The $49.6 million Public Sector Systems Strengthening Plus (PS3+) Activity strengthens the systems that deliver health and education services to Tanzanians. The project is funded by the United States government and implemented through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the government of Tanzania, the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar and other development partners.
Since 2015, PS3 and its predecessor project PS3+ have redefined essential service delivery in Tanzania by mobilising resources and planning and budgeting for health, education, and other public services. PS3+ operates in all 26 regions in Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar. The Activity runs from July 2020 – July 2025.
PS3+ Activities and Achievements
Refining financing mechanisms and rolling out technology so that health facilities and schools can manage their supplies and budgets:
- PS3+ supported the Ministry of Health to refine health financing mechanisms and launch Direct Health Facility Financing (DHFF). DHFF makes funds directly available to providers so they can plan for and purchase essential drugs and supplies. Today, health facilities have more autonomy and accountability for how they manage their day-to-day operations, thanks to DHFF. Having a more reliable and predictable source of funds also helps to build a strong relationship between facilities and suppliers, which can be critical when flexibility is needed for emergency purchases. The Activity’s support to automate payment formulas also helped ensure that resources are transparently and equitably allocated to healthcare providers.
- Planning and Reporting System (PlanRep) and Facility Financial Accounting and Reporting System (FFARS) are two interoperable information technology systems that enable health and education facilities to develop financial plans and budgets and improve accounting and reporting. PS3+ collaborated with President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG) to extend PlanRep and FFARS to 184 Local Government Authorities (LGAs) and Lower-Level Government (LLGs) which includes 16,581 villages/mtaa, 3,956 wards and 64,361 cells.
Overall administrative distribution per the 2021 GOT circular includes 26 regions, 139 districts, 184 LGAs, 570 divisions and 71 township authorities.
- PLANREP - PlanRep is a web-based system used across the education and health sectors to plan public services. It replaced the former system that was error-prone, disconnected from other information systems, and fragmented between sectors. PlanRep exchanges information with other key public financial management systems including the Local Government Revenue Collection Information System (LGRCIS), the LGA accounting system Epicor/MUSE and the Facility Financial Accounting and Reporting System (FFARS). Together, these four-systems exchange information and create a strong, more informed foundation for managing public services. PlanRep enabled health facilities to set their own budgets and align them with national priorities. It also automated the ceiling allocation and allowed facilities to better manage their inventory of essential medical supplies. Today, patients can purchase medicines directly from health facilities because the facilities are so well-stocked. After seeing how successful PlanRep rollout was in mainland Tanzania, the Ministry of Health in Zanzibar solicited PS3+ support to customise and adopt the PlanRep system for planning, budgeting, and reporting in Zanzibar in Fiscal Year 2022/2023. The system is used by 236 government institutions under the Treasury Registrar Office.
- The Facility Financial Accounting and Reporting System (FFARS) is an accounting and reporting system implemented in more than 26,000 health facilities and schools since July, 2017. Facilities use FFARS to acknowledge receipt of revenue, process their day-to-day procurement of goods and services and produce monthly, quarterly, and annually financial reports. FFARS enables schools, dispensaries, health centers and LGA hospitals to improve their financial record-keeping and prevents theft and mismanagement of funds. After launching FFARS, schools realized cost savings that enabled them to construct dormitories for girls so they can stay in school and focus on their studies.
- All the IT systems were designed by Tanzanian engineers and are wholly owned and operated by the government of Tanzania. The Tanzanian government was invested in the Activity’s success from the start, and successfully mobilised government resources to support these efforts. We used the co-design, co-development, co-deployment methodology to ensure sustainable impact.
- Ensuring Tanzanians are well informed and engaged in local government initiatives
- PS3+ collaborated with Internews Boresha Habari, another USAID activity operating in Tanzania, to support journalists from community radio stations and LGAs to partner with private community radio stations to produce and air radio programs. These programs helped citizens understand their right to participate in local level planning and budgeting processes and inform them of critical financial resources—like health insurance—that may be available to them. Since the radio programs started in October 2021, citizen turnout to village meetings has increased by 50 percent. Villages and facilities like schools, health centres, and dispensaries post income and expenditure reports on their notice boards more frequently and consistently, increasing transparency. Citizen enrolment in the improved health insurance scheme for low-income households—Community Health Fund (iCHF)—increased by 10 percent.
- Providing essential trainings for local government employees to enable them to carry out their duties:
- In 2021, PS3+ provided the government with technical support to convert learning materials into e-learning, to extend training to all civil servants and members of local councils, schools and health facility governance committees. Since then, 2,000 local government staff and members of health facility governance structures have enrolled in e-learning. e-Learning provides the government with a cost-effective method to extend training to civil servants. Before launching e-learning, the government could only extend training to less than 10% of its 14,000 lower-level government staff and 210,000 members of health governance committees.
PS3+ has enabled the government of Tanzania through President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG) to keep up with the pace of advanced technology and provide essential services through electronic systems. Thanks to these new systems, we’re able to extend services to even the most hard-to-reach communities.
PS3+ supports all 26 regions of mainland Tanzania. Thirteen regions are currently in the first phase of implementing these new digital systems.
LGAs are currently involving citizens in planning and budgeting processes. This project has increased participatory planning by enabling both government employees and citizens to make decisions based on data collected from improved systems.
Furthermore, the systems have improved own source revenue collection and use in various development projects. For example, now that LGAs are empowered to better manage their funds, they have disbursed more loans to women, youth and people with disabilities.
The project installed Local Area Network (LAN) to support technological systems. PS3+ also set up help desk systems in Regional Secretariat Offices to improve system support at the regional level.
A beneficiary of the improved community Health Fund (iCHF) Petra Kajula, a resident of Rungwe District Council in Mbeya region, got information about joining the health fund through a radio programme, which focused on public awareness of iCHF.
Almasi Katuba, a farmer in Rungwe DC, listening to one of the radio programmes that sensitised citizens to join iCHF health insurance. The programmes were aired through Rungwe FM, a community radio, in Rungwe, Mbeya.
Female students of Sumve Secondary School in Kwimba DC, Mwanza region outside their dormitories. They no longer travel long distances anymore to get to school after dormitories were built at the school through transparent budgeting using the Facility Financial Accounting and Reporting System (FFARS).
PlanRep in Zanzibar
Mnazi Mmoja Hospital Human Resources Officer Ms Zuhura Abdulla Salim (right) with one of the hospital officers going through the installed PlanRep system in Zanzibar.
A resident of Kivunge, Zanzibar expressing her hopes for changes in Kivunge Hospital when it creates plans and budgets for the hospital using the PlanRep system.
Jonas Mujungu, a lawyer from Njombe DC showing his certificate of completion of ODEL training for new employees, which he did electronically.