Donors disburse Sh3.5 trillion in 22 years of health funding

Monday November 22 2021
minister pic

The Minister of Health, Dr. Doroth Gwajima

By Josephine Christopher

Dar es Salaam. Development partners who pool their resources together to finance Tanzania’s health sector through the Health Basket Fund (HBF) arrangements have disbursed a total of $1.54 billion (over Sh3.54 trillion) during the past 22 years, a cabinet minister has revealed.

Health Minister Dorothy Gwajima said in a statement at the weekend that the funds - which are pooled by development partners - are mostly utilised in the primary health care services, especially in the local governments.

In her recent statement to mark the 22nd anniversary of the HBF, Dr Gwajima said the fund has been a reliable source of funding for services delivery in the country’s health sector.

“The Health Basket Fund has helped to fast-track implementation of health sector reforms at the local government level such as the use of comprehensive council health plans at the council level, and health facilities plans at the health facility level,” she said.

During the past five years, the Fund has provided over 60 percent of local government operating expenses for health services,” Dr Gwajima revealed.

She also said that HBF started by allocating $0.5 per capita to local government authorities. But this has increased significantly to $1 per capita by 2021.

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According to the ministry, over the course of 22 years, the fund had partnered with Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the World Bank... Then the Netherlands, Canada, Germany and two United Nations (UN) Agencies:UNFPA and Unicef.

The Republic of South Korea joined up in 2016, after the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom stepped aside.

Dr Gwajima stated that, after the introduction of the performance-based approach in 2015 - the Big Results Now (BRN) - the fund’s contribution to strengthening health systems, and financing in the country was even more exposed.

Dr Gwajima said “The HBF supported rehabilitation and/or expansion of 304 health facilities to enable the provision of comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care services. This led to an increase of deliveries in health facilities from 55 percent in 2015 to 83 percent in 2020.”

Also, the use of services delivery indicators to track performance of the Health Basket Fund has led to increased data quality in the sector, she said.

The Health Basket Fund was established in 1999 when the Sector-Wide Approach (SWAp) was initiated to provide a framework for collaboration and coordination among the government and stakeholders.