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Improving access to healthcare for women in Tanzania by addressing socioeconomic determinants and health insurance: a population-based cross-sectional survey

12 Sep 2018


This study was performed to explore the factors associated with accumulation of multiple problems in accessing healthcare among women in Tanzania as an example of a low-income country.


Population-based cross-sectional survey.


Nationwide representative data for women of reproductive age obtained from the 2015–2016 Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey were analysed.

Primary outcome measures

A composite variable, ‘problems in accessing healthcare’, with five (1-5) categories was created based on the number of problems reported: obtaining permission to go to the doctor, obtaining money to pay for advice or treatment, distance to a health facility and not wanting to go alone. Respondents who reported fewer or more problems placed in lower and higher categories, respectively.


A total of 13 266 women aged 15–49 years, with a median age (IQR) of 27 (20–36) years were interviewed and included in the analysis. About two-thirds (65.53%) of the respondents reported at least one of the four major problems in accessing healthcare. Furthermore, after controlling for other variables included in the final model, women without any type of health insurance, those belonging to the poorest class according to the wealth index, those who had not attended any type of formal education, those who were not employed for cash, each year of increasing age and those who were divorced, separated or widowed were associated with greater problems in accessing healthcare.


This study indicated the additive effects of barriers to healthcare in low-income countries such as Tanzania. Based on these results, improving uptake of health insurance and addressing social determinants of health are the first steps towards reducing women’s problems associated with accessing healthcare.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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