Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Launches the National Health Work Force Volunteerism Guideline.

Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Launches the National Health Work Force Volunteerism Guideline

The Government of Tanzania has launched the National Health Workforce Volunteerism Guideline, meant to formalize, and standardize the health volunteer practices.

The new guideline comes as part of the strategy to curb shortage of skilled health personnel at health facilities in the country.

Speaking during the Annual Conference of Regional and District Medical Officers in Dodoma on 15th September 2021, the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr. Doroth Gwajima said the Government still faces a critical shortage of human resources in the health sector.

She said the shortage hinders provision of quality health care, saying the implementation of the guideline will lead to the improvement of access and provision of quality health services in areas that are highly underserved.

“Now that we have launched this guideline, we don’t expect facilities to be in a critical shortage of healthcare workers, while we have graduates outside there who can now be engaged easily through this guideline to reduce the gap of health care workers at the facility level.  They will also improve their professionalism through volunteerism,” said Dr. Gwajima.

The preparation of the guideline is a milestone process made after a long way consultative process between the Government of Tanzania and Development Partners, including the Benjamin Mkapa Foundation (BMF), which identified the gap of human resources in the health sector that hinders provision of quality care.

Speaking after the event, the Health Workforce Manager from the Benjamin Mkapa Foundation (BMF), Mr. Gaddy Chuwa said the Foundation is an implementing partner working in complimenting Government’s efforts to deploy health care workers in most underserved areas.

Gaddy said BMF supported the development of this guideline by providing technical support and identification of the gap.

“We are working with the Government as partners through various projects, to fill the gap by deploying temporary health workforce in areas that are highly underserved. This guideline will not only reduce the gap of health care workers but improve coordination of health volunteers to reduce confusion and improve productivity within the health workforce of Tanzania,” said Gaddy.

Earlier, commenting on the guideline, Regional Medical Officers (RMOs) representative, Dr. Japhet Simeo, commended the collaborative effort done by implementing partners to ensure the guideline is launched and that it will help to address the shortage of healthcare in their working places.

“I would like to thank all stakeholders who supported the development of this guideline and in particular, BMF for deploying 900 skilled health care workers even before the presence of this guideline.  We are confident that we will use this guideline to address the shortage of health care workers to our facilities,” said Dr. Simeo.

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Mkapa Foundation Launches a Program to Curb Shortage of Healthcare Professionals in Zanzibar amid Response Strategy to COVID 19.

Mkapa Foundation Launches a Program to Curb Shortage of Healthcare Professionals in Zanzibar amid Response Strategy to COVID 19.

The Benjamin William Mkapa through its USAID – Afya Endelevu Activity has launched an extension of its interventions by hiring and deploying 105 skilled health care workers in Zanzibar to strengthen capacity of emergency response services and build capacity of health care workers.

The FIVE-year USAID Activity was launched in Zanzibar on 6th October 2021 by Hon. Nassor Ahmed Mazrui, Minister of Health, Social Welfare, Elders, Gender and Children who also echoes for the islanders to voluntarily go for COVID-19 vaccination.

Minister Mazrui said the country needs at least 60 per cent of its nationals to vaccinate to convince investors and tourists that Zanzibar is a safe place to invest and visit. “If we really want investors and tourists for job creation, let’s vaccinate or else investors and tourists will be scared to visit,” he argued.

The minister thanked the 687m/- project funders and implementers—the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Benjamin Mkapa Foundation (BMF), respectively—for the support, which he said has come at an opportune time.

Under the support, 105 (Unguja 51 and Pemba 54) health workers have been hired on a nine-month contract to intensify the fight against the deadly corona virus. The new recruits will be deployed in the entry points, especially airports and seaports.

“But, we firmly believe that the new employees will as well help in addressing other health related challenges, which haunt the country,” Minister Mazrui said, admitting that the country still faces acute shortage of between 1,500 and 2,000 health workers.

The minister asked the project partners—USAID and BMF—to work closely with the revolutionary government in addressing a myriad of challenges in the health sector. He cited retention of health workforce as a serious problem in the country.

“We look forward for sustained close relationship in supervision of employees in the health sector; employment is one thing and productive and efficient performance is quite another,” said the minister.

