Govt, private sector team up to address shortage of nurses

The Deputy Minister for Health, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Khamis Kigwangala
 The government is working with the private sector to address a massive shortage of nurses and midwives which now stand at 51 per cent.
Dr Khamis Kigwangala, the Deputy Minister for Health, Gender, Elderly and Children, announced yesterday in Dar es Salaam during the inauguration ceremony of the Salama House to support the Aga Khan University’s Health Programmes in East Africa.
The house, fully financed by the Federal Republic of Germany at a total cost of €1.2million, will provide a modern science lab and skills lab - essential for modern nursing pedagogy- increasing the number of enrollment from the current 43 to 60 students.
“We are looking to increase training of nurses and midwives at all levels both in rural and urban areas. There will also be special focus on developing community health workers and traditional birth attendants,” Dr Kigwangala said.
The deputy minister said the government will, during this financial year, hire over 10,000 health officials.
Dr Gerd Muller, the Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany, speaking at the ceremony, said his government was concerned with the level of community health especially in rural communities.
“We have to double training capacity of nurses and midwives... the programme should target rural areas,” he said. “We need access to health services for all people, not only those in urban areas.”
Dr Muller announced that his government in collaboration with their Tanzanian counterparts would work on modalities to initiate an exchange programme for nurses and midwives.
“There are competent nurses in Germany who don’t get places for practical training; we hope this is an area that we can all benefit from,” the minister stressed.
The minister noted the high rate of maternal mortality in the country, calling for strategic cooperation to reduce the menace.
Al-Karim Haji, the vice president - Finance and chief financial officer at the Aga Khan University announced that the institute had secured a €17million grant from Germany to improve nursing and midwifery in the East African Community (EAC).
He detailed that as of now at least 600 students from Tanzania and 2,100 from EAC have benefited from AKU training.
“We’re working to harmonise nurses and midwifery standards and training among EAC member states. We receive numerous support from all the benefiting members,” he said.
Dr Richard Sezibera, the outgoing EAC secretary general, told the gathering that the region was working on improving the sector and others.
According to him, health is critical for the function of the Common Market and harmonising the sector would eliminate the need for Yellow fever vaccination requirements for travelling in the region.
The secretary general said the region had also received €60million from the Federal Republic of Germany to strengthen the immunisation campaign in the East African Community.
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