Cover photo: Dr. Neema Rusibamayila of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and Mr. Titus Osundina (Officer in charge), UNDP .

On 6 March 2014 Tanzania launched a new initiative to increase access and delivery of health technologies for tuberculosis (TB), malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The initiative known as the “Access and Delivery Partnership” was launched by the Dr. Neema Rusibamayila (Acting Director of Preventive Services) on behalf of the Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in the presence of 30 policy makers representing the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare, Finance, Communications, Science and Technology, Trade and Industry and the Prime Minister’s Office Regional Authority and Local Government, representatives of USAID, JSI and private sector. The two day inception and project planning workshop which culminated in the launch of the initiative was organized by UNDP, the World Health Organisation Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), and the Programme for Appropriate Technologies in Health (PATH) under the leadership of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Tanzania.

The regional initiative seeks to leverage expertise to provide the full range of technical skills necessary to strengthen capacity in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). The three development organizations within the partnership will be strengthening health system capacities to absorb new health technologies for TB, malaria and NTDs. The five key outputs of the project include:

  • coherent policy and legal frameworks;

  • enhanced capacity for evaluation of epidemiological studies to identify country specific needs;

  • strengthened health sector capacity for monitoring of Phase IV clinical trials;

  • improved capacity to ensure sustainable financing, and developed capacity for commercialization to ensure appropriate pricing and adequate supply; and

  • enhanced capacity in supply chain and delivery systems.

In consultation with the policy makers in Tanzania, the project will work towards identifying and addressing bottlenecks within the health system to strengthen the capacity of key government and non-governmental stakeholders to introduce new health technologies. Speaking at the close of the workshop Dr. Neema of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare noted that the project fits in line with the Strategic Master Plan for the Neglected Tropical Diseases Control Programme and that “the capacity building and strengthening activities will prove to be important interventions which will have a positive influence on the Government’s health programming”.