Tackling Tanzania’s biggest health challenges
We’re working to improve health for people with TB, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other serious conditions
Tuberculosis (TB), HIV/AIDS, and malaria are the most deadly diseases in Tanzania. PATH is using a spectrum of approaches to reduce the burden of these three diseases while simultaneously strengthening the country’s health infrastructure and information systems. We’re also turning our attention to other conditions, including cervical cancer, diabetes, and hypertension.
Addressing the dual epidemics of TB and HIV
Tanzania not only has high rates of TB and HIV, but also a high rate of co-infection with both. In fact, almost half of all people newly diagnosed with TB in Tanzania are also infected with HIV. Since 2005, PATH has been working to scale up the country’s response to this dual epidemic. Collaborating with local, national, and international partners and health care programs, we’re implementing a coordinated response across Tanzania’s entire health system. Our TB and HIV projects have reached more than 150,000 people with better diagnostics, treatment, and education. Our work includes:
- Integrating TB and HIV services in more than 1,000 public and private facilities.
- Improving laboratory diagnostic equipment.
- Training hundreds of health care workers in how to identify and track cases and provide treatment.
We’re also developing strategies to combat drug-resistant TB and piloting a method to find and help new TB patients by partnering with traditional healers and staff at private pharmacies. Our work in advocacy, communication, and social mobilization activities aims to increase awareness of TB, reduce the stigma associated with the disease, and encourage people to get tested and seek care.
Helping people care for themselves
More than 93 percent of new TB patients in our project areas have been tested for HIV. Nearly a third of those tested were HIV positive. After diagnosis, these patients have gained access to HIV care and treatment services. For the first time, patients are also receiving treatment for drug-resistant TB.
To reduce the spread of HIV, we’re collaborating with other countries in East Africa to prevent transmission along major transportation corridors. By teaching truckers and other highly mobile people about HIV as well as providing counseling, testing, and treatment, we’re helping people protect themselves and their families.
More than 93 percent of Tanzanians live in areas where malaria is transmitted. Annually, 10 to 12 million people are reported to have contracted malaria and 60,000 to 80,000 die from the disease, many of them children and pregnant women. The goal of Tanzania’s National Malaria Strategic Plan is to reduce the incidence of malaria by 80 percent compared to 2000 rates by 2013. To help the country reach this goal, we are taking a two-pronged approach: supporting the scale-up of existing tools to prevent and treat malaria while encouraging the development of vaccines against the disease.
With the Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA), a program at PATH, we’re demonstrating how to achieve high coverage with tools such as insecticide-treated bednets and through targeted investments in planning, resourcing, implementing, performance monitoring, and impact evaluation. We’re also partnering with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. A phase 3 trial of the most advanced malaria vaccine candidate has been implemented in Tanzania in collaboration with Ifakara Health Institute and the Joint Malaria Programme, National Institute of Medical Research.
About 85 percent of women who die from cervical cancer live in developing countries. In Tanzania, about 8,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but often not until late stages when treatment is difficult. Cervical cancer can be prevented if precancerous lesions are identified early and treated promptly. We’re working to prevent and control cervical cancer using efficient, low-cost screening approaches and cryotherapy, a freezing treatment for precancerous lesions.
Photo: PATH/Richard Lord.