Towards a research framework for poverty monitoring in tanzania fi nal draft

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2. Health Policy

Health sector reform has helped to identify key problems in health delivery to all, and to women and children in particular.

  • What has been the impact of health reform processes on provision of quality and equitable health care to people in rural and urban areas? To different income groups? Children? Adolescents? Women? Poor men?

The Poverty Reduction Strategy focuses on increasing immunisation rates, which is laudable but represents a continuation of already existing policy objectives, and completely ignores HIV/AIDS.

  • To what extent do the proposed strategies address the real bottlenecks in provision of quality health care for all?

Child mortality rates provide one measure of vulnerability. Recent data confirm that after a steady decline in infant and under five mortality rates during the period from 1960 and 1985 (i.e. post-independence period), there has been an abrupt rise, beginning in 1985 (UNICEF 2001b). Infant and under-five mortality rates are estimated to be 100 and 160 respectively. This has been attributed in part to the negative effects of structural adjustment and economic reforms, including the rising costs of health care due to user fees and privatisation policies in health service delivery, weak economic growth and impoverishment of households.

The fall in malnutrition rates in children under five during the 1980s has now halted (MCDWAC and UNICEF 2001). However, about one-third of all children are underweight and 40% are stunted. The negative impact of malnutrition on vulnerability to HIV/AIDS infection and other illnesses is well-known, as well as the long-term reduction in mental capacity.

  • In which groups are children more vulnerable to malnutrition, illness and death? How do causal factors interact: that is, incomes, occupation, urban-rural location, gender of household head, monogamous-polygamous household, culture?

3. Water Policy

Lack of clean potable water systems remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality, especially among children. It also adds to the labour burden of women and girls, largely unpaid, thus diverting their labour from other economic activities that would provide needed income. Existing water policies have failed to meet domestic and production needs at household and community level in both rural and urban areas, with an especially negative impact in semi-arid areas.

  • What are the specific bottlenecks to provision of clean potable water to all in rural and urban areas, with a focus on people living in poverty?

  • What would be appropriate strategies to address these bottlenecks?

  • What resource mobilisation strategies could provide the needed support, without user fees, which have been shown to have negative consequences for many poor communities?


1. Environment

The interaction between poverty and environment has been overlooked in the Poverty Reduction Strategy, and requires specific attention. Possible questions are as follows:

  • To what extent are environmental factors a constraint to rapid agricultural growth and equitable development? Specific issues to be considered here include low soil fertility; soil degradation due to over-cultivation and over-reliance on petrochemical farm inputs; and drought-prone and semi-arid conditions.

  • What is the interaction between high population density, environmental degradation and equitable agriculture growth?

  • What forms of indigenous knowledge and practices can be tapped which relate to conservation and pro-environmental growth in different locations?

  • What has been the impact of large-scale industrial production in mining, agriculture, timber and tourism on the environment? On local economies?

  • How can the needs of smallholder and large-scale producers be balanced to achieve positive environmental balance and equitable growth?


The HIV/AIDS pandemic in Tanzania poses a serious challenge to an already over-burdened and struggling health care system. However, HIV/AIDS is far from simply a health problem. It is closely intertwined with economic and social crisis. HIV/AIDS increases poverty levels at household and community level, and reduces economic growth by withdrawal of human resources, lower productivity and rising costs of health care. Key issues to examine include:

  • What would be the economic impact (on revenue, growth, incomes) of reducing HIV/AIDS transmission by half?

  • What is the present cost of HIV/AIDS in terms of actual revenue allocation, for example to health care and orphan support systems at the national level? Household and extended family level? In terms of opportunity costs associated with lost human resources, including the education and other costs attached?

In recent micro-studies carried out in Tanzania and Zambia, a strong relationship was found between gender, age and income level in terms of vulnerability to HIV/AIDS infection (Baylies and Bujra 2000). Poor young girls are the most likely to become infected, because of their vulnerability to unsafe sex, and their entry into the sex market in order to acquire necessary income. A major contributory factor is the lack of viable (self) employment opportunity for young women and men in both rural and urban areas, and the existence of a large and growing market for sex work. Another is the disempowerment of women and children in sexual relationships, which makes them prone to unsafe sex. Yet, PRS lacks specific strategies to address HIV/AIDS, employment and gender issues.

  • What additional strategies are needed to reduce the HIV/AIDS infection rate and transmission, given the limited success of education programmes?

  • What are the financial implications of providing adequate drug treatment for all those infected with HIV/AIDS, including pregnant women as first priority? What strategies could provide the needed resources?

  • What informal and formal safety nets exist for people infected with HIV/AIDS? Do they extend to children and adolescents?

  • How can people infected with HIV/AIDS be assisted to develop and lead civil society organisations that act as a more effective pressure group? How can male and female adolescents and children also be assisted to organise themselves to access needed resources, including education, while articulating their specific needs?

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