On 30th January 2016, representatives from the HRH Alliance met with the newly appointed Parliamentary Social Services and Community Development Committee in Dodoma. The meeting aimed at presenting the Human Resource for Health Advocacy Strategy, introducing the Alliance, and share Alliance work plan for financial year 2016, as well as and the key Human Resources for Health ‘advocacy agenda’.
Speaking on behalf of the Alliance, the CEO of BMF, Dr. Ellen Mkondya-Senkoro said the intention of meeting the Committee was to request their support on improving Human Resource for Health (HRH) situation in Tanzania by enforcing the HRH agenda in respective bodies, with ultimate goal of ensuring availability and productivity of health workers.
Based on the fact that 74 percent of medical doctors are found in urban areas (Tanzania HR Profile, 2014), the Alliance requested the Parliamentarians to advocate towards national government to begin implementation of the National Public Pay and Incentive Policy of 2010 by first giving priority to the Health sector, as a way of motivating and retaining health workers, particularly in the rural and/or hard to reach settings of our country.
Additionally, the Alliance made a plea to the Committee to influence the government on hastening the finalization and implementation of Compulsory Attachment Policy, which intends to get medical doctors, clinicians and nurses work at least for two years in underserved areas before obtaining full registration. The policy, which is in awaiting to be presented to the Parliament, will also include framework for continuous professional development among health professionals.
On behalf of the Alliance, she called for Members of Parliament through the respective Committee to influence the responsible Ministries, especially the parent Health sector Ministry, to ensure effective production, recruitment, retention and planning for HRH availability and productivity in underserved areas. Other Ministries mentioned to play part in HRH improvement were the Ministry of Finance and Planning, President’s Office Regional Administration, Local Government, Civil Service and Good Governance and Ministry of Education.
Presenting to the Committee, Alliance member, Ms. Manka Kway said in thirty Local Government Authorities where the recruitment assessment was conducted by BMF, it has shown the enormous shortage of HRH especially in underserved areas in specific cadres such as Doctors, Clinical officers, Nurses and Health Laboratories, who are the direct players in health services provision. She noted that HRH shortage is among factors contributing to high Maternal, Newborn and Child deaths. “Almost 8,500 Tanzanian women die due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth and 100,000 Tanzanian children die before reaching their fifth birthday” she added. Moreover the Alliance told the Committee that it is necessary to increase budgetary allocation for the health sector in order to address the numerous HRH challenges and beyond.
Expressing his gratitude, Hon. Peter Serukamba, promised that the Committee is committed in seeing Tanzanians are well served with equitable and quality health services which includes having in place qualified and motivated health workers. He further pointed out that his Committee needs well researched information that will provide evidence and also support the Committee arguments to build a case for improved human resource for health.
Honorable Member of Parliaments on the other hand committed to seek clarifications from the government on the disparities in salaries between medical doctors and/or specialists that work in National, Regional and district hospitals despite having same qualifications/merits, years of experience and holding same positions. They further reiterated the need for the Government to promote a better package for rural placed doctors as a motivation and retention strategy.
Further Hon. Hussen Bashe (MP) requested the government to ensure it fulfills by 100% the proposed budget for the health sector in order to address multitude of health sector challenges.
On another note, Hon. Mussa Zungu (MP) advised the Mkapa Foundation that whilst carrying the noble work, it should continue addressing its own sustainability beyond the donors financing. The CEO of BMF assured the Committee that this is an aspect well envisioned by the Board of Trustees and Management, whereas diversification of source of funds to the Foundation are well considered in the 5 years Business Development Strategy ( 2013- 2018).
During the meeting, seven Members of Parliament from the Committee were nominated as Human Resource for Health CHAMPIONS and these are hon. Peter Serukamba (MP), Hon. Jasmine Tiisekwa (MP), Hon. Zito Zuberi Kabwe (MP), Dr. Raphael M. Chegeni (MP), Risala Said Kabongo (MP), Hon. Mussa Azzan Zungu (MP) and Hon. Faustine E. Ndugulile (MP). The seven champions will voice out collectively and make HRH within government top priority agenda.
For more information on the call for action on HRH please click here