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Strengthening Tanzania’s Private Sector Healthcare Workforce

photo credit: DDC/Sama Jahanpour

As one of the poorest countries in Africa, Tanzania faces significant health challenges:

  • More than 20 percent of married women have an unmet need for family planning.
  • Each year, there are an estimated 54,000 new HIV infections and 36,000 AIDS-related deaths.
  • Malaria causes an estimated 60,000-80,000 deaths annually.

To meet the need for better health care, the Abt-led, USAID-funded SHOPS Plus project is working with the Ministry of Health and the private sector to develop Tanzania’s health care workforce. SHOPS Plus contributed to new national guidelines and training curricula developed by the Ministry of Health’s Directorate of Nursing Services. These guidelines are part of a national initiative to improve hands-on practical experience for nursing and midwifery students.

See how the Abt-led SHOPS Plus project is providing practical clinical training for nursing and midwifery students in Tanzania:

First-Hand Experience for First-Class Healthcare
In the private sector, nursing instructors noticed that students struggled with the gap between classroom training and providing care to patients. Approximately 60 percent of health staff receives training from private medical training institutes, yet few receive standardized practical training that gives them hands-on experience. So the SHOPS team designed a private-to-private practicum model to ensure students received clinical skills in family planning, HIV and malaria, which will improve outcomes for students and patients.   

From June to September 2018, Abt led a program for a group of 50 nursing and midwifery students from private medical training institutes in Dar es Salaam to gain practical clinical experience at private medical facilities.

In this pilot program, students rotated among health facilities affiliated with the Private Nurses and Midwives Association, the Christian Social Services Commission, Massana Hospital, Hindu Mandal Hospital and Hubert Kairuki Hospital. They learned about family planning, integrated HIV care, antenatal care and primary health care. Students observed—and assisted—clinical practitioners.

“When I started the rotation, I was not able to use a needle or to welcome patients,” said nursing student Loveness Lyimo. “The things I have learned have helped me to be brave and to provide any service related to nursing.”

Investing in Training = Investment in the Future
The pilot will help inform future training programs from Tanzania’s Directorate of Nursing Services. It will include private-to-private practicum rotations, which will enhance the quality of HIV services from private providers by offering critical hands-on experience. Since the pilot’s completion, 10 additional facilities have adopted the training program.

“Improvement of quality is everybody’s business,” says James White, Abt’s HIV/AIDS and Clinical Advisor for SHOPS Plus. “By investing in training, we’re addressing real health challenges while building sustainability as we integrate individuals with the public and private health sectors.”

Learn more about SHOPS Plus.

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