ACT Wazalendo calls for improved allocation of healthcare budget


What you need to know:

  • Dr Sanga says Tanzania’s health sector remains underfunded, falling below 3 percent of the national budget for three consecutive years

Dar es Salaam. Opposition party ACT Wazalendo has expressed deep concern regarding the ministry of Health’s proposed budget for the 2024/25 financial year.

On May 13, 2023, the minister for Health, Ms Ummy Ali Mwalimu, presented Parliament with the ministry’s plan and expenditure estimates for the 2024/25 financial year.

In response, Dr Elizabeth Sanga, Health Sector Spokesperson for ACT Wazalendo, scrutinised the budget to gauge its alignment with the current needs, highlighting several critical areas that require urgent attention.

In a statement, she said Tanzania’s health sector remains underfunded, falling below 3 percent of the national budget for three consecutive years.

“This falls far short of the 2001 Abuja Agreement target of 15 percent allocation for healthcare by African Union member states.”

According to her, the budget prioritises investment in referral hospitals while neglecting primary healthcare.

“ACT Wazalendo urges a shift towards strengthening dispensaries and health centres, promoting early detection and prevention of diseases, particularly the rising burden of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.”

Despite increased facility construction, shortages persist in key areas: hospital beds, maternity rooms, sanitation facilities, diagnostic labs, and operating rooms. Many facilities lack necessities like clean water and electricity.

ACT Wazalendo demands the government prioritise equipping existing facilities before building new ones.

Tanzania, according to the party, faces a significant shortage of healthcare workers, especially doctors, nurses, and clinical officers.

These shortages, they say, are more severe in rural areas, leaving many citizens with limited access to quality care.

As a result, ACT Wazalendo has called for increased investment in training and recruitment, along with improved working conditions and incentives to attract healthcare professionals to underserved regions.

In her statement, Dr Sanga said geographic remoteness and user fees create barriers to healthcare access for many Tanzanians, particularly those living in poverty. Furthermore, concerns exist about accountability and transparency in managing health resources.

“ACT Wazalendo demands the government take immediate steps to address these challenges. We urge increased health budget allocation, prioritising primary healthcare, addressing infrastructure and staffing shortages, ensuring equitable access to services, and improving transparency in resource management. Only then can we achieve our goal of quality healthcare for all Tanzanians,” Dr Sanga concluded.