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Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa, has a population of more than 35 million people. More than three-quarters of the population lives in rural areas of the country. With a per capita income of only $320 USD, the country suffers high levels of malnutrition and food poverty. More than one-fifth of its people are underweight and 39 percent live below the basic needs poverty line.
Tanzania’s public health care system is based on a referral system extending from national specialized hospitals through regional and district hospitals to more than 3,000 local dispensaries or clinics. With only 822 doctors and 13,292 nurses for the entire country, Tanzania’s health care system suffers chronic personnel shortages. Life expectancy averages 48 years of age.
Tanzania has an estimated 2.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS, or a seroprevalence rate of approximately 6.5 percent. HIV/AIDS has also orphaned an estimated 1.1 million children. Urban areas of the country have the highest infection rates at up to 19 percent. Changes in seroprevalence patterns, however, indicate that, by 2010, rural areas may account for twice the number of new infections as in urban areas. A recent rise in injecting drug use is also expected to contribute to increased infection rates.
ICAP in Tanzania
ICAP works with the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare since 2004 to build broad capacity for HIV/AIDS services at the national and local levels. Supporting sites in Kagera, Kigoma, and Pwani Regions, as well as in Zanzibar, ICAP provides a range of technical and financial support, including: infrastructure development, renovations of clinics and laboratories, and provision of equipment and supplies clinical training and supportive supervision of multidisciplinary teams assistance with laboratory, pharmacy, and medical records systems and the establishment of services and programs to enhance patient enrollment, follow-up, and adherence.
ICAP activities in Tanzania are comprehensive and designed to build sustainable programs. They include:
- Supporting comprehensive HIV/AIDS services for children and adults, including counseling and and testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, ART, and prophylaxis for opportunistic infections, and adherence support systems
- Strengthening human resource capacity, including training and mentoring of health care workers, and assisting districts in developing HIV/AIDS programs
- Developing specialty services, including early infant HIV diagnosis capability, management of HIV-related malignancies, and palliative care services for HIV-positive people
- Designing supportive services, including computerization of patient records