World Health Day: Tanzania strives for Health for All agenda

Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses

April 7, 2024

Every year on April 7, the World Health Organization (WHO) joins member states, the international community, and local and international organizations to celebrate World Health Day. This global event provides an opportunity to focus attention on important public health issues and advance the universal health coverage agenda for all.

This year’s theme, “My Health, My Right,” champions everyone’s right to have access to quality health services, education, and information, as well as safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working conditions, environmental conditions, and freedom from discrimination.

My Health, My Rights

The world is embroiled in multiple crises – from disasters to conflict to the climate emergency, threatening the right to health of millions globally, with those facing marginalization or vulnerability suffering the most.

Advancing health as a human right requires addressing the social, economic, and environmental factors that shape health outcomes. This includes promoting gender equality, ensuring access to clean water and sanitation, and tackling the root causes of malnutrition and non-communicable diseases.

The right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is enshrined in several international legal instruments, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. It includes freedoms and entitlements. Freedoms include the right to control one’s health and body and to be free from interference (for example, free from torture and non-consensual medical treatment and experimentation, particularly relevant for persons with disabilities).

Respecting our right to health means respecting our rights to access safe drinking water, clean air, good nutrition, quality housing, decent working conditions, and freedom from violence and discrimination.

Tanzania’s health agenda

Tanzania continues to endeavor to achieve the health for all agenda, adhering to everyone’s rights and ensuring they are encapsulated in policies and interventions. The World Health Organization and successive governments and partners continue to intervene and demonstrate an unwavering commitment to health for all.

We have collaborated to explore ways to strengthen health systems, improve access to essential healthcare services, and promote health literacy and awareness.

In close collaboration with stakeholders in 2022, the country office developed a six-year Country Cooperation Strategic (CCS) plan (2022-2027). This is the WHO’s Corporate Framework Strategy in response to country needs and priorities in line with the thirteenth health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It provides a medium-term strategic cooperation framework for the WHO to achieve the United Republic of Tanzania’s health strategic priorities. The time frame aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) for Tanzania. The priorities are aligned with the National Health Sector Strategic Plan, SDGs, GPW13, and UNSDCF.

With support from our partners, WHO Tanzania has and will continue to support the country in strategic and policy dialogues to help maintain a health system that can provide accessible, affordable, quality, comprehensive, and integrated care for universal health coverage and health equity in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Addressing major health outbreaks like COVID-19 and the Marburg virus, strengthening preparedness through capacity building and training for health workers, and resourcing health facilities to be fit for purpose.

We cannot talk about Tanzania’s major health achievements without noting the decline in maternal death, the efforts to reach every child with vaccines, and addressing HIV/TB /Hepatitis, malaria, and communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Yet, our work is far from complete. To realize the vision of health for all and advance individual rights to access health care, we must redouble our efforts to address the underlying determinants of health, including poverty, inequality, and inadequate infrastructure. We must continue investing in primary healthcare and community-based services to ensure no one is left behind.

Partnership for health

Beyond these, there is the need for strategic partnerships for Tanzania’s health agenda. We have seen committed governance towards the health agenda and great interest and investments, but there is more room for improvement.

Another untapped area is social and citizen participation. Though quite challenging, social participation, that is, involving the public in health decision-making through town-hall meetings and citizen assemblies, focus groups and consultations, health councils, and representation on steering groups and review boards, help governments assess the health needs of populations and act on them to extend access to quality healthcare and allow everyone, everywhere, to live a healthy life.

If the theme is anything to go by, we, as stakeholders, are encouraged to invest in health. The country’s bottom line depends on it, and healthy and strong citizens mean a strong and functional workforce ready to drive the country’s growth.


Dr Charles Sagoe-Moses is the Country Representative of the World Health Organization in Tanzania.


Main Photo: Mariam, who has a vision impairment, consults with a radiographer during her routine antenatal visit at the Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT) Hospital’s Maternity Wing in Dar es Salaam. [WHO/Mwesuwa Ramsey]