Management Sciences for Health to Support African Countries in Tobacco Control

Work to Focus on Bold Policy Action and Disease Prevention Efforts in Africa

Arlington, VA—Management Sciences for Health (MSH), a leading global health NGO, announced today that it has received a four-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish and manage the Tobacco Policy Action Fund for Africa (the Fund), which will support African governments in putting tobacco control policies into action and, ultimately, saving lives.

Tobacco use—the most common cause of preventable deaths worldwide—is rising in Africa, especially among young girls and other vulnerable groups, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a growing threat to public health and an increasingly difficult challenge for health systems. Tobacco-related deaths are projected to double in Africa between 2002 and 2030.

“With NCDs beginning to replace infectious diseases as the most critical health challenges in many African countries, this program could not be more timely and vital,” said Marian W. Wentworth, MSH’s President and CEO. “MSH looks forward to bringing five decades of health systems experience to bear in helping our African partners prevent unnecessary illnesses and deaths.”

This Fund will support up to five African governments—which MSH will select through a competitive process—with results-based grants to help implement best practice tobacco control policies and peer-to-peer learning. Although strong national tobacco control laws have been passed by a number of African governments, policy implementation remains uneven. As the Fund Administrator, MSH will work with grantee governments to co-design approaches to catalyze and sustain implementation of those national policies and the establishment of national tobacco control funds.

MSH will leverage its expertise in capacity-building, policy implementation, performance-based financing, and grants management, among other critical actions, to support countries in their tobacco control efforts, which are crucial to achieving universal health coverage (UHC).

“MSH is committed to working with countries to achieve UHC, and tobacco control is one critical step,” said Amy Boldosser-Boesch, Senior Director of Health Policy, Advocacy, and Engagement at MSH. “Governments engaging with the Fund will be supported to build capacities that can help them address other emerging health challenges, from NCDs to climate change, that also require cross-sectoral problem solving.”

In addition to this new Fund, MSH receives support for a portfolio of UHC-related work from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, including management of the Joint Learning Network for UHC, development of accredited drug seller initiatives through public-private sector collaboration, and development of an adaptable tool for costing primary care services.

The Fund will be managed out of MSH’s office in Abuja, Nigeria, with technical support from MSH staff in the United States.