Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlet Program Receives Innovation Awards

Tanzanian Health Market Innovations awardees in Uganda {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Pharmacies and health care services are not always easily accessible to patients living in developing countries. Many have to walk several miles – if they are able to – just to reach a health care center that can provide them with medicines and treatment.

With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) has been working with local governments (starting in Tanzania) since 2002 to improve access to affordable, quality medicines and pharmaceutical services by developing accredited retail drug shops in such underserved areas. The accredited drug dispensing outlets (ADDOs) not only increase access to essential medicines, but also serve as a platform for community-based public health interventions, such as improving child health.

At the Health Market Innovations Awards ceremony held in Kampala, Uganda, in May 2012, ADDOs received two awards: emerging as a second runner up on the overall most innovative program category and receiving an outstanding (first position) in changing behavior (category) through provider training (subcategory). The Health Market Innovations Awards are organized by the Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI) to “recognize outstanding health programs in the East African region that have increased access to health services, improved quality of service delivery, and provided financial protection to the poor and vulnerable.”

The ADDOs program in Tanzania, which will be rolled out to all regions of the country by the end of 2012, has also served as the model for adapted private-sector drug seller initiatives in Uganda and Liberia.