Project Factsheet
Tools for » Health and Nutrition
Project ID:00079847Description:Health and Nutrition
Tanzania One UN Fund
Start Date *: 14 Sep 2011
C2: Quality of Life
End Date*: 31 Dec 2017
Country: Tanzania Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   Multiple

Health and Nutrition

Tanzania's achievements in child health continue. Under-five mortality rates (MDG 4) continue to drop, from 147 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1999 to 81 in 2010. Likewise with infant mortality, from 99 deaths per 1000 live births in 1999 to 51 in 2010.Neonatal mortality accounts for 30 percent of under-five deaths. Improved child mortality is due to implementation of integrated management of childhood illnesses (IMCI) in all districts, provision of health services within an average walking distance of five kilometres (for 95 percent of the population), and increased immunisation coverage (83 percent of children). Recent improvements in malaria control, measles vaccination, Vitamin A supplementation and other preventative programmes (such as Preventing Mother-to-Child (PMTCT) HIV Transmission) have contributed. Neonatal deaths (26 per 1000 live births in 2010), by contrast, are associated with poor maternal health during pregnancy, inadequate obstetric and neonatal care at delivery.

Tanzania lags in the area of maternal health. The maternal mortality ratio in 2010 is estimated at 454 deaths per 100,000 live births, lower than the previous figure of 578 in 2004 but insufficient to the Health Sector Strategic Plan III target of 265 by 2015. About half of all deliveries are assisted by skilled attendants or take place in a health facility. The 'three delays' - decision to seek care; reaching appropriate care; intervention at facility - contribute significantly to the high maternal mortality and morbidities.

High maternal mortality is linked with high fertility rates and low socio-economic status of women. The total fertility rate in Tanzania over two decades has changed marginally, from 5.8 in 1996 to 5.4 in 2010. Rural women on average have three more children than their urban counterparts (rural 6.1, urban 3.7). The proportion of married women using contraception has risen steadily - from 13 percent in 1996 to 27.4 percent in 2010. Only 12 percent of women 15 to 24 years are using modern contraception, resulting in high teenage pregnancy rates. Amongst 18 year-old girls, more than half are pregnant or already mothers whilst one in three of all teenagers in the poorest households have given birth at least once. Teenage pregnancies – often a consequence of early marriage - carry a higher risk of maternal death.

Poor nutrition is common amongst women of reproductive age: one in two is chronically anaemic; one in ten has a low body mass index indicating chronic energy deficiency and elevated risk during pregnancy. Child malnutrition rates are also high: amongst children under the age of five, 35.4 percent are stunted and 20.7 percent are underweight in 2010. Anaemia affects more than two-thirds of all children whilst 8 percent suffer from severe anaemia. Breastfeeding of infants is a factor: 41 percent of newborns are not breastfed in the first hour of life and fewer than 15 percent up to the age of six months. Complementary foods given to infants are often inappropriate and adulterated with unclean water, both determinants of malnutrition. An overhaul of nutrition and other health policies, strategies and plans in support of maternal and child health are required to achieve the nutrition MDGs.

Communicable diseases are still the commonest cause of illnesses, death and disability in Tanzania and though efforts to control and prevent these diseases have been made, more needs to be done.HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are among the priority infectious diseases in Tanzania targeted worldwide for control. Increasingly the country is confronted with the 'double burden of disease' as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are being recognized as a public health problem. Common NCDs in Tanzania are diabetes, cancers, and chronic respiratory track and cardiovascular conditions.

The weakness in institutional preparedness to respond, in terms of inadequate equipment and supplies, and insufficient and unskilled staff, affects the quality of health care. Skilled health providers across the system are essential, as is filling posts (65 percent vacant). Continued commitment to the current national health sector and primary health care development efforts are also factors, including: increasing the number of health centres offering essential packages of care; overcoming equipment and reproductive health commodities shortages, addressing human resources challenges and working conditions for health workers; effective health care financing; improving information and referral systems and linkages with community mobilisation efforts.

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If you have questions about this programme you may wish to contact the RC office in Tanzania or the lead agency for the programme.

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