Mastering a Health Facility List in Tanzania

Alan, the IT Development intern, Dennis, the IT Officer and I just represented MEDA at a conference on the development of a national health facility registration system, Master Facility List (MFL). It was organized by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) and brought together representatives from various ministries, levels of government, NGOs, statistics boards and researchers.  (PEPFAR, NMRI, CTC etc). There sat us among several important officials (in a conference centre with the coldest air-con I’ve ever experienced)!

The final outcome is to have a master list that will have a comprehensive set of attributes, from location to services provided, of every public and private facility in the country. Importantly, they will be identified through an ID system harmonizing the several parallel IDs currently in use. It’s exciting to get a glimpse of the design process and the potential for use by stakeholders to better deliver health services and interventions. The MFL will be key to unify national strategy and equitable provision of services.

A lot of the work to develop the system has been done and an interim database is supposed to go live in a couple of months. MEDA’s database of clinics with a Reproductive and Child Health Centre, core to the Hati Punguzo program, has made significant contributions. After the launch of the comprehensive database by the MoHSw, there are plans to further the national registration system with a national health care registry for individual citizens. Patient tracking, referrals and remote health record access!

The MFL has been in the works for some time however, the progress described and lessons learnt from successful neighbouring countries such as Rwanda, show a renewed sense of purpose.


As of the 22nd of January 2013, the MoHSW has made the interim database public!

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