BMF Chief Executive Officer Dr Ellen Mkondya-Senkoro said the newly recruited 105 employees have received training and deployed to 33 heath facilities and entry points to boost health service delivery, identification and referrals for COVID-19 patients as well as campaigning for COVID vaccination.

She said the project, which started in February 2020, has hired 1,063 health workers in various categories in 103 district and town councils’ 499 health centres in 16 regions of Tanzania mainland.

Increased voluntary testing for HIV/AIDS, adherence to the use of antiretroviral drugs and strengthened maternal and child health care are among the inspiring outcomes of the project, Dr Senkoro said, hinting that the government offered permanent jobs to 40 out of the 1,063 health workers in the project.

She as well asked the revolutionary government to incorporate the 105 new health workers into the government employment to sustain the services even after the expiry of the project.

USAID Health Office Director Ananthy Thambinayagam said the Zanzibar’s ministry of health and the US aid agency are embarking on a new partnership to allocate, build capacity of the health workforce and create awareness to respond to the country’s priority public health needs.

“A a robust and adequately equipped health workforce is essential for continued advancement and sustained provision of quality health care and emergency responses like COVID19,” she said, adding: “USAID

supports investments in the health workforce because strong and capable human resources for health save lives, especially now with COVID-19 pandemic.”A group of men wearing white lab coats and masks

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Permanent Secretary in the ministry Dr Fatma Mrisho reminded the new workers to work hard and diligently to bring changes, “We want outcome, there should be a visible difference between your presence and absence.”

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EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

Head of Unit of Mkapa Legacy Initiatives

The Benjamin William Mkapa Foundation (BMF) is a non- profit Trust, established in 2006 with the vision towards healthy lives and well-being for all, in Tanzania and the rest of Africa. Its strategic mission is to contribute towards the attainment of better health outcomes through innovative health and related system solutions.BMF’s vision and mission can be achieved through empowered workforce, which is self-motivated, committed to growth and integrity, and the one who seeks excellence in execution. BMF seeks for innovative, self-driven, dynamic and competent qualified candidates to fill the below vacancy: –

Position Title: Head of Unit of Mkapa Legacy Initiatives
Reports to: Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Department: CEO’s Office
Duty Station: Benjamin William Mkapa Foundation – Headquarters, Dar es salaam

Overall Purpose of the Job:

To build on opportunities to keep and strengthen the legacy of the founder of BMF, The Late His Excellency President Benjamin William Mkapa as a heritage to next generations of Tanzania and the World. This includes to formulate strategies to ensure upholding of Mkapa legacy in all areas of His Excellency Mkapa’s expertise which included journalism, diplomacy, national leader, peace broker on international scenes, constructive dialogue on leadership, environment, climate change, free and fair trade, and his investment in serving the undeserved with social services such as, health and education.

For more information please click here to download the advert.

MODE OF APPLICATION:
For all interested candidates send your achievement focused CV, copy of relevant academic certificates and cover letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Benjamin W. Mkapa Foundation, via email: hr@mkapafoundation.or.tz.
The deadline for application is on Wednesday, 20th October 2021 at 17.00hrs

BMF is an equal opportunity employer, and we value diversity. BMF is committed to the principles of safeguarding in workplace and will not tolerate any form of abuse, wherever it occurs or whoever is responsible. In the event of any abuse, you may report by submitting your complains via http://whistleblow.mkapafoundation.or.tz/

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The Late Benjamin William Mkapa – One Year Anniversary Commemorations in Lupaso

(Masasi, Mtwara Region)

On 24th June 2021, Mkapa Foundation joined other Tanzanians to commemorate the first anniversary since the death of H.E The Late Benjamin William Mkapa who was Tanzania’s 3rd President, Founder and Settlor of the Mkapa Foundation. 

The memorial service was held at his home in Lupaso village, Masasi District of Mtwara Region. The Mkapa Foundation team was led by Dr. Adeline Kimambo, Chair of Mkapa Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Others in attendance from the Foundation were Ms. Jane Malisa – Director of Finance and Grants, Mr. Obedi Mrita – Head of Operations Support Services Unit and Ms. Salma Yusuf – Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer. 

