In response to the problems mentioned, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare through the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) in collaboration with Management Science for Health (MSH), in 2002, developed a strategy for a pilot programme establishing a network of Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlets (ADDOs), popularly known as Duka la Dawa Muhimu (DLDM), to provide selected essential medicines and other health supplies in the five districts of Ruvuma Region. The intent was to ensure that Tanzanians living in rural, peri-urban, and underserved urban communities have the opportunity to purchase quality, affordable non-prescription and a limited number of prescription medicines from regulated and properly operated drug outlets staffed by trained and supervised drug dispensers.
To achieve this goal, it was necessary to approach the problems of Part II Poisons shops in a systematic and holistic fashion, with the standards of premises improved, training provided to both owners and dispensers, and inspection and supervision activities delegated down to the Ward level.
Other strategies employed included the creation of an incentive package for drug shop owners by providing business training (including training on regulations and ethics), facilitating the provision of loans, and encouraging the establishment of a wholesaler pharmaceutical business in the region.
The first ADDOs were launched in Ruvuma by the Minister for Health in August 2003. Evaluation of the pilot project revealed a significant improvement in access to quality medicines. The success was a result of support from the central and local government authorities and other stakeholders (public and private). The specific achievements as compared to baseline information obtained in a survey conducted by Strategies for Enhancing Access to Medicines (SEAM) in 2001 are as follows; Increased availability of medicines, Improved dispensing practices, Availability of unregistered drugs decreased from 26% to 2%, Establishment of a micro-financing system in which ADDO owners were able to obtain and repay loans, Establishment of a functioning decentralized regulatory system, Premises were found to adhere to set standards in operating their businesses, All ADDOs were manned by certified dispensers and Improvement in reporting and communication from grassroots to national level.
The overall benefit to be accrued from the programme is improved livelihood of the people which will contribute towards poverty reduction in the regions and the nation at large.