Bakari, District Pharmacist in Tarime, Tanzania

Bakari, District Pharmacist in Tarime, Tanzania

IMA World Health/Staff

A lot has changed since 2006 when Bakari first started working in Tarime as the district pharmacist. He recalls how disorganized it was – the small storage area, and the inability to locate or account for drugs. Today Bakari boasts a newly renovated, spacious, fully equipped pharmacy with a computerized system to account for items, and an improved monthly documentation system from Tarime’s health facilities.

Bakari attributes these changes to mentorship, ongoing technical assistance and financial support from the LEAD Project — which supports HIV care and treatment, TB/HIV and Preventing of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services and is implemented with support from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) under the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR). IMA World Health is a partner in the project led by Catholic Relief Services.

In 2010, alongside LEAD staff, Bakari visited health facilities in different districts and regions of Tanzania, learning about commodity and pharmaceutical management systems. He returned to Tarime inspired to change the district pharmacy.

In collaboration with LEAD, he devised an action plan to renovate and fully equip the pharmacy. However, this wasn’t enough. “I didn’t want it to end with a nice building and furniture; that’s not what good pharmacy management is all about. You also need to have strong systems,” Bakari explained.

Understanding the importance of effective reporting to ensure timely and efficient delivery of drugs, Bakari focused on improving the reporting system for all drugs in the district. A comprehensive and integrated system decreases the amount of waste, particularly drugs which expired before usage. Having witnessed the usefulness of a computerized pharmacy system to monitor HIV/AIDS drugs, he has begun to computerize the entire district’s commodity management system. He will also be supported by LEAD to link the pharmacy system to the patient database at the Care and Treatment Clinic.

Bakari is optimistic that “the Tarime district pharmacy will become the model district pharmacy in the Lake Zone.”