For the first time, a group of 40 nursing and midwifery students from private medical training institutes in the Dar es Salaam area received practical clinical experience at private medical facilities thanks to a pilot designed by SHOPS Plus.
The pilot, which ran from June to September 2018, was part of a SHOPS Plus and Association of Private Health Colleges initiative designed to strengthen human resources for health in Tanzania.
In the pilot, students rotated to learning sites at health facilities affiliated with the Private Nurses and Midwives Association, the Christian Social Services Commission, Masanna Hospital, and Hubert Kairuki Hospital, where they will learn about integrated HIV care, family planning, antenatal care, and primary health care. The aim is to improve the technical skills of nurses and midwives in the private sector.
Written examinations taken by students before and after the pilot showed a 9 percent increase in knowledge regarding HIV services, and a 22 percent increase in knowledge of family planning, maternal and child health, and HIV services.
One of the greatest challenges to improving the delivery of essential health services in Tanzania, including services for malaria, family planning, and HIV/AIDS, is the shortage of trained health workers. Historically, students studying at private medical training institutes have had to rely on securing practicum opportunities within public health facilities, but these are limited and costly.
The pilot will help inform future training programs developed by the Directorate of Nursing Services in Tanzania, specifically involving private-to-private practicum rotation as a means to improve the quality of HIV service delivery by private providers through improved and critical hands-on experience.
In addition to the pilot, SHOPS Plus also contributed to new national guidelines and training curricula developed by the Ministry of Health’s Director of Nursing. These new guidelines are part of a national initiative to improve hands on practical experience for nursing and midwifery students.