NEWS - Tanzania: Bringing Community Health Workers to the most isolated and under-served areas of Tanzania.

THET is pleased to announce the launch of a new partnership with the Benjamin W. Mkapa Foundation (BMF). The partnership will implement a 3-year project, which aims to support the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDGEC) to roll out a new formal cadre of Community Health Workers.

Funded by Comic Relief, the project will support the Ministry in the development of policies to implement community based health programmes as well as to build the capacity of zonal, regional and district levels to recruit, train and retain Community Health Workers.

Mr. Godwin Kabalika, Country Manager of THET’s office in Tanzania said: ‘The country is facing some serious challenges to the health of its population, including significant shortages of skilled health workers. We believe that bringing new human resources to the most isolated and under-served areas will help us tackle a number of health issues which are highly prevalent in the targeted areas, such as maternal mortality and HIV.’

The Mkapa Foundation and THET will be working closely with the MOHCDGEC, as well as other institutions working in the Lake Zone, such as the President’s Office Regional Authority and Local Government, Zonal Health Resource Centre, Regional Health Management Teams and Council Health Management Teams. Specific work programmes will be developed with six Health Training Institutions, four Teaching Hospitals and one Zonal Resource Centre within the under-served regions of Mwanza, Geita, Simiyu, Mara, Kagera, Kigoma and Shinyanga.

Dr. Ellen Mkondya-Senkoro, CEO of the Mkapa Foundation, said: ‘It is an ambitious programme. In three years, we expect to observe the targeted institutions delivering competent trainings to Community Health Workers, hence enable them to provide health services relevant to their community. With the support of the Ministry at regional and council level, we anticipate an increased utilization of community health service in the Lake Zone.’

THET and the MKAPA Foundation call upon all the actors who are involved in the health sector, and particularly in the area of human resources to join hands with the government, increase coordination especially those embarking on similar projects, and most importantly for the Local Government Authorities to set aside budget for community based health activities including salaries for the community health workers in order to make the programme sustainable.