Programme for 100% Medicines Availability Launched in Tanzania

africa tanzania medicine

Essential medications accessibility is set to achieve 100% by March, one year from now, up from the present 80%, the Medical Stores Department (MSD) guaranteed, today.

The government’s medical supplier also hopes to grow income generation by 48%, from the current 244bn/ – to 360bn/ – in the following three years, through more sales of medications and medical equipment.

The affirmation came a few days back, when the MSD launched the new Medium Term Strategic Plan (MTSP) to be executed in three years up to 2020. Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children, Dr Mpoki Ulisubisya graced the occasion, in Dar es Salaam.

While introducing the agenda, MSD Acting Director for Finance and Planning, Mr Sako Mwakalobo said that the new plan was devised in a way that the MSD works in accordance with new changes brought by the Fifth Phase Government.

He said that the procedures were arranged in a way that by one year from now the nation will see each of the 135 basic medicines being accessible by 100%. However, Dr Ulisubisya challenged them, needing them to accomplish 100% medicine availability by next March, the challenge which the administration acknowledged and guaranteed him that it was realizable.

“We have to ensure stock availability at the headquarters and zones,” he expressed. With the help of technological headway, the MSD aims to eliminate paperwork sort of working; rather, it intends to digitize its functions in the following three years.

“These are objectives we are committed to achieve in the next three years,” he guaranteed the meeting involving MSD zonal managers, department heads and key partners.

Mr Mwakalobo clarified that the determinants behind creating the documents were, among others, embracing those new changes, work on government’s priorities and scale up technology utilization.

Tanzania Aims for Nation-Wide Cervical Cancer Screening

tanzania cervical cancer screening

Every public health centre in Tanzania will start giving initial cervical cancer treatment one year from now in an endeavor to battle the destructive ailment, the government announced few days back.

Plans are also at a propelled stage to initiate immunization and vaccination of young girls in the 9-13 years age range against the sickness from next April.

Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Minister Ummy Mwalimu has approached parents by asking not to delay taking their kids for the vaccination.

She remarked, “We hope that by vaccinating them at this age, we will reduce the cervical cancer cases…and, I will demonstrate this by bringing my own daughter for vaccination.”

She was talking at the receipt of materials for cervical cancer preventive action and supplies, given the support from JHPIEGO International association in association with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Maternal Child Survival Program (MCSP) to enhance the Tanzanian cervical cancer services.

Ms Mwalimu added, “My aim is to have each public health centre providing initial treatment of the cervical cancer by December 2018”, implying that the objective is to screen three million ladies.

There are presently 524 health centres by the government, with just 265 of them offering such services. These centres are at level two, after dispensaries, in grading and reviewing public health facilities.

She believes that it is bad that a woman goes to the clinic for maternal and child healthcare yet neglects to avail the cervical cancer screening facilities and primary treatment.

Speaking about the accomplishment up until now, the minister clarified that the government has scaled up screening and primary treatment administrations. She mentioned, “In the past one year, over 100 new centres were established for screening and provision of initial therapy.”

In every 100 patients arriving at Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI), 34 of them experience the ill effects of cervical cancer and 12 suffer from breast cancer, as indicated by statistics.

To minimize deaths she stated that the reason as to why it was decided to emphasize more on cervical and breast cancer is because they account for approximately 50% of overall cancer cases.

Around 80% of patients report at ORCI, with the cancer at an advanced stage, prompting mediocre treatment outcomes and most of them succumbing to it.

Jhpiego Tanzania Country Director Jeremie Zoungrana stated, “So, far we have a low number of cervical cancer screening clinics, so there is need to scale up the screening services and improve the accessibility.”

Additionally, there is a need to keep up the standard of screening services, including data quality, he said. USAID noticed that cancer represents a crucial health danger worldwide and the rates of occurrences have escalated in many nations since 1980’s.

Proof demonstrates that cervical cancer remains a main source of cancer-related horror and mortality among ladies, with around 50% of cervical cancer related losses, around the world.

