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Tanzania PHIT Partnership | Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Skip to main content

African Health Initiative

Phase 1: Tanzania PHIT Partnership

The African Health Initiative (AHI) seeks to catalyze significant advances in strengthening health systems by supporting partnerships that will design, implement and evaluate large-scale models of care that link implementation research and workforce training directly to the delivery of integrated primary healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa. This page summarizes one of five Population Health Implementation and Training (PHIT) Partnership projects that were supported through the AHI.


The Tanzania Connect Project

Grantee Institution:

Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health

Team Leaders:

  • James F. Phillips, Ph.D.
    Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health
  • Ahmed Hingora, M.Comm.H.
    Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre

Project Summary:

The Connect Project was led by the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) with technical support from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health and the Tanzania Training Centre for International Health (TTCIH). In Tanzania, health worker shortages pose a critical barrier to health service accessibility at the village level, despite the fact that the majority of Tanzanians live within five kilometers of a health facility. Quality and cost of primary health care further inhibit service utilization. To address this problem, the IHI collaborated with the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and local governments on a six-year experimental trial of community health service development aiming to strengthen the continuum of care from home to hospital, and effectively reduce deaths among mothers in childbirth, newborns and children under age five. Tanzania's plans were inspired by Ghana's strategy for training health extension workers.

The two core interventions of the Connect Project were to introduce a new cadre of workers, known as Community Health Agents (CHAs), and to strengthen emergency referral systems. CHAs provide educative, preventative and curative services in villages. The CHAs were deployed to 50 villages, selected at random from a total of 101 villages in Tanzania's Rufiji, Kilombero and Ulanga districts (population over 400,000). The project additionally supported local government health systems to improve referrals from communities and primary health care centers to hospitals in cases of health emergencies.

The three intervention districts provided Connect with detailed mortality and morbidity data to be used in the impact evaluation component of the project.

To view publications about this project, please visit the Phase 1: Tanzania PHIT Partnership Publications page.

Read about the other four Phase 1 PHIT Partnership projects by visiting the links below: