GeographyKagera "Maps of East Africa, Tanzania, Kagera Region (325 KB)" , "Topographic map (398 KB)" is situated in the north west of Tanzania and is divided into 5 districts (Bukoba, Muleba, Biharamulo, Karagwe and Ngara "Administrative divisions (352 KB)"). The headquarters of the region are Bukoba Urban. The Kagera region borders Uganda to the North, Rwanda and Burundi to the west, Kigoma region to the south and Mwanza and Mara regions to the East, separated by Lake Victoria. The region covers an area of approximately 40,838kmē. Of this 28,953kmē is dry land and remainder is covered by the lakes Victoria, Ikimba and Burigi, and by the Kagera and Ngono rivers. Kagera is one of Tanzania's most remote regions, situated 1,500km from Dar es Salaam.
PopulationThe population "Population (420 KB)" of Kagera region for 1999 was estimated at 1,853,942 covering 5 districts and the headquarters of the Region, Bukoba Urban. The smallest population is in Bukoba-Urban with 79,545 while the population of the remaining rural districts ranged from 250,000 to 407,000. The average population density is 69p.p.kmē, but distribution is far from uniform. The forests and game reserves in central Kagera are unoccupied, and other areas are sparsely populated. However more fertile areas, and those close to roads have a high population density, often well over 100 p.p.kmē.
ClimateKagera experiences a bi-modal rainfall pattern ranging between 900-2,000 mm per annum. Rainfall "Rainfall (296 KB)" is highest close to Bukoba and along the lakeshore up to Muleba district. It decreases towards higher altitudes inland. Temperatures range between 20°C and 28°C.
AgricultureThe main cropping system is the traditional method, which combines perennial crops (usually bananas and coffee) with annual food crops such as maize, beans, cassava, sweet potatoes and sorghum in certain areas"Staple food crops (459 KB)" , "Food consumption (360 KB)". Farmers use few inputs and often yields are low. The area each family cultivates varies with population density but is generally between 1 and 2 hectares. The coffee crop is found in most of the districts and is the main cash-crop. The cropping systems of Kagera Region are centuries old, and in the past relied partly on opening new plots. These systems are based on traditional knowledge and technologies of land use and management. Kagera region is endowed with many natural forests "Land use (481 KB)" but these are continuously threatened by bush-fires, shifting cultivation and over-exploitation. The arrival of refugees from Rwanda and Burundi aggravated this problem, particularly in Ngara and Karagwe districts.
EconomyThe major economic activity for the people of Kagera is agriculture, for most, subsistence farming. The most important food crops for the area are bananas and beans. Coffee, cotton and tea are the main cash crops "Cash incomes (412 KB)" , "Income (339 KB)" , "Income benchmarks (327 KB)" and all are grown at subsistence level. More than 80% of the working population is directly or indirectly involved in agriculture. Fishing and livestock farming are culturally important, but despite their potential they contribute little to the regions' economy, both sector remain underdeveloped. The annual per capita income was 95,623 Tsh. or about 24 EURO in 1997 (the national per capita income was 147,026 Tsh or 37 EURO). The industrial base of Kagera region is still very small: the most important industries are those involved in the processing of cash crops such as coffee and cotton, other small scale industries include sawmills.
Health, Water and Sanitation
Reproductive healthMost of the health care facilities in the region provide reproductive health care services. The services provided include antenatal care, delivery, postnatal care and family planning. The services are provided at all levels with varying facilities, ranging from Dispensaries, Health Centre to Hospital levels. It is noted that facilities, belonging to the Catholic Church do not offer family planning services as a matter of religious policy.
Child healthImmunisation coverage has been increasing in some districts but others show a decreasing trend. Reasons given for a decrease in coverage include loss of refrigerators thus necessitating delivery to rely solely on mobile outreach services from some facilities. There is also a shortage of kerosene to keep the refrigerators running.
Communicable and non-communicable diseasesThe region has been pursuing policy on the control of communicable diseases on routine basis and had controlled most of the diseases until it experienced the emergence of HIV pandemic in 1984. While struggling to control HIV and even before a clear pattern could be established, came the influx of refugees in 1994 and El-nino rains in 1997, which had catastrophic effects to the Health System. This situation led to a re-arrangement of priorities that negatively affected implementation and control of the programme.
Health Structures, Staff Inventory and Management StructuresEach district seems to have adequate health structures but quality of service is compromised by relative lack of appropriately trained personnel and financial resource constraints.
Health sector reformKagera region was chosen for piloting Health Reform in 1995 after the government and the donor community had realized the severity of AIDS epidemic. The choice was prompted by further problems of caring for the orphans that had been left in hands of other elderly. In order to bring efficiency, it was considered important to establish District Health Boards, which would be given autonomy and mandate to manage health services. The aim of introducing Health Sector Reform was to allow it to work coincidentally with Local Government Reform to empower the District Authorities to handle their own services.
WaterWith the exception of Bukoba Urban, the rest of the districts and rural areas face water supply problems with less than 10 % having access to safe water. Bukoba Urban reported 50 % of the households as having water supply service. Other districts especially Bukoba Rural and Ngara are facing acute water supply problems. The Hesawa programme, which covers 58 % of the total population in the region, has substantially improved access to water in drilling shallow wells, boreholes and rock well. Within the frame of this programme, domestic points, improved traditional water sources, institutional and household rainwater harvesting tanks have been taken care of.
SanitationSanitation is an alarming problem in all the districts of Kagera region. Bukoba Urban and Bukoba Rural reported the worst sanitation compared to other districts. Less than 5 % of the population is served with appropriate sanitation.