I interned for the Yale Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI) in my hometown of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. GHLI was authorized with the task of documenting the effectiveness of public-private partnerships in healthcare using the partnership between the Coca-Cola Company and the Medical Stores Department (MSD) in Tanzania. MSD is the sole provider and distributor of essential medicines and medical equipment to public facilities in the country.
Very recently, the President of Tanzania asked the MSD to change its delivery system from distributing to district offices and move to directly distributing to individual health facilities. This is in an effort to increase transparency in the delivery mechanism and, as a result, make drugs more accessible in hard to reach areas.During my time in Tanzania, I was able to gain an understanding of how to conduct qualitative research. On a more personal level, because I am Tanzanian, I was struck by the supply chain challenges faced by the MSD in providing medicines to the most rural parts of the country. I was fortunate to be able to travel to some parts of Tanzania that I had never before visited and to witness the challenges facing government-owned facilities.
My internship has enhanced my interest in healthcare management because I saw need for sound business strategies in the execution of certain interventions. Coming back from the summer, I feel extremely knowledgeable about the pharmaceutical industry in Tanzania and the logistics of drug distribution. I hope to keep working with GHLI on this project and to conduct more independent research about how centralized drug distribution systems work in other similar developing countries.