MSH Launches the Tanzania Institutional Capacity Building Program

In December 2010, Management Science for Health (MSH) launched the Tanzania Institutional Capacity Building Program (TZ-ICB). Senior leaders representing five implementing partners of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) attended the launch in Dar es Salaam along with, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the National AIDS Control Program, the Zanzibar AIDS Control Program, the National Blood Transfusion Services, and the National Institute for Medical Research. Following the launch, the Diagnostics Unit of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare was identified as the sixth local PEPFAR partner to receive capacity building support from the TZ-ICB program.

The TZ-ICB Program, funded by the U.S. Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will support the first two goals of PEPFAR's strategy for the next five years in Tanzania: (1) to transition from an emergency HIV response to sustainable country programs; (2) to strengthen government capacity to lead the response to this epidemic and other health demands.

Between 2005 and 2010 in Tanzania, there was a rapid expansion in the amount of funding available to support the national HIV & AIDS response which led to greater public knowledge about HIV prevention; increases in voluntary counseling and testing; increasing numbers of patients enrolled in treatment; and the development of national strategic policies that address the epidemic. Although these successes have improved health outcomes, much still needs to be done to sustain and expand these advancements. The TZ-ICB Program will help to build the institutional capacity of local organizations to support high-impact, sustainable programs that respond to the epidemic.

MSH's technical approach is to assist local institutions to analyze and fill the gaps in existing HIV programs and activities, as well as identify and respond to new programmatic opportunities. TZ-ICB's capacity building efforts will focus on: project management and execution; organizational systems and structures; leadership and management; and, grants management and reporting. MSH is also reaching out to other local PEPFAR implementing partners working on the HIV & AIDS epidemic in Tanzania, such as Pathfinder, IntraHealth, the University of Minnesota, and the American Association of Blood Banks.  

"This project creates a unique opportunity for institutions and staff to improve leadership, governance and management skills and, thereby, health outcomes, " stated Ms. Tabu A. Chando, Director for Human Resources, Administration and Planning in Tanzania's Ministry of Health and Social Welfare stated at the launch. "Utilizing widely proven techniques, the program will customize interventions for staff at all levels. There will be components that are more appropriate for the senior leader, others for the middle levels and others at the lower level, for each level must play their part if we are to succeed."

Following the launch meeting, the TZ-ICB program mobilized each partner's respective leaders and managers and engaged them in the first phase of project implementation—Review and Diagnosis. Over the next few months, TZ-ICB will facilitate participatory organizational reviews for five local partners using a modified version of MSH's Management and Organizational Sustainability Tool (MOST). The Review and Diagnosis phase will conclude the creation of an integrated work plan for capacity building for each local partner outlining priority needs and action steps to address them.

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