Launched in 2004 and implemented at a national level since 2006, it targets pregnant women and infants by giving a voucher to pregnant women at their first antenatal visit. The women can use the voucher as partial payment toward the purchase of a net. The voucher is worth the equivalent of $2.50 redeemable for a bednet (which is sold for between $3 and $10, depending upon quality and size). The Tanzanian voucher system represents one of the commitments made by the country’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to reduce the burden of malaria.
The Ministry of Health worked with the producers and distributors of nets in Tanzania to establish a program whereby retailers could accept the voucher in return for a share of the price, remit the vouchers to a wholesaler in return for additional nets to sell. The wholesalers are then reimbursed by the TNVS for each voucher.
A social marketing program complements the TNVS, disseminating knowledge about malaria and creating demand for bednets. To date, almost 1 million vouchers have been redeemed for nets, protecting an additional 1 million women and their children. More than 80 percent of women who receive a voucher use it to purchase a net.
As a result of the program, clinics have experienced increased attendance, with many women attending earlier in their pregnancies than was the case prior to the introduction of the scheme. Although pregnant women were specifically targeted, access to nets has improved for all.
The program is implemented through a partnership of MEDA, World Vision, and Population Services International, and operates in all 21 regions of mainland Tanzania. The TNVS also receives support from the Global Fund to Fight Tuberculosis, AIDS and Malaria.