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From June 25th to 27th of June 2018, the Benjamin Mkapa Foundation conducted a community based health programmes (CBHP) awareness and advocacy workshop in Mwanza region. The 3 day meeting`s objective was to contribute to community leaders` involvement on ensuring access, coverage and quality of primary health care services at the community through Community Health Workers (CHWs). The meeting also aimed to advocate for the prioritization of CHWs in Council’s budgeting and planning as well as facilitate BMF make a presentation of the advocacy toolkit to the community leaders
Figure 1; Participants listening attentively to Facilitator from MoHCDGEC- Tumaini Haonga during Advocacy activity on CHWs in Mwanza Region.
The meeting involved all districts of the Mwanza region where by a total of 54 participants attended the meeting and among them, were Council Chairpersons, Ward councilors’ who are also vested with responsibilities on community health services and district technical personnel. Representatives from the Central Ministries namely the Ministry of Health and Presidents Office Regional Administration and Local Government , were also in attendance for the meeting.
The workshop was opened on the 25th of June 2018 by the Acting RMO of Mwanza, Dr. Silas Wambura. Speaking with the delegates, Dr Wambura emphasized the importance of community leaders being involved in ensuring the provision of quality health care at the community level. He requested members to have positive acceptance to this new cadre of CHWs so that they can help to deliver health services at the community level and ultimately promoting healthy behaviors and preventing diseases thus ensuring better health of the population.
Figure 2- Hindu Yahya- Ward Councillor (Community Services commitee member) from Misungwi with other district officials from Misungwi LGA developing action plan to intergrate CHWs on Councils’ planning.
The meeting was conducted as a series of presentations, focus group discussions and group work with the aim of getting the community leaders to highlight challenges of implementing CBHP through CHWs, as well as strategies to combat these challenges. Among other challenges, the community leaders doubted that the number of graduated formal CHWs at the respective councils/village may not meet the existing demand of CHWs per village, hence there may be need to recruit formal CHWs from other localities which is not in line with the National CBHP policy of Tanzania. Other modalities would be the need to have formal CHWs work with the existing Community Health Volunteers from the same localities.
Figure 3 District officials from Kwimba LGA developing their action plan toward improving CBHP through CHWs.
The meeting was closed on the 27th of June after a work session to discuss strategies to improve community health using Community Health workers. On the last day of the meeting, community leaders were also involved in the reviewing of the advocacy toolkit and had the opportunity to add their views on how the toolkits can be improved and distributed, not only to the community leaders, but the community in general.