An Assessment of the Implementation of the Re-structured Community Health Fund in Gairo District in Tanzania
While the government of Tanzania has been implementing community health fund (CHF) for more than two decades, the uptake of the scheme has been persistently low due to management and performance problems. As a response, from 2011 a new initiative was adopted that changed the overall structure, management and benefit packages of the CHF. This paper assesses the implementation of the newly re-structured CHF in Gairo District in Morogoro Region. This study employed a descriptive qualitative case study design using three types of data collection techniques, namely individual interviews (n=14), focus group discussions (n=4) and document review. A thematic approach was used to analyse the data. Findings show that the re-structured CHF has improved the pooling and provider payment mechanism compared to the old CHF. Benefit packages have been expanded to include referral services up to regional level. However, stakeholders, including community members, had negative perceptions of the restructured CHF owing to high annual premium rates, low incentive to enrolment officers, weak registration network and poor quality of health care services. In order to improve CHF performance and achieve universal health coverage, the central Government needs to invest more in the improvement of the quality of health care services, particularly the availability of drugs and medical supplies. Additionally, the government should make CHF scheme compulsory to all members of the community who do not have alternative health insurance.
Key words: Community Health Fund, Health Systems, Tanzania