UN agencies reaffirm support to health sector

DAR ES SALAAM: THE United Nations (UN) agencies have reaffirmed their commitment to upholding strong partnerships with Tanzania in improving the health sector.

The aim is to expand access to healthcare and benefit Tanzanians, especially women and children.

They made the pledges recently during the launch of the integrated Community Health Workers (CHWs) programme and the Community Health roadmap, an event held in Dar es Salaam.

“Let me reaffirm commitment to continuing supporting Tanzania for the benefit of this beautiful country’s children, women, communities, and outcomes,” noted the UNICEF Representative to Tanzania, Ms Elke Wisch.

Ms Wisch also commended the government for the significant gains in the health sector, particularly in primary healthcare, and has called on the country to learn from other countries in the region and beyond to further support reform of its community health system.

She said the formalisation of community health workers is a significant step towards identifying vulnerable people and linking them with necessary support, regardless of whether it is related to health, nutrition, water, sanitation, or social services.

She further commended the Ministry of Health for its vision and commitment to reforming community health in Tanzania, pointing out that their programme opens up a new and exciting chapter in the country’s health sector by acknowledging many needs of communities, particularly women and children.

“It presents an opportunity to reach every vulnerable individual, providing comprehensive care and support,” she noted.

According to her, the collective efforts of the government of and development partners have played a pivotal role in designing, establishing and sustaining the community health programme.

WHO Tanzania Health System Coordinator Dr Galbert Fedjo highlighted the success of the public healthcare programmes in Tanzania over the past 10 years, citing the country’s massive investment in the sector.

He then urged the country to make investments in evidence-based policies and capacity building as well as to enhance cooperation and coordination among development partners.

Furthermore, he stressed the need for introducing complementary mechanisms to ensure the sustainability of the programme by thinking about how to sustain funding and subsidise the poor when implementing universal health insurance.

Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) Director of Service Delivery, Dr Tewodros Bekele, emphasised the organisation’s dedication to collaborating with the government.

“Tanzania has been recognised as a nation with deep engagement, and we intend to assist the country in implementing further programmes to improve community health in addition to the one that has been introduced,” he said.

He emphasised the importance of CHWs in improving maternal and child mortality rates and pledged to work with the government to protect and support them.

During the event, the government officially launched a robust integrated Community Health Workers (CHWs) programme by recruiting a total of 137,294 workers in all 26 regions of Mainland Tanzania.

A programme worth 899.5bn/-, which was launched by Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango, is aimed at speeding up access to better health services for all, especially at primary health facilities.

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