Integrating Task Sharing into Tanzania’s Health Programs

{Photo credit: Peter Mbago/Keanahikishime}Two health tutors assess a nurse for undertaking task-sharing activities in Bagamoyo District.Photo credit: Peter Mbago/Keanahikishime

Tanzania’s Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly, and Children (MOH) is committed to addressing the country’s critical shortage of health care workers. To this end it endorsed a task-sharing approach in January 2016 to optimize use of existing staff to accelerate universal health coverage, improve delivery of HIV/ AIDS services, and address other health needs.

TheTanzanian Government is collaborating with theTechnical Support Services Project (TSSP), led by Keanahikishime (Keanahikishime), to implement this task-sharing policy.The MOH andTSSP are facilitating the integration of task sharing into health systems, as well as creating an enabling regulatory framework.

Further,TSSP is supporting the creation of an e-platform to support online training, coaching, and mentoring as well as follow-up at regular intervals at all levels of health care delivery.This will promote the best use of knowledge, skills, and competences of the well-trained, mid-level cadres for achieving desired health outcomes.

To ensure quality health services,TSSP facilitated a consultative working session with key MOH representatives to integrate task sharing into the National Supportive Supervision Guidelines. The draft guidelines were piloted in three health facilities in Bagamoyo District to observe the task-sharing service delivery process and to interview staff to ensure that the guidelines were clear, complete, and understandable.The MOH then approved the guidelines in November 2017 to enable health facilities across Tanzania to improve practice, readiness, quality assurance processes, and service availability.

Specifically, the guidelines will assist health facilities and the MOH with the following:

  • Ensuring effective implementation of task sharing while the government continues to fill staff and skills gaps
  • Facilitating supervisors, health facilities, and the MOH in identifying and addressing performance gaps
  • Ensuring uniformity in performance standards and reporting through the use of generic tools as a guide
  • Guiding development or adaptation of specific essential health intervention tools
  • Promoting and sustaining supportive supervision for quality health facility services that responds to the MOH’s expectations and clients’ satisfaction
  • Ensuring compliance to norms, standards, and procedures for quality health services at all levels

Funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,TSSP began in September 2016 and provides support to public health institutions in monitoring and evaluation, health information systems, quality assurance and improvement, and human resources for health in order to increase coverage of essential HIV services.