Creating a New Class of Pharmaceutical Services Provider for Underserved Areas: The Tanzania Accredited Drug Dispensing Outlet Experience
The Problem: In developing countries, the most accessible source of treatment for common conditions is often an informal drug shop, where drug sellers are untrained and operations are unmonitored.
Purpose: We sought to describe a public–private initiative in Tanzania that created a new class of provider in government-accredited drug outlets, which improved the quality of medicines and pharmaceutical services in previously underserved areas.
Key Points: The accredited drug-dispensing outlet program combines changing behavior and expectations of community members who use, own, regulate, and work in drug shops. Success resulted from including community stakeholders from the beginning of the process.
Conclusions: Addressing shortages in qualified health care providers by training and accrediting private sector drug dispensers to recognize common conditions and provide quality pharmaceutical products and services is feasible in a developing country, when supported by an appropriate policy and regulatory environment. Scaling up and sustaining the program will be a challenge.