Stock out or in stock?

Did you know that two out of five (41%) patients in Tanzania reports being unable to acquire the prescribed medicines at health facilities? At the same time, two out of three families report that one family member was ill in the last month.  Access to medicine is therefore an issue that impacts the lives of millions of citizens.

So, where are citizens treated? How do they access the medicine they require?  What role do health facility staff play in promoting or hindering the provision of medication to patients? Sauti za Wananchi, a nationally representative mobile phone survey of households across mainland Tanzania, sought to find this out.

Stock out or in stock? Access to medicines in Tanzania, released today, shows that we seem to be doing well with vaccinations. The findings provide positive news about vaccinations which are an important part of preventative health care. Almost all facilities (96%) provide vaccinations and over 80% of these have major vaccinations in stock. In addition, half of all patients who visit health facilities are diagnosed with malaria and our research found that a large majority (90%) of these facilities stocked the main anti-malaria medication (Alu).

Yet we fail to do the same with medicine in general. The Service Delivery Indicators Survey in 2010 shows that one quarter (24%) of a list of frontline essential medicines, on average, were not available in health facilities across the country. Similarly Alu, which is subsidized through a government and donor program, is often over-priced. Alu is only sold at the government recommended price in 37% of health facilities and 29% of pharmacies.

Read more about Sauti za Wananchi and access previous reports

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Authors: Elvis Mushi



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