A Fabulously Successful Health Project in Tanzania

TEHIP was a Tanzanian initiative to improve medical service in some of the poorest areas of the country.

Some 2 $ per person were set aside to tackle the largest health burdens in the community. Initially it was not even known what would help people the most. Then a survey was conducted. Malaria turned out to be the most neglected burden. It accounted for 30% of the years of life lost but only for 5% of the medical budget spent. Another focus area was a cluster of childhood illnesses.

Once decisions were taken based on facts & figures and the focus turned to what the clients wanted, the service providers didn’t manage to spend more than 80 cents per person. Yet the success was tremendous. Health workers first always administered the cheapest cure after having compared a patient’s symptoms against a checklist. The government stopped delivering standard packages including malaria medicine to malaria-free mountain villages and instead acted more goal-oriented. Parents didn’t need to spend as much time taking care of sick children. Child mortality fell by over 40% in the 5 years of the project. This evidence-based healthcare model was later adapted in the rest of Tanzania as well as in several other countries.

Spending more time growing food, most of the 700’000 people of the project area were able to save and invest money. A perfect opportunity for microfinance!

source: The Shackled Continent by Robert Guest (2004) and TEHIP by WHO (pdf)

(photo by hdptcar on flickr)

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2 thoughts on “A Fabulously Successful Health Project in Tanzania”

    1. PowerOfGood: Such good examples are simply irresistible – even if it is just for the well-chosen narrative. Need to always think of the proverbial grain of salt…

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