Signs of Recovery? Citizens' views on health service provision by the new government

Just one out of five citizens (18%) say that doctor absenteeism has been an issue in their local health facility in the past three months. When asked whether the presence of doctors was a problem in 2015, almost half (43%) of the citizens said it was. Similarly, 3 out of 10 citizens (27%) feel that they did not get attention or respect from staff in 2016, compared to 42% complaining about this in 2015. The cleanliness of health facilities also seems to have improved: in 2016 11% saw this as an issue compared to 29% in 2015. Complaints about cost have also decreased: in 2015 34% of citizens felt that services were too expensive or that they were unable to pay whereas in 2016 19% thought that this was a problem. At the same time, there are still significant shortages of medicine and other supplies: in 2015, more than half of citizens (53%) reported this compared to 59% in 2016.

These findings were released by Twaweza in a research brief titled Signs of recovery? Citizens’ views on heath service provision by the new government. The brief is based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high-frequency mobile phone survey. The findings are based on data collected from 1,836 respondents across Mainland Tanzania (Zanzibar is not covered in these results) between 2 and 17 May 2016.

Most citizens (61%) seek treatment from government health facilities in 2016 compared to 47% in 2015 who reported visiting a government health facility the last time they were sick. At the same time there has been a reduction in the number of citizens visiting the pharmacy (from 19% in 2015 to 13% in 2016) or doing nothing (from 8% in 2015 to 2% in 2016) when they are sick.

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