The Swiss Government flagship HPSS project has been successfully completed
By Henry Mazunda
Oct 11, 2023
The Health Promotion and System Strengthening (HPSS) Project, funded by the Swiss Government and implemented by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) has reached its goals and comes to an end with the successful completion of its four-tier key components.
Working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the President's Office - Regional Administration and Local Government, HPSS embarked on its journey as a pilot project in Dodoma in 2011 before expanding to Morogoro and Shinyanga regions.
From 2019 to 2022, HPSS rolled out its operations nationwide, covering all 26 regions of mainland Tanzania, with the goal of integrating innovative solutions into the national health system.
At the outset, the HPSS Project had a clear vision for its support to the Government of Tanzania to comprehensively address healthcare challenges at various levels and create sustainable improvements in Tanzania's healthcare landscape.
The project’s primary commitment was to provide solutions for improving healthcare access, particularly for the most economically disadvantaged. HPSS understood that accessible, high-quality healthcare required a holistic approach, strengthening the healthcare system sustainably.
This involved offering technical support, digital solutions, and data-driven policy decisions through operational research. Additionally, HPSS played a key role in transforming the Community Health Fund into a functional health insurance system, ensuring a consistent supply of medicines, maintenance of medical equipment, and empowering communities to actively engage in health promotion.
“After an impressive 12-year journey of unwavering commitment to improving Tanzania’s health system, the HPSS is now coming to an end”, said Ally Kebby, HPSS Project Manager.
“HPSS has made healthcare more accessible, affordable, and effective for all Tanzanians, regardless of their circumstances, and has had a major impact on improving people’s health and wellbeing”, he said.
The project’s most notable achievements include a substantial increase in medicines availability through the Jazia Prime Vendor System program and the enrolment of over 4 million citizens in the affordable "CHF Iliyoboreshwa insurance scheme.
HPSS Project has been instrumental in elevating healthcare delivery in Tanzania through its integrated approach. It played a pivotal role in developing IT systems for managing medical equipment, health insurance, and medicine procurement. These systems are operated by the Government of Tanzania and are fully integrated into the national IT policy.
Additionally, the project introduced new training courses to bridge skill gaps among medical dispensers, health technicians, and health promotion specialists. It also enhanced the capacity for managing medical equipment by establishing maintenance and repair workshops and supporting a national calibration centre.
“This system-strengthening approach fortified the Tanzanian healthcare system and significantly expanded healthcare access for citizens. HPSS identified and executed various innovations at crucial junctures within the healthcare system, benefiting the entire nation”, said Dr Ntuli Kapologwe, Director of Health, Community Development and Nutritional Services at PO-LARG.
The HPSS project has been working in a multisectoral, interdisciplinary, and systemic manner, pursuing several interrelated and complementary approaches.
While the Swiss-Tanzanian cooperation project emphasizes health promotion and preventive interventions to improve the health of the population, on the one hand, the HPSS project emphasizes the need for a well-functioning health system in Tanzania, on the other hand.
“A strong and resilient health system is key to sustainable improvements in the delivery of health care and people's health”, said Manfred Stoermer, HPSS Project Director.
“The HPSS project has always followed a health system strengthening approach, which includes a variety of measures such as improved health policy and governance, investment in repair and maintenance services, improved availability of medicines, and the establishment of a strong social health insurance scheme, among others”, he said.
In Tanzania, both rural and urban households struggle with healthcare costs, often exceeding 10% of their monthly income. This forces families to choose between paying for healthcare and other essential expenses.
To mitigate this challenge and propel the Tanzanian government's Universal Health Coverage (UHC) agenda, the HPSS project has been a leading stakeholder in creating a comprehensive health insurance system tailored for rural populations and the informal sector.
CHF Iliyoboreshwa is an affordable health insurance system, offering an attractive benefits package, simplified enrolment processes, and portability. Access to over 6,000 healthcare facilities is facilitated by a reliable payment mechanism and robust IT management. This approach ensures that the broader population can access high-quality healthcare services at an affordable rate, consequently lowering the risk of encountering catastrophic health-related expenses.
“The HPSS Project has proven to be the most valuable component of our partnership with the Tanzanian government to reform the health sector and increase access to quality of health services particularly for rural populations, leaving no one behind”, said Didier Chassot, Ambassador of Switzerland to Tanzania.