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Tanzania: Tanzania Health Profile




The health status in Tanzania is still improving with the support from the government which has provided 60% of facilities in the government health service compared to other sub Saharan African countries

Regulatory Framework

Ministry Of Health and Social Welfare
The Ministry of Health and Social welfare is responsible for the following formulation of Health related policies, provision of hospital services, preventive services, chemical management services, forensic science services, food and drug quality services, reproductive Health services, promotion of traditional medicine, inspection of health services, participating in international health and medical organizations.

National Health Policy 2003
The National Health Policy is aimed at providing direction towards improvement and sustainability of the health status of all the people, by reducing disability, morbidity and mortality, improving nutritional status and raising life expectancy.

The policy recognizes that good health is a major resource essential for poverty eradication and economic development.

Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority
The Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) was established under the Tanzania Food, Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 2003 to regulate importation, manufacture and distribution of medical devices

Medical Stores Department (MSD)
MSD was created by an act of Parliament in 1993 with the express objective of furnishing to the nation good quality drugs and medical equipment at accessible prices, made available through approved government and non-government agencies throughout Tanzania.

National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR)
NIMR was established with the following functions:

  • To carry out and promote the carrying out of medical research designed to alleviate disease among the people of Tanzania
  • To carry out and promote the carrying out of research into various aspects of local traditional medical practices for the purpose of facilitating the development and application of herbal medicine
  • To cooperate with the government or any person, or body of persons

The health status in Tanzania is still improving with the support from the government which has provided 60% of facilities in the government health service compared to other sub Saharan African countries.

Over the past ten years positive trends on different health indicators have been seen with a decreasing under five mortality rate and infant mortality. Other positive developments have been seen concerning the coverage of child immunisation and vitamin A supplementation.

Characteristics of the sector

  • The distribution of health facilities has a heavy rural emphasis because more than 70% of the population live in rural areas
  • There is significant progress towards goals in reducing infant and child mortality
  • Local health services characterized by severe shortages of essential drugs, equipment and supplies and deteriorating infrastructure and plagued by poor management
  • Two major diseases in Tanzania are malaria and HIV/AIDS

Geographical access to health services

Access to quality health services varies geographically, but on average rural populations in Tanzania tend to be closer to health facilities than rural populations in neighbouring countries. 79% of the population has access to essential drugs and 70% of the population lives within five kilometres of a state funded health facility.

Investment opportunities

Investments in private health facilities will help improve the standard of medical care in Tanzania. This raises opportunities in

  • Building new and modern hospitals, health centres and dispensaries
  • Manufacture and distribution of drugs, medical and hospital equipment.
  • Establishing of health insurance
  • Training facilities for doctors, health officers and nurses
  • Establishment of hi tech hospitals which could serve as medical tourist centres.

Challenges in the sector

  • Inadequate equipment and unreliability of supplies
  • Lack of supervision and low motivation among the health workers  
  • Inadequate communication between health service providers at the various levels means that provider skills and facilities are not maximized and that it is difficult to organize referrals and feedback through the various levels of the referral chain
  • Low salaries to the health workers
  • Inadequate performance evaluation and feedback in the health centres
  • Lack of participation in decision-making processes
  • A general lack of concern for workers welfare by the hospital management

Referral Hospitals

The health system in Tanzania follows the pattern of government structures of leadership in the form of hierarchy. There are different levels of services.

Referral hospitals in Tanzania provide health care services for the various regions in the country and are overseen by Ministry of Health and Social Welfare

Referral  hospitals in Tanzania have been summarised to include the following

Bugando Hospital
Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre
Mbeya Referral Hospital
Muhimbili Hospital
Tanzania Heart Institute