Health research for policy making: The Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)

Project completed
Ifakara, Tanzania © IHI

This project aims to improve evidence based policy making in Tanzania. It will allow the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and partners to better measure the impact of public spending in the health sector, and improve the use of evidence in policy making, for more effective health results. SDC will further strengthen IHI, the only private and independent health research institute, in developing and sustaining district-based data collection.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Tanzania
Health
Health systems strengthening
01.09.2013 - 28.02.2019
CHF 3'350'000
Background

Health research has been chronically neglected in Tanzania. The existing public entities dealing with health research (NMRI, TFNC, COSTEC, MUHAS) do not conduct routine data collection nor produce enough evidence. There is a constant need for greater evidence for policy making.

Switzerland is actively engaged in health policy dialogue in Tanzania. SDC was part of the Troïka chair of the Development Partners’ Group for health (2009-2011) and is a core member of three technical working groups (Districts and Regional Health Services, Health Financing, Health Promotion). SDC is currently the Health Basket Coordinator and focal point for all audits of the health sector. In this context, evidence-based information of the sector is fundamental.

The Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) is the best recognized independent health research organization in Tanzania and Southern Africa. As cofounder, Switzerland is associated to IHI’s success and reputation. Since its creation by R. Geigy in 1956, IHI has become an important actor in the Tanzania health sector, focusing its work on the improvement of health delivery systems and generation of evidence for health planning and management. IHI data and evidence is increasingly used in health monitoring and in policy discussions. IHI has a good relationship with the Government of Tanzania and has a strong visibility at key policy fora. The data collected by IHI’s routine monitoring systems (SPD, DSS) is used in all key national events such as annual sector review and specific thematic working groups. IHI has recently developed a range of user friendly products to disseminate research findings and therefore giving access to the public.

IHI’s reputation has grown both within Tanzania and beyond. However, it is recognized that further capacity building is required in order for IHI to develop into a sustainable research institute. Given the potential to provide more and stronger evidence for policy making in Tanzania and globally, there is a strong case for SDC to continue a core funding support for IHI’s new strategy (2013-2018). The need and rationale for further support beyond this period will be assessed during this phase of support.

Objectives

To improve the health and wellbeing of all Tanzanians by creating scientific evidence for effective policy making.

Target groups

Population of Tanzania; local and international researchers and research institutions; MoHSW; GoT; Development Partners.

Medium-term outcomes
  1. IHI’s research and knowledge makes material contribution to advances in public health in Tanzania and globally.
  2. Health policy making in Tanzania can rely on a strong and independent research institution.

 

Results

Results from previous phases:  

  • Good quality data collected through the health management information system in a nationally representative panel of districts;
  • Nationally representative data collected on births, deaths, and cause of death (currently not collected regularly in Tanzania);
  • An expansion of data collected through IHI demographic surveillance sites, to include important topics such as child malnutrition;
  • Data is used in health sector monitoring, and health policy making in Tanzania;
  • An expanded range of analytical work from IHI, working with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and increasing their capacity;
  • The data available to users for further analysis.


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign academic and research organisation
Swiss Academic and Research Institution
  • Research Organisation of South East
  • Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute
  • Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)


Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   3'350'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   3'269'421
Project phases Phase 7 15.06.2019 - 14.06.2022   (Current phase)

Phase 6 01.09.2013 - 28.02.2019   (Completed)