This came after stakeholders raised concerns over delayed issuance of certificates and nursing licenses to the students, which contributes to delayed employment.
Director of Preventive Services in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Dr Leonard Subi made the statement in Mwanza Region when speaking at the dissemination meeting for the More and Better Midwives for Rural Tanzania (MBM) project which has reached an end after being implemented in Lake and Western zones for five years.
The project was implemented by Jhpiego in partnership with Amref health Africa, Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM) and Tanzania Midwives Association (TAMA) with funding from the Canadian government. It was implemented within 20 health training institutions and 19 in-service training clinical practice sites in 19 districts in Mwanza, Kagera, Mara, Simiyu, Shinyanga, Kigoma, Tabora, and Geita regions.
“You should prioritize issuance of certificates and nursing licenses to graduating nurse-midwives. We do not want students to stay at home for a long period since their carrier requires more practice”, Dr Subi noted.
He however challenged heads and the management of nursing colleges to ensure timely submission of all the required documents to NACTE and the regulatory—TNMC to facilitate preparation as well as issuance of certificates.
Dr Subi added that the government values the contribution of the MBM project is producing skilled nurse-midwives urging that trained health professionals may contribute into reduction of child and maternal deaths by 80 percent.
He said the various interventions made by the government and stakeholders have resulted in reduction of child and maternal mortality in the country, whereas the number of maternal deaths have now dropped to 2,000 per year compared to 11,000 deaths recorded in 2015.
According to him, more midwives will be employed by the government, noting that a total of 14,400 health care providers have been employed in five years. During the period, a total of 487 health care centers were constructed.
Ministry of Health’s Assistant Director (Nursing and Quality Improvement), Dr Saturini Manangwa said the ministry has started working to facilitate timely issuance of certificates and nursing licenses. He said the government is also looking into possibilities of introducing similar projects in other regions and to increase the number of clinical instructors.
“The MBM project has direct links with the government since it gears at improving maternal services through production of quality midwives. We need similar projects across the country”, he said.
AMREF Tanzania Country Director, Dr Florence Temu highlighted the need to prioritize employment to graduating nurses and midwives, noting that only 10 percent of all the graduates produced during the project implementation have been employed.
Jhpiego Country Director, Alice Christensen said the project aimed at ensuring that women and children in rural and hard to reach areas of Tanzania have access to skilled midwives.
“Sustained improvement of maternal and newborn health outcomes may be attained through provision of better midwifery skills guided by evidence-based training and specific strategies to retain the workforce. We are proud that we have addressed the gap of quality and skilled midwifery,” she added.
She said that world’s statistics show that approximately 287,000 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth whereas 2.7 million babies die every year in their first month of life and a similar number are stillborn.
An estimated 56 percent of these deaths could be prevented through strong partnerships in strengthening and enabling midwives in providing quality midwifery care.
Dr Julius Masanika, MBM Project Manager, said implementations of the project have managed to reduce the midwives staffing gap in Lake and western zones from 54 percent in 2016 to 41 percent.
He added that 94 percent of trained midwives are now capable of performing their skills more professionally compared to only 25 percent of trained midwives who could professionally execute their duties before the project was introduced.
Dr Masanika said the government of Canada through the Global Affairs Canada funded the project to a tune of 10 million Canadian Dollars (over 16bn/-).