New computer equipment to strengthen social welfare services in Tanzania

July 6, 2017
Dr Zainab Chaula, Acting Permanent Secretary of PO-RALG, accepts technology during ceremony in Tanzania.

This week, the United States Agency for International Development Mission in Tanzania (USAID/Tanzania) officially handed over computers and IT equipment to the Honorable George Boniface Simbachawene, Minister of Tamisemi and member of Tanzania’s Parliament. District Social Welfare Officers in 67 Local Government Authorities (LGAs) will use the equipment to improve reporting and use of data for the delivery of social welfare services.

The handover ceremony occurred in Dodoma on Thursday as part of Tanzania’s annual Regional and District Medical Officer’s conference. Pact, an international development organization that implements USAID’s Kizazi Kipya project, purchased the 67 sets of equipment, including computers, printers, wireless modems, and backup batteries. The computers come pre-installed with DHIS2– a District Health Information System platform – which will enable modern data storage and visualization capabilities. The donation is part of USAID’s comprehensive investment in the Government of Tanzania’s efforts to strengthen social welfare services and systems.

In his remarks at the ceremony, Minister Simbachawene stated, “Today we have launched the MVC-MIS which will be used in the councils...We thank you partners who provided us computers which will be used by Social Welfare Officers.” He advised that the system be linked to other databases so that they inform each other.

Three USAID projects are instrumental to the strengthening of Tanzania’s social welfare system and are working at the national, regional, and council levels. The Kizazi Kipya project complements government social welfare efforts to strengthen services for children and youth, with particular focus on orphans and vulnerable children and families affected by HIV. USAID’s Community Health and Social Welfare Systems Strengthening project, implemented by John Snow, Inc., supports the government’s development and rollout of the National Integrated Case Management Framework to strengthen the social welfare system. MEASURE Evaluation, implemented by the University of North Carolina, in partnership with Palladium, MSH, JSI, Tulane University, and ICF, provides technical assistance to the Department of Social Welfare for the development and rollout of national standard tools for monitoring services accessed by most vulnerable children and their caregivers. MEASURE Evaluation provided technical assistance for the development of a corresponding data management module within the DHIS2 platform in order to ensure improved access to data for decision-making at both national and sub-national levels.

Jointly these three projects create an enabling environment for the government to provide social welfare services at the household and community levels. They will continue to support government system strengthening to use the national data collection forms and DHIS2 database. Data generated from the system will inform decision-makers on how to best improve the lives of children across the LGAs.

In addition to ensuring that each computer had pre-installed DHIS2 software, Pact and MEASURE Evaluation created accounts for the 67 District Social Welfare Officers so they can easily access the platform, enter data in the system, and analyze trends. The handover was consistent with USAID’s broader efforts to increase accountability and transparency in Tanzania’s health systems.