Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

26 April 2014

Tanzania: Community Health Workers Boost Maternal Services

EVIDENCE shows that Maternal and Newborn Child Health Community Workers (MNCHCW) in the country are playing key roles in bridging the gap of improving maternal services.

In a presentation at the evaluation of integrated maternal and newborn health care programme in Morogoro Region, Tunajali Technical Director, Mr Protas Ndayanga said that in the five regions they operate, between July, last year and March, this year, they helped track 20,000 HIV/AIDS patients.

"Of these, 5,500 had not shown up for their appointments and the community health workers tracked them down and recorded their progress.

The biggest challenge they face is when the patients don't provide the correct addresses," he explained. Results from the third year of the Morogoro Evaluation Project indicate that 99 per cent of all CHWs are happy working and that 90 per cent felt their work to be valued by both the health facility workers and the community.

High levels of satisfaction was reported for the availability of job aids (90 per cent) and registers (91 per cent); level and quality of training received (90 per cent) and quality of their own work (88 per cent).

"Almost all (93 per cent) were unsatisfied with the availability of transport used for care provision and for travel to the health facility and 80 per cent of CHWs were dissatisfied with financial incentives provided," the interim report read in part.

During the opening of the two day dissemination workshop of the report, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Director of Preventive Services, Dr Neema Rusibamayila, said that the findings of the evaluation would allow key adjustments for optimal performance of the project and inform the policy.

Dr Rusibamayila said that the workshop was a follow up of two workshops held in January 2012 and March 2013 which also aimed at sharing findings from the first and second year of the activities implemented by the project.

"The reports of these dissemination workshops showed that, there was critical information provided which was used to adjust programme strategies.

In addition, the workshops fostered closer collaboration among stakeholders," she said.

In her keynote speech, USAID Country Representative, Dr Raz Stevenson said that in this evaluation, the project activities aimed at assessing the role of CHWs and the CHW support systems in delivering an integrated package of interventions.

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