The Elders


Achieving #HealthForAll in Tanzania: The Elders' visit to promote UHC

In July 2017, Graça Machel and Mary Robinson visited Tanzania to promote progress towards Universal Health Coverage. 

On 13 July the Elders were greeted at Dodoma airport in Tanzania by the Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu. Following a traditional welcome performance, they proceeded to Mpamatwa Village in Bahi District (a semi-arid rural area approx. 80km from Dodoma).

Graça Machel greeted by Bahi District Commissioner Elizabeth Kitundu and Dodoma Regional Commissioner Jordan Rugimbana as the Elders arrive in Mpamatwa village in rural Tanzania. During their visit the Elders aimed to learn more about the implementation of Universal Health Coverage, particularly as it is experienced by rural communities.

Mary Robinson greeted by Bahi District Commissioner Elizabeth Kitundu and Dodoma Regional Commissioner Jordan Rugimbana as the Elders arrive In Mpamatwa village, Bahi District. After a traditional musical welcome, the Minister of Health and Regional Commissioner addressed a crowd of around 2,000 people on the investments made by the Government of Tanzania in health projects. Both Elders also spoke, highlighting the importance of health as a human rights and social justice issue.

Mary Robinson and Graça Machel visit a health dispensary in Bahi District in rural Tanzania. They heard about the challenge of increasing registration of low-income families in Community Health Fund insurance schemes and securing reliable access to necessary drugs and medication.

Graça Machel paid tribute to the support the Tanzanian people had showed Mozambique in its liberation struggle from colonial rule, and urged a similar spirit of resilience and determination in the fight for affordable health care for all.

Mary Robinson receives a symbolic seat from a village elder. Vulnerable groups, such as the elderly are prevented from accessing health services due to financial barriers including user fees.

Graça Machel embraces a child as she and Mary Robinson meet local people who had gathered for the visit. Children, along with women and adolescents, often have the greatest need for healthcare, but the least access to it. Universal health coverage would ensure that those who require healthcare can access it without financial hardship.

Following their visit to Mpamatwa village, the Elders travelled back to Dodoma to meet with government officials including the Minister of Health and the Speaker of Parliament. The following day they met with Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan and development partners in Dar es Salaam.

The Elders concluded their visit to Tanzania by holding a lively civil society discussion in Dar es Salaam, which concluded that civil society and the local media should be doing more to hold the Government to account in extending health coverage. Read more about The Elders' visit to Tanzania to promote Universal Health Coverage.

Photos: 1- The Elders | 2-8 Ibrahim Joseph/The Elders | 9- The Elders

Our work | Universal Health Coverage

Universal Health Coverage

Universal Health Coverage means everyone receives the health care they need without suffering financial hardship. We believe this is a goal all countries can reach.


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The Elders are independent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.

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