OLIFF, Monique; MAYAUD, Philippe; BRUGHA, Ruairí; SEMAKAFU, Ave Maria. Integrating reproductive health services in a reforming health sector: the case of Tanzania. Reproductive Health Matters, London, v. 11, n. 21, p. 37-48, May 2003.
Universal access to comprehensive reproductive health sectors, integrated into a well-functioning health system, remains an unfulfilled objective in many countries. In 2000-2001, in Tanzania, in-depth interviews were conducted with central level stakeholders and focus group discussions held with health management staff in three regional and nine district health offices, to assess progress in the integration of reproductive health services. Respondents in all levels reported stalled integration and lack of synchronisation in the planning and management of key services. This was attributed to fear of loss and power and resources among national level managers, uncertainty as to continuation of donor support and lack of linkages with the Health Sector Reform Secretariat. Among reproductive health programmes, sexually transmitted infection (STI) control alone retained its vertical planning, mamagement and implementation structures. District-level respondents expressed frustration in their efforts to coordinate STI service delivery with other, more integrated programmes. They reported contradictory directives and poor communication channels with higher levels of the Ministry of Health; lack of technical skills at district level to undertake supervision of integrated services; low morale due to low salaries; and lack of district autonomy in decision-making. Integration requires a coherent policy environment. The uncoordinated and conflicting agendas of donors, on whom Tanzania is too heavily reliant, is a major obstacle.