Mama Mkapa, wife of HE. The Late Benjamin Mkapa with Chair of the BoT and BMF management
Mama Mkapa, wife of HE. The Late Benjamin Mkapa with team from Mkapa Foundation at Lupaso during the commemoration service.

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Improved Health Facilities: Offering Peace of Mind for Babayu Community

(Dodoma Rural, Dodoma Region)
The newly renovated Babayu Dispensary now has more rooms for child deliveries.

Barely four years ago Babayu resident Asha Salum was completely restless when she thought of how best to give birth to her first child in this world.

Limited options were available when it came to choose a hospital that would ease her heavy duty ambition to safely deliver her first baby. Best of the least alternatives was to pack then collect some supplies, enough to sustain her for the next few days that she will be away from home.

“I had to travel all the way to Bahi where there were relatively better health services than here. By then it remained as the best option in an effort to accomplish this lifetime humanitarian mission. I knew I would have to be alone there with minimal support from my close family members but at least I was assured of safety particularly for my unborn baby,” Said Asha.

The new mother had to sacrifice all the traditional habits linked with giving birth such as getting frequent well-wishing visits from her family and close friends.

She had to endure all this because the situation at the Babayu dispensary wasn’t that reassuring. She also had to incur some additional cost that she wouldn’t have to had she given birth at the Babayu dispensary

“Four years ago health services and facilities here were pathetic when I had to deliver my first child. The dispensary had only four small rooms, one of them had to be used for both maternal and outpatients in a way lacking privacy. The labor room was so small that It couldn’t accommodate two women at a time. One had to sleep on the floor, as there was no waiting room. To make matters even worse there was no power at night that opened a huge risk if you were to deliver a baby at night. It was a concern that worried me to the extent of ‘migrating’ to Bahi where the facilities and services were much better than ours,” narrated Asha with a long face as she was reminiscing about the situation.

With funds from the Irish Aid the Mkapa Fellows Program Phase III came to restore hope to the people of Babayu who have never seen any renovation done to their dispensary ever since it was built in 1973.

“I was just a young boy when the late Mwl. Julius Kambarage Nyerere came here to open this facility. Now I am an old man as you can see and I am glad that I could witness allimportant improvements done to this facility. It was enough by then but as the population kept growing, the facility remained the same. It reached a point where the population outweighed facilities and services to render the community short of satisfaction”, recalled Mzee Kanyamala Hassan, the Babayu hamlet’s chairman while adoring the newly renovated buildings.

For more than 48 years the people of this village had to rely on this facility which failed to meet their satisfaction in terms of health services. To them the refurbishment, state of the art facilities and highly improved services doesn’t just bring them massive peace of mind but rather added hope for a successful future. Four months ago Asha gave birth to her second child whom she named Sameer, only this time she didn’t have to ‘migrate’ to Bahi and instead just spent a few minutes walking from her home to the newly renovated Babayu dispensary. This time she had it all, the well-wishing highly frequent visits by friends and family members, adequate support lined up with encouragement and above all, high quality maternal services. Not to mention the huge composure and alleviated cost.

She says “giving birth to my second child was short of stress. This time I didn’t have to go to Bahi because our dispensary is at its very best. There is sufficient room for women who are in labor and above all much more privacy now than before. It is a comfortable and conducive environment for us and I wasn’t worried at all this time.”

The project did not end at renovating the building alone, it went an extra mile and installed a rain-water harvesting system that now provides huge relief to patients as well as healthcare providers. Dr Joel Charles who is a facility in charge of the Babayu dispensary confirms how much the intervention has been useful.

“Dodoma Region has long spells of dry weather during a year culminating in scarcity of water. Before the renovation we would spend up to Tshs 3,000 per day on water. The new installed rainwater harvesting system has eased cost. We can harvest up to 20,000L of water during the rainy season, enough to sustain for some months. Now even those visiting patients are more assured of water availability than they were before.”

In addition to reserve water availability the project added ice on the cake for installation of solar power good enough to improve availability and reliability of services for 24 hours. These interventions apart from improving the situation at the facility they are also environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions.

