Integrating neglected tropical disease and immunization programs: The experiences of the Tanzanian Ministry of Health
Mwingira, U., Means, A. R., Chikawe, M., Kilembe, B., Lyimo, D., Crowley, K., ... Mphuru, A. (2016). Integrating neglected tropical disease and immunization programs: The experiences of the Tanzanian Ministry of Health. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 95(3), 505-507. DOI: 10.4269/ajtmh.15-0724
Global health practitioners are increasingly advocating for the integration of community-based health-care platforms as a strategy for increasing the coverage of programs, encouraging program efficiency, and promoting universal health-care goals. To leverage the strengths of compatible programs and avoid geographic and temporal duplications in efforts, the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare coordinated immunization and neglected tropical disease programs for the first time in 2014. Specifically, a measles and rubella supplementary vaccine campaign, mass drug administration (MDA) of ivermectin and albendazole, and Vitamin A were provisionally integrated into a shared community-based delivery platform. Over 21 million people were targeted by the integrated campaign, with the immunization program and MDA program reaching 97% and 93% of targeted individuals, respectively. The purpose of this short report is to share the Tanzanian experience of launching and managing this integrated campaign with key stakeholders.