SPOTLIGHT: Partnering with District Pharmacists in Arusha, Tanzania

In Arusha, Tanzania, like in many other cities in East Africa, youth frequent pharmacies for short-term methods. Their visits to pharmacies are critical touchpoints with the health system and offer an opportunity to provide them with helpful information about contraceptives and, in some cases, refer them to a health facility for counseling. In January 2019, the TCI Tanzania team decided to work with the District Pharmacists in Arusha to improve young people’s experiences when accessing pills and condoms at local pharmacies and connect them with TCI trained health facilities. Together with TCI, the District Pharmacists identified 300 high-volume registered pharmacies in Arusha that would be eligible to receive training on providing quality family planning counseling to men and women of all ages, but in particular, young people.

Key outcomes following the initial TCI-supported training include:

  1. Pharmacists are now more motivated to counsel on contraceptives and are sharing user data on time with the District Pharmacists to show that they are reaching their targets for the month.
  2. The District Pharmacists are also motivated to ensure that the monthly data is collected and that the quality of services being provided are monitored at each pharmacy in their district.
  3. Pharmacists provide a monthly report on the number of (1) clients counseled by age, (2) clients accepting a modern method by age and method, and (3) clients referred to a TCI health facility by age. The District Pharmacists collect the data and share with the Arusha government and TCI for programming on a monthly basis.
  4. Pharmacists are more aware of their contraceptive sales and, as a result, are less prone to stockouts and can plan commodity needs based on monthly data.

Since the initial capacity building session in March, TCI trained pharmacists have provided 422 condoms and 223 pills to clients and referred 1,812 clients to TCI health facilities. Estimates conclude that 55% of the clients referred to health facilities were youth between the ages of 15-24. TCI health facilities have completed 636 referrals from pharmacies since the partnership began, leading to a 20% increase in youth acceptors between April 2018 and 2019.

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Service & Supply Approaches

External Resources

  • Pharmacy policy guideline
  • Tanzania Family Planning guidelines

Other East Africa Program Areas