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Fostering Equitable and Sustainable Access to Health Products in Tanzania
SHOPS Plus Tanzania, implemented by Abt Associates, is working with international donors, governmental stakeholders, non-governmental organizations, and the private health sector to build support for total market approach (TMA). TMA is a strategy that can sustainably increase access to priority health products and services by engaging the private sector to work collaboratively with the public sector. SHOPS Plus uses TMA to address Tanzania’s dependency on donated family planning (FP) and HIV commodities, lack of strategies to distribute donated and subsidized products, and the need for more private sector involvement. The National AIDS Control Program and the Reproductive and Child Health Section (RCHS) of the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children support efforts to influence policy change at the national level.
Integrating TMA Through Collaboration and Dialogue Promoting collaboration and dialogue across sectors is at the core of the SHOPS Plus approach to TMA. The project supported the creation of private sector advocacy groups that participate in national-level technical working groups and committees, such as the FP commodity security working group and national condom sub-committee. For the first time, commercial sector actors are included in programming discussions, which is an essential first step to promote private sector visibility and building a more holistic health market in Tanzania.
Using Evidence to Prompt Action SHOPS Plus supports market research and analysis to better understand barriers to TMA implementation. Using the FP Market Analyzer tool, Abt was able to model realistic market scenarios for injectable contraceptives—the most popular FP method in Tanzania—and show that a shortage of this method was likely to occur due to dwindling private sector market presence and lack of donor support. By illustrating the impact that this shortage would have on the public sector, government stakeholders understood the need to support private sector actors who were willing to enter the market. Currently, a local pharmaceutical importer is registering a generic commercial brand of injectable, and a local social marketing/social enterprise organization is planning to introduce a socially marketed injectable.
“Adopting Total Marketing Approaches is a leading strategy for ensuring that Tanzania’s commodity and service delivery markets can continue to meet the needs of its citizens in key health areas such as FP and HIV,” said Maureen Ogada-Ndekana, Abt’s chief of party. “Through support and facilitation provided by SHOPS Plus, it is evident that the Tanzanian government is increasing its recognition of the role that the private sector can play to allow public and donor resources to reach those most at need.”