Tanzania: Getting better healthcare for mums and children

Each year, millions of women and children die from preventable causes. The UN Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health sets out key areas where action is urgently required to enhance financing, strengthen policy and improve service delivery in order to stop this from happening.

A number of consultations and meetings within Tanzania have been going on to identify how we can support the  Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health.  These consultations started within the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW), followed by inter-ministerial consultation and then meetings with development partners and local organisations (the organizations are often based in local communities and represent civil society).

Save the Children, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, organized a consultation meeting on the role of local organisations in achieving Millennium Development Goal 4 and 5. We also discussed how the strategy will be implemented after the UN Summit.

The local organisations came up with the following areas where they could play a major role in implementing the strategy. They should:

  1. Get more information on the health budget so they can advocate for increased financing for maternal and newborn child health services.
  2. Support the Ministry of Health to explore innovative policy options to increase the number of skilled health workers needed for maternal and newborn child health services. Work with the government in increasing the health force and retaining and motivating health workers at all levels.
  3. Extend further maternal and newborn child health service delivery, such as family planning, immunizations and prevention of mother-to-child transmission, at facility and community levels.

To ensure accountability, the government in collaboration with partners, should put in place monitoring systems to track progress in the commitments and pledges made.

Find out more about our work in Tanzania

Note:

The key documents guiding Tanzania to address the Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health include, the National Road Map Strategic Plan to Accelerate Reduction of Maternal, Newborn and Child Deaths in Tanzania 2008 – 2015, the Primary Health Service Development Programme 2007 – 2017, the Health Sector Strategic Plan III, 2009 – 2015 and the Human Resource for Health Strategic Plan 2008 -2013.

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Comments

  • This is great to hear about, Alfred. I am especially interested in how civil society can become better informed about and influence budget decisions. Whether it is aid money or money from Tanzanian people’s taxes, the decision on how to use it is one that civil society should participate it. We are working to develop a toolkit for participatory budget tracking in health. I hope we can work with Tanzania on it.

  • Alfred Sanga

    Most civil society organization in Tanzania, work at district level supporting districts (financially and technically) to run and manage a number of health programmes for the sake of improving the standard and quality of health services. Civil society organizations are supposed to work together with district authorities in the process of planning and budgeting. Financial contributions from the CSOs should be known to district authorities to enhance partnership and transparency. It is through this partnership where CSOs become informed and influence budget decisions. Once the CSOs have been involved in this process then they have in one way participated in the decision on the use of funds.
    To ensure that funds are used accordingly, communities must be empowered to demand for the budget and expenditures from the district authorities. CSOs could work together with district authorities on creating community demand for public accountability on quality services and funds allocated for health though it is a long way to achieve this.