Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, seniors and Children, Ummy Mwalimu made the remarks when speaking at the official launch of the Challenge Initiative (TCI), a new approach aimed at financing, scaling up and sustaining high-impact, family planning solutions for the urban poor.
The demand-driven programme has been launched in three Local Government Authorities (LGAs)—Tanga City Council, Korogwe Town Council and Korogwe District Council. Mwalimu said that the introduction of the initiative is an appropriate addition to the government’s efforts to increase the use of family planning services in Tanzania.
The minister urged LGAs to be innovative in a bid to reach more women and men. She also encouraged LGAs to ensure that people are reached by improved health services.
Jhpiego is an "international non-profit health organisation affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, which is the initiative’s implementing partner for the East Africa accelerator hub.
Acting country director of Jhpiego, Dr Dunstan Bishanga said that the initiative is a strategic shift away from the traditional model of development that requires local governments to participate and demonstrate political commitment by providing their own financial, material and human resources.
“In return, TCI brings technical expertise as well as support from its Challenge Fund. TCI leverages funding support from other sources too, such as bilateral and multilateral donors as well as foundations and the private sector,” said Dr Bishanga.
The initiative represents the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s single largest family planning investment. It is a substantial effort to mobilise and diversify resources to scale up family planning approaches already successfully implemented in urban India, Nigeria, Senegal and Kenya is expected to reduce maternal deaths.
“It has been scientifically proved that family planning can reduce maternal deaths by 30 per cent,” said Dr Bishanga. In Tanzania, it has already been introduced in Dar es Salaam’s three Municipal Councils and Arusha.
TCI believes that its model for expanding access to family planning can help mitigate several pressing social issues and save millions of lives.
Since 2010, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Jhpiego-led Tupange Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (URHI) project has been addressing urban family planning, supply and demand side interventions as well as advocacy in five urban cities of Kenya, including Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Machakos and Kakamega.
These efforts have contributed to unprecedented improvements in the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) of these cities from 45 per cent to 58 per cent over the project implementation period.
It works in 14 countries through four regional implementing partners: Jhpiego in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda), IntraHealth in Francophone West Africa, and Johns Hopkins Centre for Communication Programmes in Nigeria and Population Services International in India.