In Tanzania, institutional efforts to combat HIV/AIDS started in 1985 by establishing a National Task force within the Ministry of Health. This was so because the HIV/AIDS epidemic was first perceived as a health problem and the initial control efforts were formulated and based within the health sector. Later on in 1988 this task force was transformed into a fully-fledged National AIDS Control Programme which was launched in April 1988. The programme is headed by a Programme Manager and initially had the following Technical Units:
- Management Unit (MGT)
- Epidemiology and Research (EP & RES)
- Laboratory Services (LAB)
- Clinical and STD Unit (STD Unit)
- Information Education and Communication. (IEC)
- Counselling and Social Support Unit (CSSU) - 1991
- Care and Treatment Unit - 2004
From 1989, AIDS Control efforts were decentralised to the regions and districts, and from 1992, control efforts started also to be initiated within non-health sectors. The non health sectors which joined the National AIDS Control Programme included Ministry of Defence and National Service, Education, Community Development, Women Affairs and Children, Labour and Youth Development, Agriculture, Information Services and Non-Government Organisations. By the year 2000 there were 23 other sectors that had joined the National Response to HIV/AIDS, and have developed AIDS action plans including all the districts in the country. During all this time the National AIDS Control Programme, remained the central coordinating unit as a Secretariat to the National AIDS Committee (NAC). In addition to Coordination, the NACP continued to serve as the main implementing agent for Ministry of Health as well as responding to needs of other non-health sectors.
Currently the NACP undertakes the following broad functions:
- Implementation of Health sector prevention and care interventions: These interventions include patient care, STD services, blood safety, public health education, voluntary counselling and testing.
- Coordination of internal and external partners (donors, NGOs, sectors.)
- Strategic Planning
- Resource Mobilisation
- Policy formulation.
- Monitoring and Evaluation including overall Programme Reviews
- Secretariat to National Committees
- Research Coordination
- Sharing and Dissemination of Information
- Technical Support to other Sectors
- Intervention development
- Distribution of commodities such as condoms. Health Learning Materials and Supplies.