Raindrop in The Desert: Quenching The Chemba District’s Skilled Healthcare Workers’ Thirst

(Chemba District, Dodoma Region)

Just at the beginning of the second half 2019 he landed his one year contract with Mkapa Foundation under the Mkapa Fellows Program phase III. Dr. Joel Charles was then stationed at Babayu Dispensary by the Chemba Council’s Health Management Team led by the Councils Health Secretary, Ms. Aziza Hamisi.

Dr. Joel Charles, DMO, Babayu Dispensary, Chemba District

Ms Aziza says that the deployment of Dr. Joel and eight other Skilled Healthcare Workers by the MFP III to them felt like an awaited miracle that finally came into being. 

When the MFP III gave us nine new skilled healthcare workers, it felt like we just found a loose diamond in the sand” – recalled Ms. Aziza

But when Joel arrived at the Babayu Dispensary he found himself in a challenging situation. The dispensary was understaffed with just a medical attendant to help him and a working environment that was unfriendly. At this moment Joel imagined his future at this place was hanging by a loose thread. 

Lucky for him the people of Babayu were eager to get a Doctor for quite some time so they vowed to keep this one. The village health committee and other leaders together with the people of Babayu extended Joel all the support he needed to smoothen his work both at the Babayu dispensary as well as at their village. 

As if that was not enough Joel witnessed the renovation of Babayu dispensary, a facility that was built in 1973 and had since then never been renovated. It had only four small rooms, which weren’t enough to begin with let alone other challenges in the likes of reliable power and water supply. 

Dr. Joel was concluding a year in his contract with the Mkapa Foundation under the Mkapa Fellows Program phase III and settling in at the Babayu dispensary when the government announced vacancies.He applied and consequently was able to secure a place in the government payroll, then stationed at the same facility “Babayu Dispensary” that he previously worked under the MFP III project.

When the MFP III gave us nine new skilled healthcare workers, it felt like we just found a loose diamond in the sand.” she recalled.

But when Joel arrived at the Babayu Dispensary he found himself in a challenging situation. The dispensary was understaffed with just a medical attendant to help him and a working environment that was unfriendly. At this moment Joel imagined his future at this place was hanging by a loose thread. 

Lucky for him the people of Babayu were eager to get a Doctor for quite some time so they vowed to keep this one. The village health committee and other leaders together with the people of Babayu extended Joel all the support he needed to smoothen his work both at the Babayu dispensary as well as at their village. 

As if that was not enough Joel witnessed the renovation of Babayu dispensary, a facility that was built in 1973 and had since then never been renovated. It had only four small rooms, which weren’t enough to begin with let alone other challenges in the likes of reliable power and water supply. 

Dr. Joel was concluding a year in his contract with the Mkapa Foundation under the Mkapa Fellows Program phase III and settling in at the Babayu dispensary when the government announced vacancies.He applied and consequently was able to secure a place in the government payroll, then stationed at the same facility “Babayu Dispensary” that he previously worked under the MFP III project.

“When the government announced vacancies I applied and out of a large number of those who were interested, I was lucky to secure this post. Now I work here as a government employee at the same station that I was previously working under contract with the Mkapa Foundation, I am used to this community and happy to serve them,” he said.

Joel is one among the 18 skilled healthcare workers who were mainstreamed and retained into the government system out of the 96 Health workers who were deployed in various stations under the MFP III . 

The presence of Dr. Joel at the Babayu dispensary, where he is now the health facility in-charge, has changed a lot as contrasted to the past when there was scarcity of skilled healthcare providers. Dr. Joel received an addition to his staff, a nurse from the government who now works with a stunning hand-in-glove cooperation in serving the Babayu Community through meeting their health needs.

Having a reliable team of healthcare providers and an improved facility has resulted in an increased facility deliveries as compared to the past. Now the facility delivers up to 15 pregnant women per month, a 4-fold increase from the previous 4 deliveries.

“After the addition of staff a lot has changed. For example now we can have up to 15 deliveries per month as compared to 4 or 5 when we were understaffed with a smaller unrenovated facility. Most of the women opted for the Bahi district because the facilities and services there were better than here but now we have both the staff and top quality facility”

The presence of Joel and other 8 skilled health care workers who are deployed in Chemba DC contributed to the availability of top notch health services and now the community relishes quality services from the skilled healthcare providers who have been placed in the hard to reach understaffed facilities. 

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Mkapa Foundation
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