Kenya-Japan Introduce Program Integrating Technology in Healthcare

healthcare technology

The Kenyan government has come together with the government of Japan to launch a brand new health development program that will work towards integrating technology in healthcare in the mission to attain the goal of universal healthcare.

The project is headed by the Japan Policy and Human Resource Development (PHRD) and will oversee medical data collected using a tech platform to predict early warnings of health issues and risk management in the country.

Healthcare reforms have proven to be an arduous task for the administration, but finally looks to be realized.

The government has already formulated and implemented several measures in attempts to make healthcare more accessible to the citizens of Kenya. This latest endeavor will see their ambitions integrated with technology. This technology will facilitate the speedier and more accurate functioning of the healthcare sector.

The Kenyan government hopes to achieve healthcare access to all citizens and insulate them from heavy financial risks, while acquiring these services. The new tech platform will see medical data collected and monitored for a timely and appropriate response.

The technology was developed by the Kenyan ministry of health in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The government along with the agency aims to partner with policy makers and planning officials at all levels of the government to ensure its efficacy.

The PHRD project is a vital part of universal health care. It was introduced by Japan at the sixth Tokyo International Conference Development (TICAD) meeting which has since made contributions in maternal healthcare among other areas.

The launch precedes the Universal Health care global forum to be held in Tokyo, Japan in December which will focus on strengthening global public health emergency response and lifelong healthcare to all people

The Government of Japan has also given a grant of Sh 1billon to the Ministry of Health to strengthen Pandemic Preparedness and Monitoring Evaluation of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Kenya.

Japanese Ambassador to Kenya, Toshitsugu Uesawa, said Japan is fully committed in the realization of Universal Health Care and is dedicated to Kenya becoming a role model for other African nations to accelerate their own progress towards Universal Healthcare

“I am convinced that today’s event and the UHC forum 2017 will provide a great opportunity to take concrete steps towards attaining Universal health Care,” added Toshitsugu.

EAC to Develop Single Regulator For Pharmaceuticals

eac pharmaceutical

The pharmaceutical division is set to profit by more extensive access to the market following an arrangement by the East African Community (EAC) States to set up a solitary regulatory agency for drugs. Drug firms can then access the 160 million strong EAC market easily as the agency is expected to reduce time and expenses of assessments and approvals of medicines/medical devices.

As of now, new medicines must be assessed by different regional regulatory authorities before being permitted into the market. Under the new arrangement, once an agency approves a medication, it can be sold to all EAC States without national assessments. Dr. Felista Chepwogen from Pharmacy and Poisons Board said, “The focus of the proposed agency will be to regulate selected medicines and medical devices which are complex in nature and require special knowledge and expertise to authorise their use by the population.”

He similarly is appointed as EAC Medicines Regulatory Harmonization Project official. He stated that the timelines for audit and enlistment of medicinal products entering regional level have been drawn out principally because of absence of institutional structures that have legit command to deal with and process applications.

The select medicines may incorporate immunizations, vaccines, genetically modified (GM) products, medical appliances, pharmaceuticals for rare ailments, high-risk food items among others. A secretariat inside EAC’s division of Medicines and Food Safety will organize the joint activities for development of a single pharmaceutical and food safety office. This is expected from 2018 onwards. The proposed agency takes inspiration from the European Medicines Agency which regulates certain pharmaceuticals for 28 European Union nations with a total populace of 510 million.

Since 2015, national drug controllers/regulators of EAC, with the exception of Burundi and South Sudan have been actualizing joint drug assessment and market authorisation protocols, including joint reviews of drug manufacturing sites. Under the joint assessments, firms trying to introduce new medicines within the area, still need to submit applications and pay expenses to all nations separately.

The proposed formation of a solitary regulatory agency looks to dispose of duplication with the goal that applications are made to one organization itself. Dr. Chepwogen remarked, “The joint evaluations of medicines have minimised duplication of efforts and saved resources. The regime has resulted in faster registration timelines for jointly assessed dossier applications. It has also improved capacity for the regulators and the pharma industry.” He repudiated claims of undue slow-downs within the current joint regional assessment of medicines in EAC, saying they are frequently caused by pharmaceutical organizations that don’t react to regulatory questions speedily.

