DODOMA: THE Swiss-Tanzania Health Promotion and System Strengthening (HPSS) Project has concluded with significant achievements in efforts to improve the country’s healthcare provision.
“The HPSS Project has proven to be a most valuable component of our partnership with the Tanzanian government to reform the health sector and increase access to quality of health services particularly for rural populations, leaving no one behind”, said Didier Chassot, Ambassador of Switzerland to Tanzania.
Working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the President’s Office – Regional Administration and Local Government, HPSS played a key role in transforming the Community Health Fund (CHF) into a functional health insurance system, the ‘improved CHF’ or ‘CHF Iliyoboreshwa’ (iCHF).
The “Jazia Prime Vendor System” established a new channel for the Government to procure medicine to quickly react to supply gaps.
The project also strengthened the maintenance of medical equipment and worked on empowering communities to actively engage in health promotion.
HPSS embarked on its journey as a pilot project in Dodoma in 2011 before expanding to Morogoro and Shinyanga regions.
From 2019 to 2023, HPSS upon the request and decision of the Government rolled out its operations nationwide, covering all 26 regions of mainland Tanzania, with the goal of integrating innovative solutions into the national health system.
At the outset, the HPSS Project had a clear vision for its support to the Government to comprehensively address healthcare challenges at various levels and create sustainable improvements in Tanzania’s healthcare landscape.
The project’s primary commitment was to provide solutions for improving healthcare access, particularly for the most economically disadvantaged.
“After an impressive 12-year journey of unwavering commitment to improving Tanzania’s health system, the HPSS is now coming to an end, we are very proud be the very first government partner to introduce the health system strengthening approaches in the country that proves to be effective for systemic improvement of the health care delivery”, said Mr Ally Kebby, HPSS Project Manager.
“HPSS has made healthcare more accessible, affordable, and effective for all Tanzanians, regardless of their circumstances, and has had a major impact on improving people’s health and wellbeing”, he said.
The project’s most notable achievements include a substantial increase in medicines availability through the Jazia Prime Vendor System program and the enrolment of over 4 million citizens in the affordable “CHF Iliyoboreshwa” insurance scheme.
HPSS Project has been instrumental in elevating healthcare delivery in Tanzania through its integrated approach.
It played a pivotal role in developing IT systems for managing medical equipment, health insurance, and medicine procurement. These systems are operated by the Government and are fully integrated into the national IT policy.
Additionally, the project introduced new training courses to bridge skill gaps among medical dispensers, biomedical engineers, and health promotion specialists.
“This system-strengthening approach fortified the Tanzanian healthcare system and significantly expanded healthcare access for citizens responsively. HPSS identified and implemented various innovations at crucial junctures within the healthcare system, benefiting the entire nation”, said Dr Ntuli Kapologwe, Director of Health, Community Development and Nutritional Services at President’s Office -(Regional Administration and Local Government).
He argued that the Swiss-Tanzanian cooperation project emphasizes health promotion and preventive interventions to improve the health of the population on the one hand, and
“A strong and resilient health system is key to sustainable improvements in the delivery of health care and people’s health”, said Mr Manfred Stoermer, HPSS Project Director.
“The HPSS project has always followed a health system strengthening approach, which includes a variety of measures such as improved health policy and governance, investment in repair and maintenance services, improved availability of medicines, and the establishment of a strong social health insurance scheme, among others”, he said.
In Tanzania, both rural and urban households struggle with healthcare costs, often exceeding 10 per cent of their monthly income. This forces families to choose between paying for healthcare and other essential expenses.
To mitigate this challenge and propel the government’s Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda, the HPSS project has been a leading stakeholder in creating a comprehensive health insurance system tailored for rural populations and the informal sector.