The Access and Delivery Partnership (ADP) held a Public Forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on 30 March 2017, bringing together government stakeholders, policy makers, technical experts and the Government of Japan (ADP’s donor) to share and exchange information about ADP’s efforts in promoting access and delivery of new health technologies in Ghana and Tanzania. This blog post by H.E. Masaharu Yoshida, Ambassador of Japan to Tanzania, reflects the importance of ADP as an integral part of the Government of Japan’s wider strategy towards improving global health outcomes in Africa.

I was very pleased to attend the Public Forum of the Access and Delivery Partnership (ADP) in Dar es Salaam on 30 March 2017. It was a great opportunity to meet and hear about the work of stakeholders from the government and private sector in Tanzania and Ghana, who are working hard to improve access to, and delivery of, essential health technologies in their countries.

Access and delivery of health technologies are complex issues involving both policy and practice, and requiring a holistic approach. Since 2013, Japan has collaborated with UNDP, to implement the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund and the ADP, as complementary projects to stimulate research and development for new health technologies, and to enhance national capacities in low- and middle-income countries to access and use these new technologies. Japan has so far contributed about US$64 million to the GHIT Fund for research and development of new health technologies for tuberculosis (TB), malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs);  and US$17.5 million have been allocated to ADP to help ensure that these new technologies reach those who live in low- and middle-income countries.

At the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in August 2016, the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe, declared that “promoting resilient health system for quality of life” is one of the three priorities for Japan’s support in advancing Africa’s sustainable development.

I believe the ADP symbolizes Japan’s commitment to ensuring human security, which strives for the protection and empowerment of each individual and the advancement of his or her potential, globally.

In Tanzania, with the goal of enhancing Universal Health Coverage, Japan continues to provide both “soft and hard” support in strengthening overall health service delivery.

The ADP has focused on developing and strengthening capacities for supply chain management, drug safety monitoring and implementation research, all of which are important functions for the introduction and delivery of new health technologies. In addition, the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA) is strengthening national capacities for health resource management to improve service delivery at hospitals across the country. JICA has assigned a Japanese health policy advisor to support policy makers at the Ministry of Health, while JICA volunteers at regional and district hospitals assist to improve service delivery. The Japanese Government’s MEXT research scholarship programme is currently supporting Tanzanian students,  including doctors and medical researchers, in undertaking masters and PhD programmes in Japanese universities. The Embassy of Japan also supports the construction of various health facilities around the country through the ‘Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Project’.

Contributions of the non-profit and private sector should also be acknowledged. Since 2007, the ‘Japan Tanzania Eye Medical Support Team’, a non-profit organization, has brought doctors from Japan to provide cataract surgeries on an annual basis. Japanese companies are also committed. For example, a pharmaceutical company is funding a mobile health project in Ifakara, in the Morogoro region, while others supply medical and hygiene products to local distributors.

Japan has focused on promoting public health, by involving the public and private sectors, and at the policy and implementation levels. I believe that such dynamic and multi-dimensional collaboration, as exemplified by the ADP, brings mutual benefits for both Africa and Japan. At the Ise-shima G7 Summit in May 2016, the Government of Japan pledged US$130 million for both GHIT and UNDP to enhance their joint efforts in improving access and delivery of new health technologies worldwide. It is my sincere hope that this will further boost our collective and continued commitment to enhance access to essential health service in Tanzania and elsewhere.

Interview with H.E. Masaharu Yoshida on the Government of Japan’s contribution to the development of Tanzania’s health system