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PARLIAMENTARIANS URGES THE GOVERNMENT TO TACKLE CHALLENGES OF HUMAN RESOURCE FOR HEALTH AND MATERNAL HEALTH

In the spirit of combatting the crisis of Human Resource for Health within the country, the Parliamentary Committee of Social Service and Community Development met once again with the Mkapa Foundation on behalf of the HRH Alliance, to discuss the feedback of the study tour conducted in June 2016 by members of the committee as well as to identify major issues to advocate on Health workers in context of improving maternal health status.

This meeting was held on 10th May 2016 in Dodoma was in the midst of presentation of the annual budget for the financial year 2016/2017 of the Ministry Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children (MoHCDGEC) to the Parliamentary. During the discussions the major challenges noted during the study tour included the severe shortage of health workers in remote health facilities and non- utilization of the obstetric theaters that were constructed with the Mkapa Foundation and handed over to the Local Government authorities.

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Members of the Parliamentary Social Service and Community Development Committee in a meeting with BMF and HRH alliance members held on 10th May 2016 in Dodoma

As she delivered her opening remarks,Dr. Ellen Mkondya-Senkoro, CEO of BMF told the Members of Parliaments that she understands the effort undertaken by the Government of Tanzania in addressing the challenges of Human Resource in the health sector through the different national strategies which includes the National HRH Production plan which aims to have an increase of 130,099 health workers by 2024.  Nevertheless the need to enhance retention strategies for those health workers who are recruited and posted by the Central Government are pertinent to be addressed by the LGAs.

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Hon. Peter Serukamba, The Chairman of the Parliamentary Social Service and Community Development Committee discussing with Dr. Ellen Mkondya-Senkoro, CEO of BMF at the meeting in Dodoma.

She continues stating that every year 8500 women die due to pregnancy related conditions and majority of these death occurs in rural areas as compared to urban areas. In addressing this challenge, the Government had set a national target of having at least 50% of health centres provide Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care by 2015. She further said, “In a complementary effort, our Foundation constructed and equipped 8 obstetric theaters as well as trained health workers on carrying ceaserean sections in Rukwa, Shinyanga and Kagera regions. However still it is disheartening to note that out of the 8 obstetric theaters, only 3 are functioning and remaining 5 are not operating for more than one year and these are located in health centres of Milepa, Ngorotwa and Kala health centers located in Rukwa region handed over in June 2014 and Binambiyu health center located in Shinyanga Region and Nyakanazi health center which were handed over in December 2015”. She thus urged the Member of the Parliaments to pursue the Government in setting an adequate budget for 2016/17, to ensure the LGA can accommodate the remaining amenities such as water and electricity to the theatres, as well as recruitment of adequate health workers in those respective regions.

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From right: Rahel Sheiza, Director of Programmes – BMF, and other representatives present during the meeting attentively following up the discussion

The Parliamentarians highlighted the observations noted when they carried the study tour in regions of Rukwa, Katavi and Shinyanga regions in March 2016. “In our visit we observed the severe scarcity of health workers in the rural health settings as such non-skilled workers were delivering pregnant women and prescribing medicines” said Hon. Mwalimu Kasuku Bilago, Member of the Committee.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Social Service Committee Hon. Peter Serukamba said that, it is aware of the crisis of Human Resource for Health as there are number of dispensaries constructed in the villages and are not operating. The Committee have urged the Government to allocate adequate budget for the financial year 2016/17 for the Ministry Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children (MoHCDGEC) and President’s Office Regional Authority and Local Government to tackle the challenges by increasing the number of students studying health allied courses and increase new recruitment of health workers mainly in medical doctors, clinical officers, nurses and laboratory technician cadres.

 “We strongly urge the Government to release recruitment permit for hiring various health cadres that graduated in 2015/16 and are still within the labour market for almost a year now. We understand these health workers are in high demand to support the stretched public health facilities, including the obstetric theaters constructed by BMF. I further urge the fellow Members of the Parliament in the respective regions to collaborate with their district councils in innovatively addressing the health bottlenecks within their respective areas”; said Hon. Peter Serukamba.

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