Tanzania introduces rating system for healthcare facilities

The Tanzanian government is introducing a star rating system to measure the performance of various healthcare facilities aimed at improving healthcare in the country.

As CGTN’s Daniel Kijo reports, getting timely and professional healthcare can be the difference between living and dying.

The ministry of health in Tanzania is racing against the clock, to meet the 3 year deadline set since 2015 to revolutionize the delivery of medical services.

The country currently uses a program called ‘Big results now’ which aims at achieving quick results in the shortest time.

Mohammed Ally Mohammed is a senior officer at the ministry implementing the new 5 star ranking system for health facilities, where the more the stars the better the service.

“34% of all 6997 facilities, primary facilities which were assessed got 0 stars, and then we had 51% were one star, only 13% were 2 stars and then 2% were 3 stars. And i could say at that time we almost had 0%, only 6 facilities which were 4 stars,” Mohammed said.

After this assessment hospital with below 3 stars identified gaps and were given time to improve.

The government aims to have 80% of the primary health facilities above a 3 star rating by mid-2018.

“For example we look at the management, we look at the number of staff, and we look at the cleanliness. The drugs which are available, the waiting time how long does a patient have to wait before being seen by a doctor. What sort of services do they receive? Are the staffs polite, respectful? So after we have assessed all these areas we identify gaps.” DR. Talhiya Tahya, Star rating coordinator at the ministry of health said.

The star rating system has also helped to identify common gaps across the health sector and raised awareness on performance issues.

The biggest problem appears to be poor management and staff performance.

“It was a little bit difficult to cope with the situation, but when they came we understood where we are and where are the gaps. Where are we going to work after and to correct the problems that they found.”Dr. Valerian Mbweja said.

After doing reassessment in 12 regions and over 3900 facilities, the ministry says there have been improvements.

Around 45 per cent of Tanzania’s healthcare facilities were on a 2 star rating and 30 percent on 1 star, there a long way to go to hit targets.

They say they still face funding challenges. Some patients, though, say they see a change.

“To be honest the government has improved. Now when we come the queues we can easily see the doctors, and getting tested doesn’t even take 15 minutes to get results. You get your see doctor, get medication and leave. It’s not like before.” One of the patients said.

The ministry aims to keep improving the assessment tools and use council health management teams to help the hospitals deliver a better service.

It’s hoped that as each hospital’s rating improves, lives are saved and the Tanzania’s public health record is boosted.