DAR ES SALAAM: The government has launched a robust integrated Community Health Workers (CHWs) programme by recruiting a total of 137,294 workers in all 26 regions of Mainland Tanzania.
This was revealed on Wednesday by Vice-President Dr Philip Mpango during the launch of the program and the Community Health roadmap, which are aimed to speed up access to better health services for all, especially at primary health facilities.
“We want to recruit and train 137,294 community health workers, and we will carry out this strategy throughout Tanzania’s 26 regions,” he said.
Additionally, he stated that the program will be implemented over five years. In the first year (2023/2024), a total of 28,000 workers will be employed.
In the following four years (2024/2025 to 2027/2028), an average of 27,324 persons will be employed annually.
According to the Vice President, candidates for the jobs will be chosen at the hamlet level in their villages and streets in urban areas. The candidates must be locals.
The VP noted that the program will be implemented in all 64,384 hamlets and all 4,263 streets in mainland Tanzania. Each hamlet and street will have two workers (a man and a woman).
“This is a fantastic opportunity, so I would like to encourage all eligible residents to seize the opportunity in order to find jobs and provide community services,” he stressed.
In line with that, Dr Mpango has directed the Ministry of Health, the President’s Office, Regional Administration Local Government (PO-RALG), and other relevant authorities to ensure effective management of the program to achieve its intended goals.
The VP said that it was necessary to establish a well-functioning system for coordinating the program’s activities and guarantee that implementation details, such as digital models, are accessible.
He urged the CHWs who will be tasked with carrying out that responsibility to prioritise professionalism and devotion. They should also offer the community advice on how to embrace the program and recognise the value of the services provided by health workers.
He said it was imperative to provide them with enough cooperation to safeguard and enhance health within the community.
The VP said that in order to promote health and prevent illnesses like cholera and malaria that result from environmental pollution, the program implementation should highly consider the need for proper nutrition and environmental sanitation.
Similarly, he urged the international community, development stakeholders, and other interested parties to support the government’s endeavours to effectively implement the program.
Furthermore, to locate qualified individuals who will effectively perform the duties, the Vice-President has directed all relevant authorities at all levels to ensure that the process of selecting community health workers is carried out in accordance with established standards and guidelines.
Additionally, he has urged individuals who will be tasked with carrying out the plan to abstain from any acts of nepotism, corruption, or disregard for protocol.
Dr Mpango stated that the government has budgeted a total of 899.473bn/- over five years to carry out the initiative, of which 99.678bn/- will be spent in the first year of execution.
For her part, Minister for Health Ms. Ummy Mwalimu said the program’s objective is to lower the number of patients in medical facilities by enhancing preventative care and boosting the effectiveness and productivity of healthcare delivery to fulfill the vision of Universal Health Care.
She added that the program will assist in addressing the lack of health facilities, particularly in rural areas.
Furthermore, she stated that community health professionals have been able to detect a number of ailments that the community faces, including dysentery, Marburg disease, and tuberculosis, thanks to the initiative.
Community health workers (CHWs) are healthcare providers who live in the community they serve and receive lower levels of formal education and training than professional healthcare workers such as nurses and doctors.
This human resource group has enormous potential to extend healthcare services to vulnerable populations, such as communities living in remote areas and historically marginalised people, to meet unmet health needs in a culturally appropriate manner, improve access to services, address inequities in health status, and improve health system performance and efficiency.