Babyl Providing AI Inspired Healthcare in Rwanda

babyl rwanda

Babyl Rwanda, a digital healthcare provider has been making some fine progress in Rwanda in recent times.

Headquartered in London, Babyl aims to bring affordable and accessible healthcare to all Rwandans. They hope to do this by combining the medical expertise of professionals and the ever-increasing computing power of modern day machines.

Dr. Shivon Byamukama, the deputy CEO of Babyl explained that Babyl uses a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning and doctors and nurses to provide accurate medical consultation to anyone with a mobile device.

Rwanda also has a significant amount of their population using feature phones for which Babyl have developed a USSD version of the application. Anyone may dial *811#, and register for the platform using their National ID – which is attached to their sim card.

The identity of the patient remains an important step, so that the operators know that the right person is being treated. The patient may then book an appointment with a Babyl doctor for further treatment. Confirmation for this is received via SMS.

It takes a long amount of time for patients , especially upcountry to access a medical facility and Babyl aims to counter this issue by utilizing new technologies and innovation as they can act as significant enablers in the process.

Babyl have been operating in Rwanda for one year and has gained an incredible following, with over 600,000 registrations and 100,000 already recorded.

The company continues to develop at an impressive rate with a plan to put their AI in call centers, designated health posts and health centers in place. The use of these health centers will provide its users with the same medical recommendations provided by expert doctors. This move is also expected to reduce the work-load of Rwanda’s hospitals significantly.

Babyl is also aiming to be compatible with local healthcare scheme and are in talks with RSSB, the biggest health insurer in Rwanda, to provide access to their service for all of the affiliates on both Mutuelle and RAMA schemes.

Dr. Shivon Byamukama revealed that Babyl’s decision to bring this technology to Rwanda first was inspired by the Rwandan administration’s goal to make Rwanda, the region’s digital hub and the presence of universal health care in the country. She also revealed that Babyl plans to expand to 6 other nations in the next year.

 She concluded saying,We want to make healthcare accessible and affordable to everyone. Babyl is here to make a real difference in the lives of Rwandans’ health care. Our service was first developed in the UK where we now work with the National Health Service and then came to Rwanda. It is high quality, cost effective and easy to use. Wherever you are, you can use a mobile device to speak to one of our medical professionals.

We use Rwandan doctors who speak Kinyarwanda, English and French, and they all have many years experience plus we offer them additional training. The world is going digital and healthcare needs to be democratized and revolutionized, so that with the help of machine learning and our AI chatbot, everyone on earth can access health care”

Private Medical Facilities to Attract More Medical Tourism in Kenya

healthtourism kenya

Private sector owned medical facilities are counting on new advanced technologies and the offer of specialized customer-centric services to attract clients from neighboring nations with a hope of boosting medical tourism.

Most of these facilities are based out of Nairobi, however a new private facility has been opened in Mombasa catering to local as well as foreign patients seeking treatment.

According to the new Economic Development in Africa report 2017 released by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Kenya is one of the biggest benefactor of trans-border travel for the purpose of medical treatment.

Kenya also attracts a significant amount of tourists from Europe who are attracted by the cost-effective nature of these specialized medical services as well as services concerning cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

A host of medical facilities offer these services within Kenya, with that number expected to rise gradually. The newest of these facilities is the Premier Hospital that has just begun operations in the Mombasa County.

This new facility lies in the heart of a major tourism hotspot and has also partnered with a number of consultancy services to provide foreign and local clientele with attractive offers on their services.

Medical tourism today is growing at a rate of 15 percent annually and is worth a staggering 50 billion dollars globally.

Mauritius, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia are the other top destinations for Africans and Europeans seeking medical services.


Over $19 Million Investment Made in African E-Health Start-Ups

ehealth africa

E-Health Startups have attracted huge amounts of investments across Africa in recent years, with investments estimated to be as much as $19 million, according to new reports.

Several e-health startups are making some remarkable progress, while the industry as a whole is also shows signs of encouraging progress.

Many of these startups are based in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, while many others continue to emerge in numbers from Ghana, Uganda, Egypt and Senegal.

