THE government has launched the National Health Workforce Volunteerism Guideline, meant to formalise and standardise the health volunteer practices.
The new guideline comes as part of the strategy to curb shortage of skilled health personnel at health facilities in the country.
Speaking during the Annual Conference of Regional and District Medical Officer here yesterday, the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Dr Doroth Gwajima said the government still faces a critical shortage of the human resources in health sector.
She said the shortage hinders provision of quality health care, saying the implementation of the guideline will lead to the improvement of access and provision of quality health services in areas that are highly underserved.
"Now that we have launched this guideline, we don't expect facilities to be in a critical shortage of healthcare workers, while we have graduates outside there who can now be engaged easily through this guideline to reduce the gap of health care workers at the facility level. They will be also improve their professionalism through volunteerism," said Dr Gwajima
The preparation of the guideline is a milestone process made after a long way consultative process between the government and development partners, including the Benjamin Mkapa Foundation (BMF), which identified the gap of human resources in health sector which hinders provision of quality care.
Speaking after the event, the Health Workforce Manager from the Benjamin Mkapa Foundation (BMF), Gaddy Chuwa said the foundation, as an implementing partner working in complimenting government's efforts to deploy health care workers in most underserved areas.
Gaddy said the BMF supported the development of this guideline by providing technical support and identification of the gap.
"We are working with the government as partners through various projects, to fill the gap by deploying temporary health workforce in areas that are highly underserved.
"This guideline will not only reduce the gap of health care workers but improve coordination of health volunteer to reduce confusion and improve productivity within the health workforce of Tanzania," said Gaddy.
Earlier, commenting on the guideline, Regional Medical Officers (RMOs) representative, Dr Japhet Simeo, commended the collaborative effort done by implementing partners to ensure the guideline is launched and that it will help to address the shortage of healthcare in their working places.
"I would like to thank all stakeholders who supported the development of this guideline and in particular the BMF for deploying 900 skilled health care workers even before the presence of this guideline. We are confident that we will use this guideline to address the shortage of health care workers to our facilities," Dr Simeo said.