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Low-income countries

Achieving universal health coverage in Tanzania

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Gemini Mtei and Suzan Makawia, of the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania, wrote an assessment of their country’s progress towards universal health coverage for GNHE.

You can read the full assessment here.

The authors’ concluding points are:

  • Despite the significant contribution of public and donor resources in Tanzania, benefit distribution is still pro-rich, even for some public providers (especially hospitals).
  • Benefits are pro-poor only in primary care facilities, which in many cases are characterized by poor quality and unavailability of certain services.
  • Out-of-pocket payments are inequitable.
  • Impoverishment due to catastrophic payments for health care translated into about 480,000 people falling into poverty in 2007.
  • The Tanzanian government has committed itself to attaining universal coverage through the expansion of health insurance coverage to 30% of the population by 2015 and increased government allocations to the health sector.
  • A challenge to the achievement of this target, though, is the high dependency on donor funding, especially as some donors are pulling out of health sector basket funding due to concerns about value for money.
  • Catastrophic health care payments and impoverishment might increase as long as donor funds remain unsustainable and if general tax allocations to the health sector do not increase.
  • More attention also has to be paid to extending coverage among the poor.
  • The range and quality of public sector services also need to be improved as this where most poor households access the health system.

 

Read more in: Mtei G, Makawia S. 2014. Universal health coverage assessment: Tanzania. Global Network for Health Equity (GNHE). Available at: http://gnhe.org.