Fiscal Year 2008 marked the fourth year of the T-MARC project, and the first full year of operations for the T-MARC Company Limited. The T-MARC project produced significant achievements in FY08 in its core program components – marketing, communication, partnership and cooperation – and its core health thematic areas, HIV/AIDS, family planning/reproductive health, child survival, infectious disease (malaria). Key achievements and results are outlined below.
The T-MARC project expanded and enhanced its two successful HIV/AIDS communication campaigns that address faithfulness/partner reduction and correct and consistent use of condoms, respectively. The T-MARC project’s Sikia Kengele: Tulia Na Wako initiative continued to use large mobilization events to influence communities with relatively high proportions of most-atrisk populations (MARPs) to “be faithful” (resulting in partner reduction) to avoid HIV infection. The companion Vaa Kondom generic condom initiative promotes the correct and consistent use of condoms amongst MARPs that work and live along key transport corridors communities. These complementary generic BCC initiatives are major contributors toward the enactment of USAID/PEPFAR’s “ABC” HIV prevention strategy in Tanzania. Through the Vaa Kondom and Sikia Kengele initiatives, the T-MARC project disbursed small grants to ten NGOs/ FBOs to undertake specific HIV prevention activities. T-MARC project initiated a grants process for sex workers and women engaged in transactional sex (WETS) by issuing a request for “expressions of interest” this year. A preliminary workshop was conducted to introduce the subject matter and share the outcome of a formative assessment conducted by the T-MARC project. Participants from 35 NGOs/FBOs attended the workshop.
The T-MARC project’s primary commercial partner, Shelys Pharmaceuticals, distributed 11 million Dume condoms this year. The Dume brand retained 24% market share according to retail measurement surveys. Shelys sold 800,000 units of the Lady Pepeta female condom brand during the reporting period, despite distribution and transshipment challenges. Through activities such as brand activations, barber shop activations, and barmaid and sex worker workshops, Lady Pepeta was promoted heavily this year particularly in eight regions of Tanzania where HIV is most prevalent.
Family Planning/ Reproductive Health
Flexi P, the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) distributed by Shelys and supported by the T-MARC project, continued to gain volume momentum and strengthen its market position. Shelys met its annual sales performance target for Flexi-P, achieving sales of 1,055,016 cycles for the reporting period, representing 12% growth over last year’s achievement.
The T-MARC project continued to support family planning communication initiatives in Tanzania. Following the success of last year’s “Mama Ushauri III” radio serial drama, with an airing of 26 episodes, the T-MARC project developed and launched “Mama Ushauri IV”. In the past fiscal year, the T-MARC project invited partners to contribute thematic health storylines to the radio drama series, which included prevention from mother to child transmission (EGPAF), prevention of malaria for pregnant women (JHPIEGO ACCESS), the use of zinc and ORS for childhood diarrhea (POUZN project), enhanced modern family planning methods (T-MARC project), and promoting vitamins A to Z (HKI). This radio serial drama supports the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare’s (MOHSW) goal to build health knowledge among the public. The T-MARC project created and aired 52 story lines in the past fiscal year.
Through collaborative discussions with the AED-managed Point of Use Water Disinfection and Zinc Treatment (POUZN) project and Shelys, the T-MARC project continued to support the sales and distribution of locally manufactured Lo-ORS (SAVE brand) and zinc treatment (PedZinc brand) products. These progressive efforts by the private sector to introduce zinc in Tanzania encouraged the MOHSW to fast track the revision of its national treatment guidelines to include zinc treatment. Efforts to enlist Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlets (ADDOs) as PedZinc model outlets were implemented in the fourth quarter. A total of 707,500 PedZinc and 3,049,989 SAVE sachets were sold this year. The Mama Ushauri radio drama series had 25 storylines that featured diarrheal disease and promoted the use of zinc therapy for treatment and Lo-ORS to prevent dehydration.
The T-MARC project, in collaboration with Steadman Research, conducted a mystery client and retail measurement survey to establish the knowledge, behavior, attitudes, and practices of drug sellers in duka la dawa baridi and ADDOs in Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Tanga, and Morogoro (ADDOs only). The outcome of the research was shared with USAID and the data will be used to develop behavioral change interventions that will seek to improve dispensing practices for over-the-counter drugs to treat malaria. In collaboration with Research International, T-MARC worked to include within the retail survey a measurement for determining the level of malaria treatment that is accessed through private drug sellers. Data was produced for four regions included Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Mbeya, and Arusha. The outcome of this study was shared during the monthly President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) partners meeting in collaboration with the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP).
Partnership and Cooperation
Partnerships are at the core of the T-MARC project’s “business model.” The T-MARC project continues to grow and strengthen partnerships and cooperation as outlined in the following narrative. New partnerships and cooperative relationships were developed this year between the T-MARC project and ten NGOs / FBOs under the small grants program managed by Africare that supports implementation of Sikia Kengele and Vaa Kondom activities. In addition, 35 NGOs/ FBOs participated in workshops on sex workers and women engaging in transactional sex.