Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

5 July 2012

Tanzania: Unfpa Touts Health Budget Increase

THE government has been urged to eye health budget increase with special focus on allocations per capita.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Assistant Representative, Dr Rutasha Dadi, said in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday that the per capita allocation would be more effective as it puts in consideration the concept of population.

"As per World Health Organisation (WHO), countries are required to put aside 33 US dollars per person in the health budget. UNFPA supports this and we urge the government to adhere to the target as it is more effective," he said.

Dr Dadi was speaking ahead of the World Population Day to be marked in Morogoro region on Wednesday, next week, under the theme; "Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services." He noted that at the moment, the government has managed to put aside less than half of WHO's recommended amount.

Dr Dadi, however, commended the government for surpassing the Abuja Declaration which recommended that all countries in Africa should at least locate 12 per cent of its total budget to the health sector. "Looking at all the resources directed towards the health sector, it seems that the government has surpassed the Abuja Declaration targets but this does not bring a relief in accessing health services as the percentage does not consider the number of people," he said.

In another development, it has been revealed that increased accessibility to reproductive health services, including contraceptives may cut maternal and infant mortality by 30 per cent. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) Health Advisor, Ms Liz Taylor, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that up to 40 per cent of maternal and infant deaths are because of inaccessibility of family planning and reproductive health services.

The demographic health survey has it that about 25 per cent of women have no access to family planning and reproductive health services. It is also projected that 6000 women die every year due to pregnant related complications. Ms Taylor also noted that if families space children for at least three years, infant mortality would drop by at least 40 per cent.

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