Reaching Out Through the Tanzania National Voucher Scheme
Originally submitted by the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)
|Mr. Godwin Bana reaches out to residents in the Kayanga ward of Karagwe district, Tanzania. Source: MEDA|
Mr. Godwin Bana, a retailer from Kagera region in Tanzania, is a registered participant in the PMI-supported Tanzania National Voucher Scheme (TNVS). He accepts Hati Punguzo (HP) vouchers, which are issued to pregnant mothers and infants through reproductive and child health clinics, in exchange for insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs). The program provides Mr. Bana with a guaranteed market for his product, and it ensures that pregnant mothers and infants receive the protection they need from malaria.
Like many retailers, Mr. Bana has a permanent shop where he conducts most of his sales. However, he realizes that many people live in remote areas and cannot travel such long distances. As a way to boost sales and improve the program, he began joining with mobile clinics conducting outreach services to rural parts of the community. As a result, voucher recipients can now receive an ITN without making the long journey to the nearest HP retailer.
Prior to the start of the TNVS, which is part of Tanzania’s national malaria control program, many communities experienced shortages of ITNs, especially in rural areas. People were forced to travel many kilometers to town centers in search of retailers who stocked this product. Now, thanks to the guaranteed market provided by the TNVS, nearly 7,000 retailers and wholesalers nationwide sell ITNs. This large private network is helping to overcome the problem of ITN scarcity and distances people must travel, while at the same time helping local businesses to earn a sustainable living.
The President’s Malaria Initiative provides support to the TNVS for the HP infant voucher. Infants receive a voucher when they are brought in for measles vaccination. The program is implemented through a partnership of three NGOs and contractors – Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), World Vision, and Population Services International – and operates in all 21 regions of mainland Tanzania. The TNVS is also supported by the Global Fund to Fight Tuberculosis, AIDS and Malaria.