• iDSI has been supporting the institutional capacity building of health technology assessment (HTA) systems in Tanzania since 2015. We have assisted the Government of Tanzania to establish and develop the Tanzanian Health Technology Assessment Committee, and have contributed to a review of the National Essential Medicines List, ensuring that it focuses on the most cost-effective treatments.

Our Impact

iDSI has:

Supported establishment of the Tanzanian Health Technology Assessment Committee

Assisted the revision of the National Essential Medicines List, focusing it on more cost-effective interventions

Assisting the review of the National Essential Medicines List

In 2015, iDSI partner HITAP together with PATH organised a two-day workshop in Dar es Salaam to explore areas where HTA could be introduced to support health resource allocation. A key area identified was supporting the forthcoming review of the National Essential Medicines List (NEMLIT), which was comprehensive but included drugs such as bevacizumab for cancer treatment – despite a lack of evidence demonstrating this drug to be cost-effective in low- and middle-income country settings – as well as drugs that were not on the WHO Essential Medicines List.

iDSI support provided via Priority Cost Effective Lessons for Systems Strengthening South Africa (PRICELESS SA) included capacity building workshops and continuous technical support, to ensure that the NEMLIT revision effectively addressed cost-effectiveness considerations. A standard operating procedure for the review was developed, which included explicit mention of the need to consider cost-effectiveness.


iDSI reviewed the draft of NEMLIT chapters; to ensure that they included the most cost-effective treatments. The fifth edition of the NEMLIT was launched in January 2018 by Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu. The new essential medicines list is now more prioritised than before, decreasing from approximately 500 medicines to 400 medicines, thus facilitating rational medicine use in Tanzania.

The project also provided an opportunity for iDSI to support the establishment of the Tanzanian HTA Committee, which has been institutionalised officially within the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children and which will continue to provide HTA assistance to policy maker in Tanzania in future.

Key reads

HITAP mission report

Introducing health technology assessment in Tanzania | International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care | Cambridge Core   Surgey, G., Chalkidou, K., Reuben, W., Suleman, F., Miot, J., & Hofman, K. (2020). Introducing health technology assessment in Tanzania. 36(2), 80-86. doi:10.1017/S0266462319000588