The Citizen (Dar es Salaam) 12 December 2011 [HR][/HR] Donors finance a third of the government budget, making investments in socioeconomic projects difficult to implement, considering that development partners have their own economic problems to address.Diseases, illiteracy and poverty are still bedeviling Tanzanians, 50 years after independence. Effects of diseases such as HIV/Aids and malaria on health and the economy are high while the healthcare system is weak and levels of education and incomes are low. That situation typifies a liberalised economy. For about 30 years up to 1991, health services were largely provided by the government. During the era of the socialist economy, the government bore all costs of medical services. The government also carried out expensive preventive programmes such as spraying pesticides in mosquito-breeding grounds with phenomenal successes. The progressive increase in costs that the government was hard-pressed to bear, prompted it to make reviews that culminated, in 1991, in legal amendments that gave a green light for individual medical practitioners to operate. The presumed relief didn't materialise because the poor majority are shut out of private medical practice because they can't afford the high costs. Particularly vulnerable are 65 per cent of Tanzania's 44 million people living in rural areas where the services are not even available. As a short cut, many seek the services of traditional healers, some of whom are cash-chasing quacks. Donors are, however, lending a beneficial hand by funding domestic health-promotion programmes, targeting diseases like malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. Zanzibar has tamed malaria, with prevalence at less than 1 per cent; and on the Mainland, malaria deaths decreased from 120,000 in 2005 to 60,000 in 2008. Last week, acting chief medical officer Gilbert Mliga said public-private partnerships were critical to the attainment of health promotion goals. Granted that foreign investment is helpful, the government is enjoined to continue improving the environment to that end. In so doing, it should pay considerable attention to the relatively neglected rural areas.