WASHINGTON, December 20, 2011
Up to 8 million Tanzanians should have access to better health services each year from now until 2015 following World Bank approval of US$100 million for the Basic Health Services Project. The new project is designed to build on Tanzania’s success in improving access to health services, which has helped to cut infant and child mortality rates by nearly half over the past decade. The 2015 Millennium Development Goal on reducing child mortality is now within Tanzania’s reach.
Children in Tanzania stand a much better chance of survival today than they did 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago, thanks to investments that made vaccinations, mosquito nets, vitamin supplements and other basic health services available, said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Acting Country Director for Tanzania, However, more needs to be done to improve the quality of services at public health facilities so that faster progress is made towards other health-related goals such as reducing maternal mortality.
The project expected to contribute about a fifth of the total Health Basket Fund (Tanzania’s main vehicle for donor financing for health)will further support the Government’s efforts to focus on quality and to bring in new financing mechanisms that strengthen management of health services at the local level. Access to quality health services is expected to benefit millions of women, including in remote areas such as Tabora District where the share of women giving birth in health facilities was just 28 percent in 2009.
The project aims to improve health results by helping to change the way that funds are allocated to district and frontline health facilities from the current unconditional grants to a greater emphasis on equity and the efficient and effective use of these funds, said Dominic Haazen, the projects Task Team Leader.
Component 1 (Support to Local Government Service Delivery) of the project will finance annual per capita grants to Local Government Authorities of approximately US$0.30 per person per year to support district-level service delivery, as well as medical supplies, medicines, vaccines and contraceptives.
Component 2 (Capacity Building in Local Governments) provides funding to improve the capacity of local governments to manage health services. It will finance technical assistance, training, and systems strengthening interventions, with a focus on improved public financial management (PFM), monitoring and evaluation (M&E), facility management, human resources management, procurement, and governance and accountability mechanisms.
Component 3 (Central Programs to Support Local Service Delivery) provides funding and technical assistance for central level training, PFM and M&E initiatives; management guidance through the Prime Minister’s Office; initiatives to support the performance management process at the central and regional levels, and strengthening of central level oversight structures.
The World Banks support to Tanzania is consistent with its overarching objectives in Africa, which include reducing vulnerability while enhancing governance and public sector capacity so that public funds deliver better education, health and infrastructure for citizens.
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