Harnessing the Private Health Sector’s potential in the fight against malaria in Tanzania
The Geita region has one of the highest burdens of malaria in the country. 40% of people in the region accessed health care from private providers. Medicines for common ailments such as diarrhoea or fever were often bought from drug shops.
The project aimed to improve the quality of malaria diagnosis, treatment and adherence to treatment services by building the capacity of public and private health care providers. In addition, the project aimed to increase the availability of quality essential medicines and diagnostics for malaria in private facilities by providing loans to purchase drugs and negotiating reduced prices with suppliers.
The second part of the project involved partnering with leaders of known community health programmes to increase the awareness, demand for and access to quality primary health care services among school children, their parents and other community members. Here they focused on increasing the community knowledge on proper malaria care so that they could demand for the services they required.
The final component of the project involved improving data gathering and use for decision making from hospitals to the national level. This was done by building the capacity of healthcare workers and private care providers owners to generate quality data, improve recording in the health registers and encourage prompt reporting to district health management teams.
As a result of APHFTA's (Association of Private Health Facilities in Tanzania) work, private health providers have been able to access loans to purchase needed health commodities. The distribution of AMIF loans totalling 70,000,000 million Tanzanian Shillings, has resulted in improved quality of malaria services and expansion of malaria and other services in Geita region.
Awareness activities in the project communities have shown an increased knowledge on the importance of getting tested before taking treatment, seeking treatment early, and preventing malaria. The project has also improved the collection of health data by health providers and has helped district health planners to analyse and use data for timely decision-making.
Through APHFTAs work partnership with the President of the Regional Administration and Local Government, APHFTA was able facilitate the signing of 42 Service Level Agreements in Geita region in the past 15 months between the local government authorities and Private Health Facilities for the provision of malaria services.
APHFTA trained and supported 30 Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlet (ADDO) leaders and District Pharmacists to conduct supportive supervision so that quality services are provided in ADDOs.
APHFTA, in collaboration with Pharmacy Council, trained 507 ADDOs on use of the Integrated Surveillance System for data collection and reporting to facilitate management of malaria data at the ADDOs, sub-national and national levels.
APHFTA have now rolled out the School Health Approach for Malaria Prevention to over 320 schools by training at least 5 teachers from each school on malaria prevention strategies and provided them with teaching materials.