by Ben Taylor
Service Provision Assessment Survey
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released findings from a new survey of health service provision across Tanzania. Working together with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children, NBS, surveyed 1,188 health facilities, including those owned by private sector and religious institutions as well government facilities.
The survey, the first of its kind since 2006, was designed to collect information on service delivery from a sample of all functioning health facilities, and their preparedness to provide quality services across a range of health needs.
Key findings of the survey include the following:
• The number of health facilities has increased from 5,669 in 2006 to 7,102 in 2014-15. The number of hospitals has increased from 224 to 256, health centres from 541 to 714, and dispensaries from 4,904 to 6,132.
• 81% of health facilities have HIV testing capabilities, including 96% of hospitals.
• Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV is available in all health provision centres.
• Availability of basic child vaccines has improved, with nearly three quarters of health facilities able to provide vaccinations.
• Only one in four facilities offering care for sick children meet the four key readiness standards for proper malaria treatment of diagnostic capacity, treatment guidelines, first line medicine and properly trained personnel.
Mosquito trap developed in Ifakara
A new tool that promises protection from mosquitos for people working and relaxing outdoors has been developed by the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) in Tanzania. The device has the potential to fill a significant gap in the malaria prevention toolkit – people in outdoor environments where they cannot benefit from insecticide treated bednets or insecticide sprays.
The Mosquito Landing Box emits a human scent along with a small amount of carbon dioxide to simulate human breath. This combination, which is spread by small, solar powered fans, attracts Anopheles moquitos, the type that can carry and transmit malaria. Mosquitos that are attracted to the device are then either electrocuted if a power supply is available or covered in insecticide or deadly fungi.
According to Arnold Mmbando, a researcher at IHI, each scented-bait can last for a month and is not unpleasant to people nearby. Importantly, mosquitos appear to be more attracted to the traps’ scent than to real humans.
The prototype boxes, which cost between US$100 and US$150, can attract mosquitos over an area of 100 square metres.
Steven Harvey, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US, said that “right now we don’t have anything that really works outdoors”, but that more testing will be needed before box can be rolled out. “It’s a technologically complex solution, and it will have to be done at a reasonable cost,” he said.