilitation of quarterly health screening services (injuries, diabetes, hypertension, cervical and breast cancers) to 56 secondary schools during World AIDS day of 2014. It was reported that health department was able to conduct screening services to 56 secondary schools, a claim which was later refuted by People Living with HIV/AIDS, CSOs and councillors.
National council of people living with HIV (NACOPHA) under USAID, SAUTI YETU project is strengthening Local Government Authority on social accountability monitoring to enable the authorities analyze data collected from the relevant department of the District Councils so as to influence decisions and process at various levels in the community, local Government or national authorities that impact on the lives and right of PLHV and national at large.
The meeting revelations followed a one week training conducted by NACOPHA in June, 2014. The training was on social accountability and monitoring to 15 people team from Mtwara Mikindani (the team is comprised by People Living with HIV, civil society organizations, councillors, and religious leaders).They were trained on methodologies of data collection, analysis and verification based on five social accountability stages and management of documents produced from the process.
The Mikindani District Medical Officer, Dr Mahela Njile admitted the error by saying “it was just a typing error in the reported activity but I promised to act on it” After this admission, the social accountability and monitoring team decided to visit all projects and activities in the areas identified through the reviewed documents.
Mr. Chale Hassan, team member from Mtwara Mikindani, clarified that although they were happy to get clarification, but still some project activities on site were different from what has been reported.
Having received the report, The District Executive Director of Mtwara Mikindani, Mr. Shimwela Lieis stated that the social accountability and monitoring team intervention and ability of analyzing and questioning the use of public funds made the exercise to be named as a “second eye” which will lead to effective implementation of activities, transparency and accountability for Local Government Authority.
The four-year project that began in December 2013 is being implemented in Morogoro, Dodoma, Iringa and Mtwara regions. Eight district clusters from the four regions have been reached, while fifteen participants in each district benefited from the training.