E-health startups are constantly gaining traction because of its digitally inspired and easily accessible platform.

A wide array of these startups are committed to a host of different causes from mobile applications to diagnostic tests. They have all contributed to  better quality and accessibility to numerous Africans in need of medical services.

Africa is soon becoming a hub for e-health businesses with telecoms and other startups in Kenya, South Africa and Ghana looking to complement and facilitate they’re progression.

In the long run, the report suggests that e-health will “minimize investment towards hospital bed-strength as more patients receive care within, or close to, their homes without hospital admission.”

Analysts had predicted, mobile phones to play an important role in connecting e-health startups to the general public, but only 44 percent of the recent wave of 115 initiatives launched have been mobile-based.

These businesses are doing an outstanding job of providing solutions to local and international health issues, which has caused investors to take notice of this growing trend.

The Innovate for Life Fund is an incubator that is focused specifically on supporting and investing in African e-health companies that show potential.

The fund, which is a Amref Health Africa initiative that is supported by the  Grassroots Business Fund, The Elsevier Foundation and Venture Capital for Africa, selected six startups that will take part in its three-month accelerator program, according to VC4A.

Earlier this month Nigerian e-health startup Mobicure was awarded an Expo Live grant from organisers of the next World Expo.

Chinese Medical Team Bids Farewell to Tanzanians after 2 Years

tanzania chinese medical

Following two years of their goal to serve rural and urban Tanzanians, the visiting 24th China Medical Team was bid goodbye recently in Dar es Salaam. The group accomplished serving more than 20,000 Tanzanians while additionally donating medication and equipment worth 125 million.

Ummy Mwalimu, the Tanzanian Health, Community Development, Gender, Children and Elderly Minister talked in support of the government amid the farewell party at the Chinese Embassy. She commended the team’s endeavors and dedication towards saving citizens’ lives. She passed on their appreciation and gratitude to China for its helps, which she admits has encouraged the change in Tanzania’s medical solutions.

The emotional minister was cited saying, “We know you left your families and homes to come and help your brothers and sisters. Thank you very much”. Tanzania has continued keeping an exceptional connection with the People’s Republic of China concerning the medical division since 1968 as the latter began sending doctors over.

As per Mwalimu, this relationship has focused on specialists and infrastructure support. The Chinese government helped Tanzania to develop the advanced Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI). She went on to say that this affiliation helped the Tanzanian government from sending patients outside the country. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the commendable services these doctors have been providing to the citizens who received their services,” she said.

Ms Wang Ke, the recently appointed Chinese Ambassador to Tanzania said the two countries have rejoiced in this kinship for a long while. She commented that since the first group of specialists was sent to Tanzania in the 1960s, more than 15 million Tanzanians got treatment from 1080 Chinese doctors. Maintaining the worldwide humanitarian soul for 50 years, the Chinese government has apportioned medical groups to Tanzania.

She further added, “The visit has played a significant role in sharing advanced medical experiences, providing medical equipment and medicine, improving the country’s health care capacity as well as consolidating friendship between the two countries”.

Comprising of 25 doctors, the 24th China medical group touched base in Tanzania in August 2015 and worked in rural and urban regions. The team amid their stay donated blood to Tanzania’s National Blood Bank and rushed to arrive in the Kagera locality after it endured an earthquake, to save casualties’ lives regardless of the outcome’s dangers.

Dr. Sun Long, a heart specialist was quoted saying, “The voluntary blood donation is good evidence of the deep friendship between the people of China and Tanzania”. He said he wished their stay in Tanzania could be longer and was not able to conceal his affection for the country. He discussed how during their two-year residency, they learnt important things, and exchanged advantageous experiences with local doctors, and applauded the government’s undertakings in augmenting and improving health services.

Culmination of Bill Gates’ Support for Cervical Cancer in Tanzania

tanzania cervical cancer

Access to screening facilities available at existing family planning clinics grows, as cervical cancer cases develop. Anil Tambay, Maries Stopes Tanzania Country Director expressed in Dar es Salaam to acknowledge the culmination of the cervical cancer screening and preventative therapy programme by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

He commented that such family planning programmes were “natural entry points” for preventive measures as both cervical cancer screening and family planning services require a similar target group. He stated, “Family planning integration is an overwhelmingly positive strategy, but it requires robust supervision and logistics systems”.

