World Bank Grants $2.2 Million toward Tanzania's National Health Laboratory Business Plan

 {Photo credit: TZ-ICB Library.}Business Planning for Health participants in Zanzibar, June 2013.Photo credit: TZ-ICB Library.

Resource mobilization has been a challenge for Tanzania’s National Health Laboratory (NHL).

At a February 2011 organizational capacity assessment workshop conducted by the Tanzania Institutional Capacity Building (TZ-ICB) Project, revenue generation was identified as one of the top ten components needing technical capacity support. In response, the TZ-ICB project delivered the Business Planning for Health (BPH) program, a process that enables organizations to systematically assess their existing services, management systems, and organizational practices; and to think creatively and realistically about ways to meet their clients’ needs. By the end of the program, participants have a complete draft of a business plan and skills for implementing it.

In June 2013, TZ-ICB conducted the first BPH training module in Zanzibar. Throughout the program, facilitators provided technical support to the team as they completed the different sections of their business plan. Five NHL staff completed the training in September 2014 with a complete business plan and marketing materials.

Marketing the business plan was a new skill, and a challenge for NHL. Towards the end of 2013, the NHL submitted the business plan to the World Bank. In January 2014, TZ-ICB was informed that the World Bank had granted $2,205,756 for the construction of the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) under the East Africa Public Health Laboratory Network Project. The new national laboratory is part of the World Bank’s East Africa Public Health Laboratory Networking Project, which aims to establish a network of cross-country, high-quality public health laboratories within Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda that will serve as surveillance sites to monitor hot spots for disease transmission.

The success of NHL’s business plan is an example of effective institutional capacity building, which resulted in diversification of a TZ-ICB’s partner’s resource base. The experience was also a motivation for TZ-ICB, and MSH at large, to continue efforts to scale up the BPH program for other health programs and partners.