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COVID-19: Study finds modest effect of pandemic to service utilization in Tanzania facilities

12 Mar 2024
COVID-19: Study finds modest effect of pandemic to service utilization in Tanzania facilities

Scientists who examined the effect of the COVID-19 to service utilization in Tanzania’s health facilities during the pandemic in 2020 have found “modest” effect particularly on admissions, which they suspect might have implications for Tanzania’s effort to reach set health milestones.

“Based on this analysis, it can be concluded that there is a modest but important adverse effect of the COVID pandemic on service utilization,” concluded scientists of the Countdown Team Tanzania after their study conducted as part of the global collaboration known as “Countdown to 2030”.

About the “Countdown to 2030”
The “Countdown to 2030” is a collaboration of academics from global, regional, country institutions, UN agencies and World Bank and civil society organizations, to track progress of life-saving interventions for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N).

Countdown generates evidence to foster advocacy and accountability for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health. We analyse data on coverage of health interventions across socioeconomic status, gender, education, and geography, and on key drivers of change such as policy, finance, and other health system dimensions.

In 2022-2026, Countdown to 2030 is supporting analysis and capacity strengthening in 25 Global Financing Facility-supported countries. This includes several innovative regional approaches and feeds into global monitoring of progress. 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has invested in this work to achieve: improved country-led data analysis and monitoring; increased innovation and evidence through multi-country collaboration; improved global monitoring and measurement; and improved communications for policies, programs and accountability.

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Tanzania among 13 beneficiary countries
Among the 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that currently have Countdown collaborations, 11 have expressed an interest in this study. Each country team included analysts from public health institutions and the Ministry of Health. 

In Tanzania, nine web-based workshops were organized during May-Aug 2021 to jointly go through a stepwise analytical process of data compilation, data quality assessment and adjustment, analysis, and interpretation of results.

Tanzania data “good to very good”
After analyzing data, the scientists found that the quality of data in the Tanzania DHIS2 is good to very good with a summary score ranging from 93-96%. “High facility reporting completeness, few extreme outliers, and good internal consistency (although dropping somewhat in 2019-2020) are the key characteristics,” they report.

Policy implications
Based on this analysis, the Countdown Team reports, it can be concluded that there is a modest but important adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on service utilization, especially admissions, which may have implications for Tanzania’s effort to reach its health targets.

Therefore, they recommend regular analyses of the DHIS2 data – preferably done on quarterly basis – using the approach developed in the Countdown study for the period from 2021 and beyond, underlining, “The district health facility reports provide a solid basis for trend assessment after extensive data quality assessment and adjustment."

Read policy brief >>