The demand for healthcare workers in Tanzania is at an all-time high, especially for Nurses, Clinicians, Pharmacy and Laboratory Technicians, dental therapists and Health Assistants (at community level). The current vacancy rate is at 52 percent.
Tanzania’s health facilities require approximately 209,603 health workers while the actual available health workers stand at about 99,684. This shortage is compromising the ability of the health systems to effectively deliver the National Essential Health Care Intervention Package-Tanzania (NEHCIP) and other health services.
The human resource for health shortage is further exacerbated by an increased disease burden attributed to HIV, lifestyle-related diseases and expanded services in health facilities such as CEmoc e.tc
On the other hand, the Government is improving its support to the supply side, with additional funding for grants and student loans, expanding training facilities and providing good environment for private sector and faith-based organization to invest on Health training facilities country wide effort has led to a strategic mismatch on demand and supply side due to limited government capacity to absorb all trained HRH in the country in the last two decades (lbid).
The private sector in health care is not well established and hence it can only absorb a small number of graduates.
Health Volunteer Strategy
Health Sector Strategic Plan IV Mid Term Review revealed a number of issues concerning HRH that need immediate attention.
To address some of those challenges, On May 16th 2019 the MoHCDGEC and Health implementing partners, including CSOS, convened a meeting that spearheaded a new dialogue on HRH strategies and planning of a HRH Multi-sectoral High Level Meeting on November 15th 2019.
Among the key resolution in that meeting was to establish a mechanism/framework for health graduates to volunteer in facilities that have critical shortage of HRH.
The initiative aimed to partially address the HRH challenge at the same time providing an opportunity for short-term on the job training on lifelong skills for a career as a health professional.
National Health Volunteering Guidlines
The National Health Sector Guidelines formalize and standardize health volunteer practices in Tanzania. The Specific Objectives of these Guidelines are:
- To rationalize and harmonize pay and management of health volunteers across public health facilities.
- To set out the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in implementing the health volunteering program
- To provide hands on practical skills development for health workers available in the market
- To enhance the capacity of the public health facilities to attract, retain through the contract period and adequately motivate personnel with requisite skills.
- To reduce the service delivery burden caused by the existing critical shortage of health workers at all levels of service delivery
- To put in place accountability mechanism on management of health volunteers
- To promote performance and productivity of health volunteers engaged in health facilities.
- To enhance access and quality of services in facilities that have a critical shortage of health workers
- Ensure effective implementation through a rigorous monitoring and evaluation plan.
The National Health Sector Volunteering strategy is implemented at all levels of service delivery including Health Training Institutions. The levels include:
- Hamlet level (Community Level)
- Village level (Dispensary Level)
- Ward level (Health Center Level)
- District level (District Hospital Level)
- Regional level (Regional Referral Hospital Level)
- Zonal Referral Hospital and National level
- Health Training Institutions
Principles of Health Volunteering Strategy
The following principles govern Health Volunteering services in Tanzania
- Demand driven: The Health volunteers services operate on a demand driven basis. Health facilities/training institutions or programs should accommodate Health volunteers as per available vacancies or service demands. However, volunteers should be engaged as part of training where service gap is not available.
- Equity and non-discrimination: The program should be open to all Tanzanian health workers on the market irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity and disability
- Decent work environment: Health volunteers shall enjoy selected ‘Decent Work’ that are applicable as per national labor laws that include among others safe work environment to ensure occupational safety and health at work (PMO -LYEP, 2017)
- Mentorship: Facilities should prepare mentorship programs to ensure volunteers acquire relevant practical skills for their professional and career development
- Adherence to organizational policy and rules: The health volunteers shall adhere to organizational rules and regulations including professional ethics set by Professional Councils and Boards
- Dispute settlement mechanism: The same procedures as established in the facility on management of human resources and administration shall apply to the Health Volunteers. In case the internal mechanism fails to settle the dispute, each party to the dispute, can refer the matter to the National Health Volunteering Committee, beyond which the national legislation and regulations shall apply
- Confidentiality: Volunteers must keep clients and hospital information confidential and ensuring that clients’ rights are upheld during health service delivery.
- Political neutrality: Duly comply with political restrictions in conducting political activities during official hours and or at work premises.
Purpose of the Plan
The implementation plan serves to describe all the steps and costs needed to implement the National Health Sector Volunteering Guidelines including strategies and interventions that will facilitate uptake of the volunteering strategy in Tanzania.
The government intends to employ a participatory approach involving multiple stakeholders and partners.
The government will mobilize resources within the Ministry of health and seek the participation of health stakeholders including development partners in contributing financial resources and technical expertise in implementing these policy guidelines.
Financing the Plan
This plan will be financed through efforts by both government and development partners who have a common interest in addressing the main public health issues in Tanzania.
Development Partners with an interest in financing some specific aspects of this plan will be invited to declare their commitment and set aside such funds in their budgets.
The government will allocate funds according to the approved budgets of the MoHCDGEC, PO-RALG, LGAs and other PHIs during the implementation years.
The Ministry of Health Community Development Gender Elderly and Children shall manage the implementation of these guidelines through the Directorate of Human Resources Development as a coordinating department that shall work together with Directorates of Curative Services;
Human Resources Development and; Administration and Human Resource Management. The other key actors are listed in the implementation matrix.
Supervision and mentoring will follow the pre-existing supportive supervision structures and plans at national level and cascading to regional level (coordinated by the Regional Medical Officers) and District Levels (to be coordinated by District Medical Officers).[ad1]
Objectives and associated Budget Summary
The cost projection for this 5 year implementation plan is TZS. 1,762,750,000. The detailed activities and budget are attached in Table 2 & 3. The summary of budget for each objective is presented on the table below:
How are government health worker volunteers being paid? Salary for voluntary work of health cadres. Check the table below which shows remuneration packages for different levels of health care facilities in Tanzania.
The following are the remuneration packages for different levels
To read the full details on the volunteer jobs in the health sector you can download the pdf with all the information via the link below