Saturday, October 21, 2017

Govt vows to address nurses’ shortage countrywide

THE Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children Dr Faustine Ndungulile shakes hands with the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) representative, Mr Tommie Roberts during the launch of More and Better Midwives for Rural Tanzania project in Mwanza yesterday. Looking on is Misungwi District Commissioner, Juma Sweda (second left) and Jhpiego Country Director, Mr Jeremie Zoungrana (second right) and Registrar of Nursing and Midwifery Council Ms Lena Mfalila. (Photo courtesy of Jhpiego)

THE government has expressed commitment to reduce serious shortage of nurses and other personnel in the health sector, besides implementing an agenda on better health for all.

That was said by Deputy Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Faustine Ndugulile here on Wednesday, adding that the government would work in collaboration with various development stakeholders to ensure the gap that exists is filled with competent and skilled workforce.

The Minister’s remark comes as reports indicate that Tanzania has about 23,000 practising Nurses and Midwives registered with Nurses and Midwifery Council, while actual need is between 80,000 and 100,000 countrywide.

Dr Ndugulile cited some of the strategies to fill-in the gap as motivating more students in secondary schools to study Science subjects, and join Nursing institutions as well as calling upon the Local Governments to see into it that all graduate nurses are employed as soon as they complete their studies.

“We are quite aware of the shortage in this important sector and I take this opportunity to challenge all the District Councils to set aside funds and employ nurses as soon as they graduate from the colleges to reduce this gap,” he pointed out.

The minister made the speech while launching a proj ect dubbed “More and Better Midwives for Rural Tanzania (MBM-RTz), which is funded by the Canadian government through its Global Affairs Department, and implemented by Jhpiego in collaboration with AMREF Health Africa and Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM)/Tanzania Midwives Association (TAMA).

The five years project (2016-2020) at 10.4 million US Dollars (about 25bn/-) targets to ensure among other things that national priorities for maternal and newborn survival are reached, as well as addressing inadequate and inequitable distribution of nurses and midwives countrywide.

The ultimate goal of the project was to improve health and well-being of women and children in eight regions within the Lake and Western zones, and already in its two years of implementation, about 110 nurses have graduated at the Bukumbi Nursing College in Mwanza Region.

The regions were named as Mwanza, Kagera, Mara, Simiyu, Shinyanga, Kigoma, Tabora, and Geita. Dr Ndugulile said of late about 50 per cent of the mothers and children in the country are attended by skilled personnel, implying many others are still attended by unskilled staff adding that the situation should be addressed vigorously.

Presenting his remarks, the Jhpiego Country Director, Mr Jeremie Zoungrana commended the country’s efforts in ensuring improved maternal and child care, saying that should also be the focus of any development partner from the family level.