OCTOBER 13, 2022, HabariLEO visited the Ocean Road Institute (ORCI) and witnessed patients continuing treatment.

Some were treated when the disease was still in a low state and others were delayed and the disease was advanced.

Outside the wall of the building, two people were leaving the hospital.

They seemed to be going out for treatment and returning home.

I approached them to talk to them.

I introduced myself.

One said his name is Happy John and the other Ester.

We stayed at a friend's place and I asked them why they were at the hospital.

Happy replied: "I have brought my brother to get treatment because he is suffering from cancer."

I looked at Ester who looked sick.

I asked him when he was diagnosed with a disease.

He replied that it is in 2020 after he started seeing the symptoms.

However, he says he was late to the hospital due to the use of natural medicine.

Ester Dahayo (41) says that she started to see a smelly liquid in her vagina and later bleeding after intercourse.

However, he says due to lack of understanding, he started going to local healers for treatment.

"I am married to my second wife and because we always have arguments with my older wife, when I saw blood coming out of my vagina, I knew straight away that she was bewitching me, so I started going to healers to help me recover," he says.

He says that after receiving treatment, his condition continued to worsen and natural medicines did not help him, so he decided to go to the regional hospital and was referred to ORCI (Ocean Road).

Ester, who continues to receive treatment, advises people to check their health regularly so that when they are diagnosed with a problem, they can start receiving treatment early.


Ester is among the many patients with non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart and nerve diseases, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases who are delayed in reaching health centers to receive treatment.

Director ORCI, Dr. Julius Mwaisalage, says approximately 75 percent of cancer patients arrive late and are in the third or fourth stage of the disease.

"Then they are late, but if they are in the first or second stage, the disease is curable," he insists.

The Coordinator of Cancer Education and Prevention from the Bugando Referral Hospital, Kidaya Christian, says that 40 percent of cancer patients reach the first and second stages while 60 percent reach the third and fourth stages.

"There are many treatments for such a patient, the biggest is education, many people do not know the truth that, if they are ever in the hospital, they will recover;

they still adopt habits, that's why you find a woman bleeding from the birth canal that is not normal, she ignores it and thinks it will end or even thinks of superstition.

The director of the Jakaya Kikwete Heart Institute (JKCI), Dr. Peter Kisenge, says there are small studies conducted in Arusha region.

Of the 947 people tested, 20 percent had high blood pressure.

"We asked them if they had ever gone to the hospital even to check their health... About 30 percent of the patients said they had never gone for a test," he said.

He adds: "If you take the research, it shows that there is only a large percentage of people who do not go to check their health, but also, a large percentage of patients who like to come to the hospital are women.

Out of those 947, 94 percent of the mothers indicated that they had been to the hospital differently from the men.

Dr. Kisenge says that many patients, especially those with high blood pressure, reach the heart muscle when it is already dilated and for some, the heart begins to fail because they have lived with a heart problem for a long time without treatment.

"They come to us with symptoms that have started to appear like tiredness, swollen legs and they have already suffered the effects," he says.

Diabetes Specialist, Professor Andrew Swai, says that among the challenges of diabetes is not showing symptoms early and even when symptoms appear, the disease has already reached an advanced stage.

"When the sugar has risen to be very high and at that time the sugar starts to be too much in the urine and the kidney fails to filter," he said.

He explains: "Normally, the kidneys filter all the substances in the blood;

the good ones bring them back and the bad ones come out now when you reach the sugar level, the kidney fails to bring it back because if you see someone with sugar in the urine, it is a very high step."

He says the symptom of frequent urination, can damage the organs of the body such as the liver, eyes and other areas.

"Many people come with diabetes after five to 10 years without having any symptoms, but at that time, the eyes are damaged, the blood vessels are damaged..."


Non-communicable diseases are diseases whose pathogens are not transmitted from one person to another.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2016, 42 million deaths equal to 27 percent were due to these diseases.

In Tanzania, it is estimated that these diseases cause 27 percent of deaths.

A study in 2012 showed that, for every 100 people aged 25 and over, nine people have diabetes, 26 people have high blood pressure and 25 people have excess fat in the blood while 34 people are overweight.

Compared to the 1986/1987 study, the disease has continued to increase rapidly.

In those years it showed that one person out of 100 people had diabetes and only five people out of 100 had high blood pressure.


The use of natural remedies and superstitious beliefs are cited as one of the main reasons why patients arrive late at health centers or even run away from hospital treatment.

Other reasons identified are society not having regular health checks and little understanding of non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic diseases of the nervous system.

Health experts say that these habits have been costing the lives of many people.

Kidaya says the use of natural medicine is a big problem for patients because it delays patients from getting the right treatment.

He says: "Some go to local healers believing that they are bewitched, so they spend a lot of time going there to diagnose themselves and after they fail, they come to the hospital."

And Dr. Kisenge says the problem is that people do not have the awareness to test their health voluntarily even if they are not sick.

Professor Swai says another problem is people looking for alternative medicine due to religious reasons or the cost of hospital treatment being high.

"Now many doctors do not have a real cure to help, they waste time when they fail, that's why they come to the hospital, they waste time because of using natural medicine and receiving advice from different people," he explained.

He advises people to check their health regularly, especially blood pressure and diabetes because they do not show symptoms.


Pediatrician at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), Professor Fransis Furia, says health workers have also been the source of patients not getting the right treatment on time.

"The ability of service providers to identify these diseases is limited and health service providers are delaying them, but not only that, people are also delayed because they are sent to be prayed for or to alternative medicine," he says.

He says that even those who ever go to the hospital, some fall into the challenge of being late because others are getting treatment for other diseases because those diseases are similar.

"For example, cancer is similar to tuberculosis, so they give him tuberculosis drugs for a long time, which causes him to fail to get the right cancer treatment on time," he says.


Professor Furia says: "The community and health professionals need to be given education and built to recognize them because if they detect them early, they will take them to the right services directly."

He says the causes of these non-communicable diseases are bad lifestyles including bad eating and lack of exercise.

He advises to focus on eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising.

The Director of the African Health Organization Tanzania Branch (AMREF TZ), Dr. Florenc Temu advises the community saying: "People should have the habit of examining health, the habit of reading, living a life that does not lead to the possibility of getting diseases and examining health regularly and getting professional advice.”

Regarding the government, he says that service providers should have examination equipment in all hospitals from the clinic level to the higher levels so that people do not go to the hospital just because they are sick, but go because they are examining their health."