The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme (NTLP) was launched by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in 1977 as a single combined Programme for the two diseases. In the fight of these two chronic epidemic diseases the Ministry has joined hands with various international and local developmental partners.
Among international development partners include; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Global Fund, German TB and Leprosy Relief Association (GLRA) and World Health Organization (WHO) who are main financers of various Programme activities through different grants countrywide.
Smooth implementation can’t be unconnected with other key stakeholders and active partners/collaborators in various program interventions include implementing partners such as Netherlands Tuberculosis Foundation (KNCV)-Challenge TB, local research institutions, academia, private sector organizations as well as community based Civil Society Organizations (CSSOs).
NTLP is charged with preventing and controlling TB and leprosy in Tanzania to the point that they are no longer major public health concern. Structurally NTLP is within the Unit of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Department of Preventive Services (DPS) of the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOHCDGEC). The Programme entails Tuberculosis and Leprosy Central Unit (TLCU) a team of forty-five (45) people situated in the MOHCDGEC co-ordinates all activities pertaining to TB, TB-HIV, and leprosy control in the country.
Similarly, the Central TB Reference Laboratory (CTRL) is part of the central unit. At sub-national level, there are thirty (30) Regional TB and Leprosy Coordinators (RTLC) and two hundred and two (202) District TB and Leprosy Coordinators (DTLC). There are also one hundred and twenty-one (121) District TB/HIV Officers at district level, integrated into district teams while being supported by partners.
In Tanzania, TB control is fully integrated into the primary health care services. Currently there are total of 7992 health facilities of which 3,911 (49%) provide TB treatment services while 1199 (15%) provide TB diagnostic services.68 health facilities have GeneXpert machine installed with a plan to install 110 more machines by the end of 2017.
Coordinated efforts and prioritized investments to end TB in the country started to yield success in some areas of intervention however health records still inform that communicable diseases are still the major cause of morbidity and mortality in the country driven by HIV epidemic with national prevalence of 5.3%1 in the population aged 15-49 years.
TB has continued among other infectious diseases to be the top ten causes of death and among admission aged five years and above in the country whence suggesting a paramount urgency for intensifying efforts to realize the national and international set targets.