Tanzania is rich in natural and extractive resources such as gold, diamonds and tanzanite. Yet, nearly 20 million of its 39 million people live in poverty – without basic health care that could prevent thousands of infectious disease-related deaths each year.
Preventable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, are also stunting the country's economic growth. Without effective health interventions to keep its people alive, well and able to work.
In 1993, PSI opened a Tanzania office to begin tackling the East African nation’s largest health issue – the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic. Later, it branched out with malaria and water-borne disease prevention campaigns.
Improving Health in Tanzania
PSI/Tanzania’s HIV prevention program uses commercial marketing strategies to promote Salama condoms and Care female condoms to high-risk groups, such as truck drivers, commercial sex workers and other migrant populations. The program builds trust in these products though cultural theater groups, mobile video shows and sensitization workshops. In the 1990s, Tanzania posted one of the largest increases in contraceptive use – 2 percentage points per year.1 And the name Salama – which means “safe” – is now the generic word for condom.
PSI/Tanzania also proactively reaches out to young adults ages 15-24. Less than 50% of this age group can name the five most important elements of transmission; and only 17% of women and 26% of men said they used condoms the first time they had sexual intercourse.2
PSI/Tanzania is a major player in the fight against malaria – the No. 1 cause of death of children under 5, and the No. 3 cause of adult death. Malaria also increases the risk for pregnant women to have low birth weight/premature babies, maternal anemia and stillbirths.
Intense community mobilization promotions have made Ngao insecticide retreatment brand a household name. PSI/Tanzania has also helped the Ministry for Health and Social Welfare Services (MOHSWS) develop comprehensive communication materials to educate the public about new treatments.
PSI/Tanzania empowers women to overcome traditional gender stereotypes and take advantage of available contraceptives, such as:
Care female condoms.
SafePlan Injectolette (injectable).
SafePlan Microlette (oral).
Access to safe water and sanitation can help decrease the high prevalence of water-borne diseases, such as diarrhea and cholera, in both urban and rural Tanzania. In 2002, PSI/Tanzania (in collaboration with the MOHSWS and Ministry for Water) launched a program for WaterGuard, a household water treatment solution. In 2005, WaterGuard became available in tablet form, which is more user-friendly due to longer shelf-life. And PSI/Tanzanian’s local drama performances model proper hygiene.
PSI is a leading global health organization with programs targeting malaria, child survival, HIV and reproductive health. Working in partnership within the public and private sectors, and harnessing the power of the markets, PSI provides life-saving products, clinical services and behavior change communications that empower the world's most vulnerable populations to lead healthier lives.
PSI was founded in 1970 to improve reproductive health using commercial marketing strategies. For its first 15 years, PSI worked mostly in family planning (hence the name Population Services International). In 1985, it started promoting oral rehydration therapy. PSI’s first HIV prevention project — which promoted abstinence, fidelity and condoms — began in 1988. PSI added malaria and safe water to its portfolio in the 1990s and tuberculosis in 2004.
PSI has an uncommon focus on measurable health impact and attempts to measure its effect on disease and death much like a for-profit measures its profits. In 2009, PSI estimates that its programs directly prevented nearly 150,000 HIV infections, 3.5 million unintended pregnancies, almost 270,000 deaths from malaria and diarrhea and 40 million malaria episodes.