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Tanzania Budget 2024

Health Budget 2024/25: Further closing the gap on maternal, newborn and child mortality SDGs

by Asmaa Gulam

Maternal mortality, a global challenge claiming countless lives, remains a concern. However, Tanzania is charting a course towards a brighter future by prioritizing maternal and child health services. As highlighted by the Ministry of Health during the 2024/25 budget speech, improving healthcare quality across all levels remains a key focus, particularly for mothers, newborns, and children. This focus reflects the Tanzanian government's commitment to improving health outcomes for these vulnerable populations.

This commitment aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, aiming to reduce maternal mortality to less than 70 per 100,000 live births, under-five mortality to 25 per 1,000 live births, and neonatal mortality to 12 per 1,000 live births by 2030. To achieve these ambitious targets, Tanzania has significantly strengthened its healthcare system in recent years.

The Sixth Phase Government's dedication to maternal and child health is evident in the implemented measures that have yielded impressive results. The 2022 Tanzania and Demographic Health Survey (TDHS) reveals a remarkable decline in mortality rates. Maternal mortality has dropped by a staggering 80%, from 556 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015/16 to 104 in 2022. Similarly, under-five mortality has decreased from 67 to 43 per 1,000 live births, and neonatal mortality from 25 to 24 per 1,000 live births during the same period. This declining trend signifies Tanzania's promising path towards achieving global health targets by 2030.

The 2023/24 budget implementation report highlighted a significant increase in antenatal care (ANC) attendance. Between July 2023 and March 2024, a record-breaking 2,208,391 pregnant women attended four or more ANC visits, surpassing the target and exceeding the figures from the previous year. This progress reflects a growing awareness of ANC's importance.

However, while the number of women attending ANC visits is encouraging, room for improvement remains. The proportion of pregnant women attending their first ANC visit before 12 weeks of gestation is still relatively low at 44.4%. Early and consistent antenatal care is crucial for a healthy pregnancy, allowing for early detection of potential problems and promoting optimal fetal development.

For pregnant women, antenatal care (ANC) is a vital part of preventive healthcare. It's more than just check-ups; it provides guidance and essential services throughout the pregnancy. ANC includes screening for health problems to catch and manage complications early. Regular check-ups track the baby's growth and development, allowing for intervention if needed. ANC providers also recommend vitamins and supplements to ensure a healthy balance for both mother and baby. Finally, ANC includes vaccinations to protect both mom and baby from preventable diseases.

Regular ANC visits are key to a healthy pregnancy. These check-ups not only improve birth outcomes by creating a safer delivery environment through early detection of complications, but also reduce the risk of complications throughout pregnancy and childbirth. By proactively identifying and managing potential health issues, ANC safeguards both mother and baby.

The 2024/25 budget speech further emphasized the government's commitment to improving healthcare infrastructure. The construction and improvement of healthcare facilities across the country have led to a 13.4% increase in healthcare centers between 2021 and 2024. This expansion has significantly improved access to essential healthcare services, particularly in rural areas.

The combined efforts on infrastructure development, increased antenatal care attendance, and ongoing healthcare improvements have resulted in a remarkable decrease in maternal and child mortality rates over the past eight years.

The Tanzanian government's investments in programs to fight maternal and child mortality are demonstrably saving lives and making a real difference for families nationwide. To keep this progress going, the government and its partners need to focus on two key areas: maintaining funding for successful programs and working together to maximize their impact.

Asmaa Gulam is an Audit Associate with Deloitte Tanzania. The views presented are her own and not necessarily those of Deloitte. She can be reached at

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