However, he admitted operational issues did exist. Examples being fragmented funds, faltered coordination amongst clinics and the requirement for standard regular training and supervision of clinical aid providers. This programme was supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria to regulate cervical cancer screening and preventive treatment through reproductive health systems from November 2012 to October 2017.

Mr. Tambay said that more than 187,263 women were screened in a time of 23 months in the country, among them 7,783 were discovered positive and 7,602 obtained cryotherapy. Maria Stopes Tanzania is executing the Tanzania programme, alongside Population Services International (PSI) and Chama cha Uzazi na Malezi Bora Tanzania (UMATI).

The Ministry of Health Assistant Director for Reproductive and Child Health, Dr. Hussein Kidanto specified that cervical cancer was a critical public health issue in Tanzania. He said, “Many experts would agree that the high burden of disease and low survival rate among women with cervical cancer in the country is attributed to late disease presentation, diagnosis, and delay in treatment.”

Dr. Kidanto said that cervical cancer could be prevented essentially by raising public awareness, vaccinating adolescent girls of 9-13 years against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This is the virus that causes cervical cancer. He said currently there were 466 clinics offering cervical cancer screening and treatment services. These incorporate all provincial, regional, district clinics, some health centres, and dispensaries.

Leap Forward in DTG Pricing for 90 LMIC nations

africa aids

The first low-price, single-pill antiretroviral treatment is probable of being made accessible in 90 LMIC (low and middle wage) nations because of a leap forward in costing agreement for HIV drugs. The procedure containing DTG (dolutegravir) could turn out to be widely accessible in LMIC nations for about a tenth of the present cost – around US $75 per individual every year.

The agreement came to fruition because of shared endeavors between national governments, UN organizations, NGOs, and pharmaceutical producers. As more countries will have the capacity to start treatment on more individuals without expanding the financial budget, treatment scope is expected to increase. With the assistance of the deal, it is conceivable to sublicense DTG in 92 nations at a value roof that is relatable to low and center wage nations.

Kenya began the utilization of generic DTG this year, while South Africa is set to make the treatment prevalent in April 2018, with saved funds expected to be at US $900 million over the coming six years.

UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé said, “This agreement will improve the quality of life for millions of people living with HIV. To achieve the 90-90-90 treatment targets, newer, affordable and effective treatment options must be made available—from Baltimore to Bamako—without any delay.”

DTG offers quicker viral load suppression, less side effects and better barrier against drug resilience, yet until now has been excessively costly for LMICs. It is generally utilized in high-income nations and is prescribed by the World Health Organization as an alternate first-line HIV regimen.

While being a medication that offers less reactions, enhanced protection and faster viral load suppression, DTG has been a costly drug up to this point. It is prescribed by WHO (World Health Organization) as another first-line HIV regimen and is also broadly utilized by developed high-income nations.

The efficacy of DTG will most likely show into more individuals remaining within this HIV Treatment. Thus, its extensive use will as far as anyone knows diminish the requirement for exorbitant second-and third-line regimens, which individuals are moved onto should their first treatment regimen be unsuccessful.

After the agreement declaration, issues were raised that plans for a 17% allowance cut of the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which adds up to US $3.8 billion from the US $4.6 billion could undermine the rollout of the generic drug in a few nations.

Dr. Larkin Callaghan, Director of Strategic Communications and Partnerships at the Aids Research Institute at the University of California, San Francisco while conversing with The Independent, said the DTG price agreement “should underscore the need for PEPFAR to remain fully funded.”

Moreover, the Medicines Control Council expressed that only two pharmaceutical businesses have connected to register the medication for the time being. This demonstrates little competition when companies tender for drug supply next April, as there is a lack of time for competitors to have their drugs validated by then.

Lotti Rutter, Treatment Action Campaign representative, said that more producers ought to have entered the market in order to achieve the minimum possible cost for the new regimen.