The Catholic Church Health System


The Catholic Church Health System continued in the form it was passed on by missionaries until 1967 when the Arusha Declaration influenced the mode of operation. The Declaration brought about policy change which provided for free medical services. Where there was no Government District Hospital, an existing Church Hospital was designated a District Hospital to provide free medical services. Likewise when the church Referral/Consultant hospitals of Bugando and KCMC started operating in 1971, they provided services for free on similar arrangements. In addition, the Government provided subsidies to other church hospitals in order to facilitate affordability and access to these services

Since then the Tanzania Catholic Church has been providing health care services in the context of National Health Care System. Health services are provided in a three tier system graded as primary (level one), secondary (level two) and tertiary (level three) care

The Catholic Church has 328 dispensaries, 52 Health Centres, 14 Designated District Hospitals (DDH) and 29 Voluntary Agency Hospitals (VA) at level one care and one hospital at tertiary care. At level two (secondary) care, the Catholic Church has no officially recognized hospital, however, hospitals such as St Francis, Ifakara; St. Benedict’s, Ndanda; Peramiho and Dareda are practically operating in such capacity

Since the mid 1980s Tanzania has been heavily engaged in Health Sector and Local Government reforms. The reforms redefined the roles of Central Government to be mainly that of Policy formulation, legislation, regulation & control and in areas of public good. Thus, the Central Government has limited its responsibility at the tertiary level and decentralized the rest of health care to Regional Administration and Local Government. In the subsequent decentralization process, the district has become the central focus

In this reform process the Government called upon Voluntary and Private sectors to join hands in the efforts to improve health services urging them to cooperate and collaborate with Government at all levels but more so at the District level. In response to the call the churches established an ecumenical organ, the Christian Social Services Commission, to strengthen solidarity and to lead churches’ participation in the Health Sector and Local Government reforms.

Christian Social Services Commission (CSSC) among other things embarked on Policy Advocacy and established a structure frame which facilitates churches participation in planning and resource allocation at the District level. The more than 15 years protracted work has been worthwhile. Optimism has replaced initial pessimism towards the district focus and collaboration with Local Councils. The current level of transparency, mutual trust, cooperation and collaboration with the Government is very encouraging. The implementation of the recently signed Service Agreement will be a test for the success of Public Private Partnerships and other collaborative initiatives.



Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC) is an assembly of the Catholic Bishops of Tanzania through which the Bishops jointly exercise certain pastoral functions in accordance to standing canon laws and for the promotion of the greater good which the Church offers to all people especially through forms and programmes of apostolate of our time. This permanent institution, which is at present made of thirty dioceses, was established in 1957 after being registered under the laws of Tanganyika through registration number SO 2098.

TEC currently renders its services through eleven Commissions and ten departments one of which is Health. The core functions of the Health Department are advocacy for conducive policies, technical support, coordination, and facilitation of Diocesan and TEC institutions in providing Health Care. The Department does selected programme work for pilot and the promotion of good practices. To this end, the organization structure of the Department is based on a three pillar conceptual structural frame of Policy Advocacy, Capacity Building & Technical Support and Programme work.

TEC Secretariat and Health Department Vision and Mission


TEC Secretariat vision statements

The Catholic Church being an advocate of justice, peace and integrity of creation, prays to see a society which is just and free from social and spiritual constraints, a transformed society with holistic sustainable integral human development that frees people from poverty, diseases and social injustice. Thus the Societal Vision of the Catholic Secretariat is a Righteous Society with integral and sustainable development.

The Vision of the Secretariat is a self-sustainable Secretariat, with competent and motivated staff committed to the promotion of an integral human development.

TEC Secretariat Mission Statement

Moved by the compassion of Christ, the Catholic Secretariat facilitates coordinates, promotes, supports, advocates, and collaborates with people of good will in ensuring integral human development to Catholic Dioceses and the people of Tanzania

Health Department Vision Statement

A mentally and physically healthy society with integral and sustainable human development which is evident of a fulfilled Mission.

Health Department Mission Statement

The Mission of the Tanzanian Catholic Church is continuing with healing ministry of Jesus Christ by providing a holistic, quality, and sustainable health care, in line with the Roman Catholic Church moral and ethical values