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Tanzania Healthcare

Like many countries in Africa, Tanzania continues to face significant healthcare challenges. Life expectancy is 48 years, about 30 years less that of many European countries. Moreover, Tanzania has just one doctor for every 24,000 patients, according to government statistics.

Tanzania's public health service suffers from a chronic lack of resources leading to low quality healthcare; many poor and vulnerable families often lack access to health services.

Malaria is the leading cause of inpatient and outpatient consultations and the major child killer. Nationally it accounts for 30 percent of the total disease burden. The estimated number of malaria cases ranges from 14 to 19 million per year, with the number of deaths estimated at between 100,000 and 125,000, of which about 80,000 are children under five. Health economists estimate that the economic impact of malaria through loss of production and time at work results in the equivalent loss of 3.4 percent of GDP.

Most of the diseases affecting the population in Tanzania are attributable to preventable causes including HIV/AIDS, measles and malnutrition.

The poor health status of children is also affected by the lack of basic health services and clean water particularly in rural areas. The population with increased access to water rose from 32 percent in 1990 to 62 percent in 2004.

The nation's water policy targets are to raise the proportion of rural population that has access to safe and clean water from 53 to 65 percent by June 2009 and for the urban population in the same period from 73 to 90 percent.

Non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases, due to lifestyle changes are also increasingly accounting for a rise in hospital admissions.

At least 30 percent of the population is also malnourished, according to the UN World Food Programme and 22 percent of children younger than five are underweight for their age, according to UNDP.

Meanwhile, authorities in Zanzibar partially lifted a ban allowing the importation of poultry from selected countries - a restriction had been imposed in 2005 to minimise the risk of avian flu spreading to the territory. Zanzibar is also prone to frequent cholera outbreaks attributed to poor hygiene, with an estimated 35 people dying in the latest outbreak, which affected at least 100 people.





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