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East Afr Med J. 1996 Jun;73(6):370-4.

Patients' perception of public, voluntary and private dispensaries in rural areas of Tanzania.

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  • 1International Course for Health Managers (ICHM), Istituto Superiore di Sanita, Rome, Italy.


Eighty percent of rural dispensaries are run by the government and 19% by voluntary organisations that charge for some services. After the re-legalisation of the private health sector in 1991, private dispensaries are also emerging in villages. Privatisation is among the health reform policies of the country. Moreover, cost-sharing will be introduced at public dispensaries soon. Perception of 320 patients in the Coast Region of Tanzania on services delivered by the three health sectors has been investigated. Results show that patients are generally satisfied with the services and they would go back to the same dispensaries for treatment. Polydrug prescription was common in all sectors, while lack of prescribed drugs was a main complaint among public dispensaries patients. Voluntary dispensaries patients were less satisfied with long waiting time and with staff that did not give them enough information about the treatment. Currently, health service in public dispensaries is free but cost-sharing will be introduced soon. Most of voluntary and private dispensaries patients stated that the fees for service were moderate. The paper discusses the need for monitoring the implementation of cost sharing in public dispensaries to ensure equity in access to services by rural patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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