- Published on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 01:32
- Written by MASEMBE TAMBWE
- Hits: 971
TANZANIA is on track of meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on universal coverage by mosquito nets with over 80 per cent of sleeping places protected.
According to a statement issued by MEDA Tanzania Communication Officer, Ms Tunu Yongolo, the nation had managed to reduce malaria deaths among children.
"Let's not take our eyes off the prize. Tanzania can reach the MDG by 2015", said Head of Tanzania National Nets (NATNETS) Programme in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Tanzania, Dr Renata Mandike.
Statistics from the computer based tool, Lives Saves Tool (LiST), a total of 63,000 lives of children under the age of five, have been saved by malaria control interventions since 1999.
Ms Yongolo explained that MEDA Tanzania is a key implementing partner in the Tanzania National Voucher Scheme (TNVS), which provides access to long-lasting insecticidal treated nets (LLINs) to two vulnerable populations: infants and pregnant women. "TNVS provides programme beneficiaries with a voucher that discounts the price of the LLIN so the beneficiary only pays a top up amount of 500/-", she said in the statement.
The Director of the US BU Centre for Global Health & Development (CGHD), Mr Jonathon Simon, in a recently led top-level evaluation of the President's Malaria Initiative with a team of researchers, said the programme has been very successful.
Mr Simon cautioned that sustaining those successes was of extreme importance and required the continued commitments from international donors and participating parties, both government and private sectors, to ensure its sustainability. A similar message comes from a recent article in The Economist, in which the World Health Organization (WHO) outlines that thanks to the surge of bed nets and other interventions, death rates are 26 per cent below their 2000 level.
Since its inception in 2004, TNVS has sold 8.1 million Insecticide Treated Nets through its scheme, with 5.4 million pregnant women and 2.7 million infant vouchers. A total of 26.4 million free LLINs have been issued since April 2009 via mass campaigns throughout the country.
The statement revealed that TNVS had entered into a 'Keep up Strategy,' aimed at sustaining the achievements to date - bed net coverage of 80 per cent of all house-holds in Tanzania. "This approach focuses on a constant supply of LLINs at retailers, customers (especially vulnerable populations) having affordable LLIN choices and longer term funding to work towards a hopefully soon to be malaria-free nation," the statement read in part.
MEDA recently launched an electronic voucher system that issues and redeems vouchers free via mobile phone text messages between the retailer and clinic.
Ms Yongolo said that the programme was also moving from the 'single net model, single size, single supplier, voucher sales only' structure to multiple qualified suppliers to offer consumers a variety of net models and sizes for sale via vouchers and, perhaps more importantly, commercially.
"MEDA believes that this design for a 'modified fixed value voucher' combines the best characteristics of choice, competition and equity, and is the ideal way forward into the future," she said. In 1999, Tanzania's mortality rate stood at a painful 141 for every thousand live births. However through a continuous struggle to meet the MDG 2015 goal of 47 per every 1000, that rate has been reduced to 81 per 1,000 live births.