“We are grateful for this renovation because now women from our village will not have to walk long distances anymore in search of better facilities and services… In the past it was not surprising to hear some of the women had given birth on their way to the health facility in the neighbouring district of Bahi. Now all the needed services are within reach at the top of our fingertips as we are looking forward to having even higher quality facilities in the future” commented Mzee Kanyamala, his cool face lighting up with joy and unique confidence.

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Empowering CHWs with Information Technology to Save Lives: A Digital Mobile App eases Healthcare Challenges in Chemba DC

(Chemba District, Dodoma Region)

Jesca Juma was already four months pregnant (her first pregnancy) and yet not booked for antenatal care (ANC) when she noticed an unusual situation for her pregnancy. She noticed fluid leaking from her private parts, worried she decided to call Burhani Ramadhan Omari a Community Health Worker (CHW) in Goima village in Chemba district, Dodoma.

“It was evening when I noticed that there was fluid leaking from my private parts. I was worried and the only thing that came to my mind was to call Burhani because he is known here for connecting sick people with health care workers at our dispensary. He is famous here and thanks God he arrived in time.”

Jesca delayed booking herself for (ANC) and already she had an early ruptured membrane caused by underlying conditions which mostly causes excessive bleeding, a life-threatening infection, or obstetric fistula. It is required that a pregnant woman start ANC services at least within 2 months to help Health providers detect any threat at an earlier stage and address them timely.

This kind of delay is most common in rural areas and is even worse in an environment with ineffective referral systems that link communities with health facilities for early emergency response. Goima village had a similar challenge where emergency pregnancy complications were dealt manually through filling of paper-based forms and letters, a process which prolonged arrival and preparedness of the health facility.

Thanks to the innovation of a quick and reliable mobile App that helps to facilitate emergencyresponse like this in Chemba District to save lives. Burhani is among 34 CHW linked with 18 health facilities in Chemba empowered by Mkapa Fellow Program Phase III project with mobile phones installed with a digital App termed as Community Health Assistance Information and Decision (CHAID) tool that helps to respond with healthcare challenges in community through the Irish Aid support. When he arrived at Jesca’s home, the assessment got his attention on what he believed could be a life threatening condition.

“The MFP III project gave us this mobile phone and in it they have installed an application which guides us to assess clients through tailored questions. When I was assessing Jesca, I noticed a danger sign through guided questions from the CHAID tool and it guided me to click a referral as she was in the danger category. I filled the form in the CHAID and pushed a button that alerted the Medical Officer Incharge at Goima Dispensary,” narrated Burhan.

Miles away, Dr. Samson Iman Makowe’s mobile phone squealed. On his screen was the referral message from Mr. Burhan, the CHW alerting on the condition of the client which needs immediate attention. Samson figured what to do. Immediately he alerted his team to get prepared.

“I was home that evening when Jesca arrived at the Dispensary, we were all set for an emergency task. Thanks, it wasn’t complicated, we handled it perfectly. She experienced premature rapture of membrane and it was an inevitable abortion, so we had to administer oxytocin to argument expulsion of conception materials,” said Dr. Simon Makowe

The CHAID tool system tackles the three delays that stand in the way of women and children accessing high-quality health care: delays in making the decision to seek care, reaching Care, and receiving proper care at a health facility.

Community Health Care workers like Burhan have been working closely to link the communities with health facilities by providing sensitization through education and follow ups while making timely referral decisions for any identified danger sign among women and children. To complement their work, MFP III innovation to introduce the CHAID tool has been instrumental not only for an emergency referral like this but also to collect and administer data including tracking of clients for easy follow up.

“This tool is very useful, and it has completely simplified Buruhani’s work. With the tool Buruani can directly refer the client for immediate care. It has also been very easy for me to make all the initial preparations even before the client arrives at the facility because there is an option of seeing the cause of referral. I can say with tools we have reduced the client management delay especially when it comes to management of pregnant women presenting with dangersigns and has significantly strengthened the community facility linkages.” said Dr. Makowe.

Thanks to the support from the Irish Aid and collaboration with the Ministry of Health Community development Gender and Children (MoHCDGEC) and the President’s Office Regional administration and Local Governmen (PORALG), to date the Benjamin Mkapa Foundation through its led project MFP III have been able to scale up this innovation to over 1000 CHWs in different regions across Tanzania. 

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