Tanzania has embarked on a programme aimed at extending the reach of health services under the Voluntary Sector Health Programme funded by the United States Agency for International Development, local media reported on Monday. The US $15 million programme would provide funding to NGOs, faith-based groups and other non-profit organisations in a bid to improve reproductive and child health services among poor families.
The programme, to cover five regions, is to be implemented by CARE International in partnership with Health Scope Tanzania and the US Hopkins University Center for Communications Program. In a statement, the US Embassy in Tanzania said it recognised the ongoing reforms in the health sector in Tanzania. "The US government has agreed with the Tanzania government to strengthen the partnership between the public and voluntary sectors for a scaled-up response to HIV/AIDS and improve reproductive and child health," the statement said.
Under the programme, the overall objective is to improve the health and wellbeing of Tanzanians, and make health systems more responsive to the needs of the people. Recent analyses of disease patterns show that most diseases are of the communicable and preventable type. About 70 percent of deaths in Tanzania are caused by diseases like malaria, diarrhoea, urinary tract infections, anaemia, pneumonia, prenatal maternal complications and HIV/AIDS. Tanzania recently vowed to increase funds for social services that include education and health. In 2000/2001, the country projected to spend 31 percent of its budget on health.
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