In May 2006, a group of technical officials from the Ministry of Health and regulatory agency met in Tanzania's capitol city in a closed-door session to discuss potential additions to the country’s essential drug list.
The essential drug list is comprised of medicines considered so important to the population that they are given a special status.
The topic of generic-drug misoprostol was raised, and the group began to discuss. One participant raised a piece of paper with a description of the progress being made in neighboring country Ethiopia. The paper was an email announcement sent by our organization, Venture Strategies.
“Ethiopia has added this drug to their list. Women are dying in Ethiopia of this condition, and they are dying here in Tanzania. We need this drug.”
That day, the group decided to add misoprostol to their national drug list for the purpose of controlling postpartum hemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal death. Adding it to the list for this purpose has a secondary benefit – it authorizes health providers to use the drug for this important off-label purpose. This first step helps significantly to clear the way for making misoprostol widely available.
We are proud of the Tanzanians for taking this bold historic step and are pleased to be able to support them at this critical time for the country’s mothers.
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Technical Advisor, Communications and Development