AMREF crafts eight-year   plan to boost health sector

DAR ES SALAAM : AMREF Tanzania has launched a multi-billion strategic plan focusing on supporting provision of quality healthcare for the Tanzanian population.

The launch of the eight-year strategic plan, worth 458 million US dollars (approximately 1.15 tri/-), was graced by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa who stressed the importance of proper management of the funds to reach the intended beneficiaries.

Speaking over the weekend in Dar es Salaam during the inauguration of the strategic plan, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said the initiative focuses on  catalysing and driving community-led and people-centred essential health services while addressing social determinants of health.

“This demonstrates a commitment to improving the well-being of our communities.

To improve maternal health, it is necessary to focus on improving access to sexual and reproductive health rights and maternal health services, especially for young women, to help reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies and ensure the safety of both mothers and children.”

To ensure that the strategy is successful, Amref must closely monitor the funds. This fund should directly impact the community by at least 60 per cent instead of benefitting a few through meetings and seminars,” he said.

The initiative aims to reach 30 million service contacts where 60 per cent will be women and 40 per cent young people. Through the strategy 20,000 community health workers will be engaged.

Amref Tanzania’s Country Director, Dr Florence Temu said the eight-year multi-billion strategy will commence this year with a budget of 40 million US dollars (approximately 100bn/-), adding that in each year the budget will rise by 10 per cent.

According to her in 2024, the budget will rise to 44 million US dollars before jumping to 48 million US dollars in 2025. In 2026 the budget will rise to 53 million US dollars before again jumping to 58million US dollars in 2027. In 2028, the budget will be 64 million US dollars; in 2029 it will be 70 million US dollars while in 2030, the budget will be 78 million US dollars.

Addressing participants during the event Dr Temu noted that the strategic plan will give direction to Amref Tanzania in underlying its core duties of investing in community-led and people-centred health systems for sustainable primary healthcare.

“In our strategic plan, spanning eight years (2023-2030), we are committed to ensuring that a wide range of public communities have access to and benefit from primary healthcare services.

“Our focus includes investing in Universal Health Coverage and addressing social determinants of health, which have contributed to the rapid spread of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and other illnesses — including climate-linked diseases,” she said.

She added: “We also intend to strengthen health systems and communities’ resilience to the health impacts of climate change. It is our goal to enhance the capacity of the health sector to combat epidemics by learning from the Covid-19 outbreak.”

Prior to this new strategy, Amref Tanzania had a five-year strategy from 2018 to 2022. During the implementation, Amref completed 59 projects in all 31 regions in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

The new Amref Tanzania 2023-2030 strategy will cut across six programmes that include   two newly crafted programmes while four are initiatives that are continued from programmes that were being carried in the recently completed five-year strategic plan.

The new programmes include investment in community-led and people-centred health systems for sustainable primary health care; and social determinants of health and emerging threats.

As part of the previous strategic plan, four programmes will continue to be implemented for the next eight years.

According to the Amref Tanzania, the first programme is centred on improving the health of women and children in the communities while the second programme is focused on disease control and prevention that aims at ensuring the quality implementation of community and facility-based interventions.

The third programme is centered on water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH),  aiming to ensure that communities have adequate capacity to develop, operate and maintain their water sources as well as sustainably improve sanitation and hygiene practices to prevent and control water- and sanitation-related diseases while improving nutrition and livelihoods.

The fourth programme focuses on capacity building, aiming at supporting and strengthening the capacity of the facility and community-based health workforce by increasing the skill mix of healthcare workers.

Furthermore, they will empower women and youths through knowledge and interventions aimed at improving overall quality of life, recognising the crucial link between quality of life and health outcomes.

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