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Transforming Tanzanian Healthcare: The Digital Frontier in pursuit of sustainable health and wellbeing

January 5th, 2024

by Sylvester Stephen Mtenga

Governments have a responsibility for the health of their peoples which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures.

World Health Organisation

We are all acquainted with the saying, “The greatest wealth is health” aren’t we?

Or how about, “He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything”’?

Tanzania is a country in Africa that prides itself on its exceptional tourist attractions among many other sectors, consistently holding top positions in Africa’s tourism rankings. However, despite the country’s undeniable attractiveness, the same is yet to be said about its healthcare system.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that Tanzania’s healthcare system is consistently weighed down by challenges such as human resource insufficiency and lack of funds to meet the growing burden of poor health and diseases, ultimately ranking the country in the 156th position out of 191 countries; the bottom percentile of the list of countries in the World Health Organization’s League Table.

It goes without saying that a heavy emphasis on good health and well-being is imperative for the development of a nation and the quality of life of its citizens. But can we truly achieve this milestone by 2030, whereby every human regardless of race, age, or economic status can enjoy the first fruits of good health?

Despite the jarring statistics, the rise of the digital revolution and technology gives hope.

The intersection between technology and healthcare is known as digital health and is being used to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and delivery of healthcare services. Thankfully, Tanzania has been blessed with its fair share of youth-led startups determined to combat the challenge and provide a seamless healthcare experience for all.

Esta Kalinga, Johnson Thomson, and Henry Mathayo are Tanzanian youth who founded MedPack, a digital health startup that provides a platform for users to order and buy medication, healthcare, and/or wellness products online from trusted suppliers and deliver them to users doorsteps, making healthcare more accessible and convenient. MedPack reports targeting 60 million Tanzanians inclusive of rural and urban citizens.

In addition, MedPack partners with certified doctors from different clinics who refer patients to the application when there are shortages of medicine or for monthly dose refills.

“I truly believe MedPack is the best digital health company capable of transforming the lives of many people in Dar-es-salaam and Tanzania” reports Neema, a satisfied customer after receiving doorstep delivery of her children’s asthma equipment.

Medpack’s great display of innovation outlines the importance and ability of youth to contribute to society. It’s safe to say that MedPack’s contribution to the health and pharmaceutical distribution industry is assisting the country to be on track to achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goal of Good Health and well-being for all Tanzanians by 2030.

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About the author

Sylvester Stephen Mtenga

Sylvester Stephen Mtenga is a 19-year-old student from Tanzania who is interested in global advocacy and the role played by the United Nations in advancing socio-economic development and sustainability among nations. He is also fascinated by the intersection between technology and social impact.  Sylvester considers himself a mental health advocate and enjoys communicating ideas in the form of digital content. He currently hosts and produces the Project Mindset podcast where he discusses mental health topics.

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by Sylvester Stephen Mtenga

Governments have a responsibility for the health of their peoples which can be fulfilled only by the provision of adequate health and social measures.

World Health Organisation

We are all acquainted with the saying, “The greatest wealth is health” aren’t we?

Or how about, “He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything”’?

Tanzania is a country in Africa that prides itself on its exceptional tourist attractions among many other sectors, consistently holding top positions in Africa’s tourism rankings. However, despite the country’s undeniable attractiveness, the same is yet to be said about its healthcare system.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that Tanzania’s healthcare system is consistently weighed down by challenges such as human resource insufficiency and lack of funds to meet the growing burden of poor health and diseases, ultimately ranking the country in the 156th position out of 191 countries; the bottom percentile of the list of countries in the World Health Organization’s League Table.

It goes without saying that a heavy emphasis on good health and well-being is imperative for the development of a nation and the quality of life of its citizens. But can we truly achieve this milestone by 2030, whereby every human regardless of race, age, or economic status can enjoy the first fruits of good health?

Despite the jarring statistics, the rise of the digital revolution and technology gives hope.

The intersection between technology and healthcare is known as digital health and is being used to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and delivery of healthcare services. Thankfully, Tanzania has been blessed with its fair share of youth-led startups determined to combat the challenge and provide a seamless healthcare experience for all.

Esta Kalinga, Johnson Thomson, and Henry Mathayo are Tanzanian youth who founded MedPack, a digital health startup that provides a platform for users to order and buy medication, healthcare, and/or wellness products online from trusted suppliers and deliver them to users doorsteps, making healthcare more accessible and convenient. MedPack reports targeting 60 million Tanzanians inclusive of rural and urban citizens.

In addition, MedPack partners with certified doctors from different clinics who refer patients to the application when there are shortages of medicine or for monthly dose refills.

“I truly believe MedPack is the best digital health company capable of transforming the lives of many people in Dar-es-salaam and Tanzania” reports Neema, a satisfied customer after receiving doorstep delivery of her children’s asthma equipment.

Medpack’s great display of innovation outlines the importance and ability of youth to contribute to society. It’s safe to say that MedPack’s contribution to the health and pharmaceutical distribution industry is assisting the country to be on track to achieving the United Nations’ sustainable development goal of Good Health and well-being for all Tanzanians by 2030.