Tanzania Faces Alarming Shortage of Health Workers

Inadequate Human Resources for Health (HRH) has been pronounced as one among key challenges that need to be addressed by the Government of Tanzania to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

This follows the revelation that despite the efforts by the Government and partners to address HRH challenges, the gap is still alarming at a national average of 52 percent particularly in rural settings and dispensary levels where shortage is estimated at 69 percent, according to the available statistics. The statistics further demonstrate that by 2018, the health sector was operating with estimated 99,684 health workers (47.6 percent) out of the required 209,603. However, investing in the education and employment of health workers has been part of national human capital strategies in Tanzania.

Health workers laughing during a learning session

The Government is working closely with its development partners on specific interventions to address some of the challenges including shortage of health workers,” said the Deputy Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr. Faustine Ndugulile during Health Symposium. That was organized by Benjamin Mkapa Foundation (BMF) and took place on October 1, 2019, in Dar es Salaam whereby health stakeholders discussed various issues related to health sector. The Deputy Minister further cited that the health sector also faces challenges such as changing patterns of diseases, increasing costs Out-of-Pocket expenditure in healthcare and fast-growing population due to low Family planning uptake and high fertility rate.

HE Benjamin William Mkapa, Hon. Faustine Dungulile, BMF Board of Trustees and other stakeholders during the health symposium in Dar es salaam

The Symposium was accompanied by the launch of BMF’s 5 years Strategic Business Plan (termed as SBPIII) extending from 2019-2024 which is in place to build upon the success of the previous two Strategic Plans since BMF’s inception in Tanzania. The new plan is estimated to cost approximately 156billion (equivalent to 68million USD). Delivering her speech during the launch of the Business Plan, BMF’s Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ellen Mkondya-Senkoro reiterated the BMF’s commitment and determination to apply strategic interventions to address programmatic dimensions which include the shortage and quality of HRH in health facilities in underserved communities.

BMF is expecting to contribute significantly towards stronger health systems that will steer the success of UHC and SDGs in Tanzania and beyond in the next 5 years,” added the CEO.

To remain credible and relevant, Dr. Ellen reiterated BMF’s commitment to reinforce production of rare and highly demanded health professionals from Training institutions to address the existing shortage of health professionals.

The aim is to have the required health workforce as per workload, at the same time to build the capacity of central to district management teams on effective Human Resource Management,” said Dr Ellen.

Moreover, the CEO reassured the Government that it will adopt technology in most of its work and embark on digital transformation to reach a larger public, improve productivity, efficient use of resources, and improve its programs and services to the beneficiaries.

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