The first cases of HIV were reported in Tanzania in 1983. In 2013, UNAIDS reported that 5.0% of the adult population aged 15-49 were living with HIV, down from 5.7% in 2010. The Tanzanian government has made a strong commitment and enacted policy and service delivery changes to improve healthcare for all Tanzanians, with an emphasis on HIV care and treatment. I-TECH provides technical assistance to the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in support of efforts to build a robust health system and skilled health workforce.
I-TECH began its work in Tanzania in 2006 at the request of the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As part of the approach to addressing the HIV epidemic in Tanzania, the MOHSW requested technical assistance from I-TECH to develop teaching materials and integrate HIV and tuberculosis /HIV coinfection (TB/HIV) components into curricula at pre-service training institutions. Since that time, I-TECH Tanzania has been collaborating with the MOHSW and CDC to build the necessary human resources and infrastructure for training health care workers through in-service workshops, pre-service programs, and distance education. I-TECH also provides systems-level technical assistance and supports site-level capacity building to strengthen HIV testing, care, and treatment. Through the scale-up of student enrollment at pre-service institutions, improvements in in-service training, and a focus on expanding distance learning activities, I-TECH has developed innovative approaches to increase the number of well-qualified health care workers in Tanzania. I-TECH is working to transition programs to the MOHSW, so they may be integrated as sustainable components of the national health care system.
I-TECH Tanzania collaborates with local partners to:
- Ensure high quality HIV and TB care, treatment, and support for Tanzanian citizens by training healthcare workers in prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) and provision of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and supporting service delivery sites in quality improvement through supportive supervision.
- Increase the capacity of regional and district health teams to roll out, supervise, monitor and evaluate HIV testing and counseling (HTC) services in the Morogoro region of Tanzania.
- Strengthen pre-service curricula of Clinical Assistants and Clinical Officers, standardize training materials, and increase HIV and TB/HIV resources available to pre-service training institutions.
- Strengthen distance education programs for health care workers, including integrating the use of mobile technology (tablets) and e-learning for the MoHSW’s Clinical Assistant to Clinical Officer upgrading program.
- Strengthen the capacity of the Zonal Health Resource Centres (ZHRC) Network, a hub for training activities governed by the MOHSW, to coordinate, support, monitor, and evaluate decentralized HIV and AIDS training for health care workers.
- Develop and implement strategies to strengthen the operational systems and informational resources of ZHRCs so they can continue to support the professional development of tutors (faculty) at pre-service training institutions.
- Support the MOHSW to increase the number of qualified health care workers to staff dispensaries, health centres, and care and treatment clinics.
- Support the MOHSW's Human Resources for Health Scale-up program in its effort to train critical cadres of health care workers, especially; enrolled nurses, clinical assistants, clinical officers, and laboratory technicians.
- Implement TrainSMART, a database system created by I-TECH to track health care worker training, and work to integrate TrainSMART with the national Human Resource Information System (HRIS).
- Integrate competency-based training on infection prevention and control (IPC), quality improvement (QI), voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), early infant male circumcision (EIMC), prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), family planning (FP) and gender-based violence (GBV) into new and existing pre-service training programs and teaching materials.
- Effectively transition all program activities to local ownership so as to ensure a strong and sustainable national health care system. Current efforts include building the capacity of one Zonal Health Resource Center to lead the process of competency-based curriculum development for pre-service health training.