Itandura dispensary gets facelift, thanks to Barrick’s corporate social impact

By Lake Zone Watch Writer

The refurbishment of Itandura dispensary at Nyakunguru village, Kibasuka ward, in Tarime district, has brought joy to thousands of villagers who, for fifty years had to endure hazardous journeys in search of medical care.

“We really thank North Mara Gold Mine (NMGM) and the parent company Barrick for coming to our rescue. In the financial year 2019/2020, we received 170m/- through NMGM corporate social responsibility. We used the money to rehabilitate Itandura dispensary infrastructure,” says Nyakunguru village chairman Chacha Makuri.

The dispensary was opened in 1968, but in 1970, it suspended its services for lack of infrastructure and personnel to run its activities. For 53 years, Nyakunguru villagers were forced to travel 10 km to and fro to seek health services in the nearby villages of Nyarwana and Nyamongo.

However, early this year, God answered their prayers with the renovation of the out-patient building and the construction of a modern house to accommodate the Itandura dispensary staff.

“The credit goes to North Mara Gold Mine and its parent company Barrick for living up to its corporate social impact in contributing to societal goals,” Nyakunguru villagers say. NMGM is administered through the partnership of the Tanzanian government and Barrick under a subsidiary company Twiga Minerals.

“As you can see, this dispensary has been opened and the community around has access to health services,” Nyakunguru village chairman Makuri says while recalling the past fondly.

He added: “The CSR money has rescued villagers, especially women and children, who had to pass through hills and valleys to reach Nyarwana and Nyamongo seeking healthcare services.”

“The villagers faced untold suffering during the rainy season when they had to cross flooding rivers or to abandon their journeys altogether for fear of losing their lives,” says Matiko Nyaiho, a resident of Nyanungu.

“The CSR money from North Mara Gold Mine has saved the lives of the villagers as they access medical services from a nearby dispensary.”

Another Nyakunguru resident, Rhobi Petro, says the resumption of health services at Itandura dispensary would curb the disintegration of marriages at Nyakunguru village as women spent over 12 hours seeking medical services as their husbands became impatient and suspicious of their whereabouts.“We thank the CSR money; now we have a dispensary and its personnel. Our marriages will now stablise,” Rhobi says.

Oswald Wilbert, the Itandura dispensary medical officer in-charge, says villagers have been relieved of the burden of travelling long distances in search of medical care.

Through the CSR initiative, Nyakunguru has also received a donation of 313m/- from North Mara Gold Mine for the construction of classrooms and other facilities for Nyamichele Nyakunguru A and Nyakunguru B primary schools.

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