Find Health and Medical expertise in United Republic of Tanzania
- Health sector
- Pharmaceuticals industry
Tanzania has nine referral hospitals, including one each in Dar es Salaam (Muhimbili National Hospital, eastern zone), in Moshi (northern), in Mzanza (western) and in Mbeya (southern), some of which are part funded by the church or charities. There are also regional and district hospitals, health centres and dispensaries throughout the country.
The WHO reported in 2010 that Tanzania’s health status is continually improving, despite the challenges provided by AIDS, TB and various tropical diseases. However, fees are generally payable for health services, which puts even basic health care beyond the reach of some Tanzanians.
The National Health Insurance Fund, established in 1999, is funded by compulsory payments made by public servants and covers up to five dependents, but this only caters to 5% of the population. There is also a small private insurance industry, mainly linked to private sector employers. An alternative type of health insurance for those working in the informal sector in rural areas, the Tanzanian Community Health Fund, was launched in 2001. The equivalent for urban areas is Tiba kwa Kadi. Only a small number of people pay into it, however.
The WHO Country Cooperation Strategy (2010–15) focuses on strengthening the capacity of health systems and services, as well as scaling up health service delivery.
Communicable and non-communicable diseases
Communicable diseases along with maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions accounted for an estimated 58% of all mortality in Tanzania in 2012. The prevalence of HIV in Tanzania, as a percentage of people aged 15–49 years, stood at 5% in 2013. The period 1990–96 saw a great increase in HIV prevalence, following which the rate decreased to 6% in 2007, remaining above the 1990 prevalence of 5%. The number confirmed cases of malaria increased dramatically in 2003, before decreasing significantly for the years 2008 and 2009, the rate was then seen to rise again and in 2012 stood at 1,986,955 reported cases, while the number of deaths from the disease decreased by almost two-thirds in the period 2006–12. There has been a significant overall decrease in the estimated incidence and mortality (when mortality data excludes cases comorbid with HIV) from tuberculosis (TB) in the period 1990–2012. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) accounted for an estimated 30% of all mortality in 2012. The most prevalent NCDs in Tanzania are cardiovascular diseases, which accounted for 9% of total deaths across all age groups in 2012. Cancer, diabetes and non-communicable variants of respiratory diseases contributed 5%, 2% and 1% to total mortality, respectively (2012).
Just under two-fifths of health care in Tanzania (39%) was government funded in 2012. The remaining 61% was paid for by patients or funded by other non-governmental entities, such as private insurers, charities or employers. Total health expenditure constituted 7% of GDP in 2012. Expenditure by government amounts to US$16 per capita.
In 2013 government expenditure on health was 2.7% of GDP. In the most recent survey, conducted between 1997 and 2010, there was 1 doctor, and 24 nurses and midwives per 100,000 people. Additionally, in 2010, 49% of births were attended by qualified health staff and in 2013, 99% of one-year-olds were immunised with a dose of measles. In 2014, 56% of people were using an improved drinking water source and 15% of the population had access to adequate sanitation facilities.
Tanzania was not an original signatory to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but acceded to it in 1976 and has written the covenant into law. It includes ‘the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’. The covenant commits signees to providing healthy and hygienic environmental conditions, controlling epidemic diseases, improving child health and facilitating access to health services without discrimination.
The total pharmaceuticals budget in Tanzania at the end of 2008 was US$44 million. This represents a US$30 million increase from 2000. Pharmaceutical procurement, supply and distribution are governed by the Medical Stores Department (MSD) through a competitive tender system. Local pharmaceutical manufacturing is insufficient to meet the nationwide demand, so 70 per cent of Tanzania’s medicines are imported. There are eight main pharmaceutical companies that supply medicines to Tanzania.
A number of pharmaceutical companies in the country produce antiretroviral drugs from imported ingredients.
The Tanzania Food and Drug Regulatory Authority regulates pharmaceutical companies.
The most recent survey, conducted in the period 2000–11, reports that Tanzania has less than one pharmaceutical professional per 100,000 people.