Nursing and midwifery students in Tanzania will soon get an opportunity to practice clinical skills as part of a new national initiative designed to augment human resources and meet HIV goals.
Nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals such as community health workers are the backbone of any health system and national HIV response. In Tanzania, recent task-sharing efforts and expansions of the scope of practice for nurses and midwives are increasingly solidifying the role of these cadres in helping to reach the 90-90-90 targets and sustained HIV epidemic control. Given the current shortage of trained health professionals in the country, it is critical that new graduate nurses, midwives, and community health workers are adequately prepared for their critical roles in the health system.
Supporting Strong Coalitions
SHOPS Plus continues to support the efforts of the Ministry of Health’s Director of Nursing Services and a broad coalition of public and private stakeholders to develop improved national guidelines and training curricula for Tanzania’s nursing and midwifery educators and clinical instructors. The first cohort of national trainers for this effort will be mobilized in January 2018.
Improving hands-on training opportunities
SHOPS Plus is preparing to kick-off the first demonstration pilot of these new guidelines for nursing clinical instruction, specifically the placement of 50 certificate and diploma level nursing and midwifery students from three private medical institutes in the Dar es Salaam area. The students will rotate to learning sites at health facilities operated by members of the private coalition such as the Private Nurses and Midwives Association, the Christian Social Services Commission, and CCBRT—an organization that focuses on healthcare for people with disabilities—where they will learn about integrated HIV, family planning, antenatal care, and primary health care. By exposing these students to a broad range of hands on learning opportunities SHOPS Plus and its partners are preparing these cadres for an ongoing role managing the HIV and AIDS epidemic as part of integrated community level care.
Understanding patient health seeking behavior
As part of crafting responsive private sector HIV responses, SHOPS Plus build on a study that looked at the continuum of care. It found that antiretroviral therapy (ART) patients surveyed were most likely to switch between private and public health sectors when making decisions about where to receive HIV testing, initial HIV care, and ART initiation. Treatment pathways stabilized after ART initiation, but many respondents switched to a different sector for treatment of opportunistic infections. The study served as the basis for further investigation into patient health-seeking behaviors. The project will use insights from this study to bring the full potential of the private sector to combat the HIV epidemic in Tanzania.