Economic Reforms and Health Conditions of the Urban Poor in Tanzania

by Joe L. P. Lugalla, University of New Hampshire

“Since the human being is the centre of all development, the human condition is the only final measure of development. Improving that condition is essential for the poor and vulnerable human beings who comprise the majority of our peoples in Africa. Africa’s men and women are the main factors and the ends for whom and by whom any programme and implementation of development must be justified” (The 1988 Khartoum Declaration).

1. Introduction

This paper examines the impact of economic reforms, namely Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs), on the health conditions of the Tanzanian urban poor. My conclusion is that these policies have had detrimental effects on the living conditions of the urban poor. Thus, SAPs are contributing to the deterioration of health conditions among these people rather than improving them. SAPs are affecting these people in a variety of ways. First, by affecting negatively the development of the urban environment, SAPs are destroying the environmental conditions on which the poor depend for their existence and survival. Secondly, by impacting the provision of urban health services, SAPs are affecting facilities which serve the health needs of the urban population. Thirdly, by fueling inflation, SAPs have raised the general cost of living which has exacerbated poverty rather than eradicated it…

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