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Tanzanian Vice President: Use Data and Standards to Achieve Quality Health Services
URC participated in the fourth annual Tanzania National Quality Improvement Forum (NQIF), held October 30th and 31st, 2014 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. As in the past three years, URC collaborated with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) and other quality improvement partners in the country to organize the forum, which brought together more than 300 stakeholders to share their quality improvement experiences.
The theme for this year, "Achieving Quality of Health and Social Welfare Services by Applying Standards," was supported by three sub-themes: (1) using data to maintain quality health and social welfare services; (2) adhering to set standards for service provision in implementing the Universal Health and Social Welfare Coverage Initiative; and (3) financing and insuring quality improvement.
The MOHSW, implementing partners and all participants were honored to welcome the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania H.E. Dr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal as the forum's guest of honor.
The Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania H.E. Dr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal addressing participants during the 4th NQIF in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Photo: Delphina Ntangeki
Addressing participants in his official opening speech Dr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal noted that the main theme of the forum came at an appropriate time, as the government's focus had turned to quality improvement after achieving modest success improving access to health and social welfare services. "Our plan now is to ensure all facilities provide a complete package of essential health interventions, in accordance with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare's guidelines for each level."
Dr. Bilal also emphasized the importance of the use of data as a surest way in achieving quality services. "It is data, both qualitative and quantitative, that will give us the detail of how far we have achieved, and how far we should increase our efforts. . . . In order to sustain the efforts the government has taken to ensure quality of health is improved, the use of data and available standards in provision of health and social welfare services should be compulsory. . . . It is said, 'Data do not, of themselves, change the world.'
"They make change possible by identifying needs, supporting advocacy, and gauge progress…what matter most is that decision makers use the data to make positive change and that the data must be made available for communities to use in holding duty bearers to account."
The Vice President also launched the 'National Guidelines for Recognition of Implementation Status of Quality Improvement Initiatives in Health Facilities' and presented awards to health facilities that were recognized for attaining high scores in infection prevention control (IPC).
The Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Seif S. Rashid (MP), said the Ministry is working to minimize errors, waste delays, and cost and has implemented various initiatives and approaches in order to achieve its aim. Among the initiatives and approaches he mentioned, the Health Improvement Collaborative is implemented by the USAID ASSIST project, which is led by URC in partnership with other development partners.
"The Ministry is ensuring that it coordinates all these initiatives with the spirit of inclusiveness and collaboration, recognizing that quality improvement is only possible when we work as a cohesive unit, with unconditional teamwork," he added.
Several URC staff from the USAID ASSIST and Tibu Homa (febrile illness) projects attended the forum and made the following presentations:
- Dr. Stella Kasindi Mwita, Senior QI Advisor USAID ASSIST Project: "Addressing nutrition of mothers and babies in partnership for HIV-free survival (PHFS) sites to improve their well-being"
- Dr. Elizabeth Hizza, Senior QI Advisor USAID ASSIST Project: "Involving community groups to improve male partner access to ANC/PMTCT services"
- Eliphace Mkumbo, QI Advisor Tibu Homa Project: "Assessment findings of the functionality of community health funds in Misenyi, Musoma Rural and Sengerema districts"
- Naiman Msangi, QI Advisor Tibu Homa Project: "Improving availability of medicines and supplies at the health facility level in the Lake Zone, Tanzania.
ASSIST Senior Quality Improvement Advisor, Dr. Stella Mwita presenting on "Addressing nutrition of mothers and babies in partnership for HIV free survival (PHFS) sites to improve their well being" during the 4th NQIF, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Photo: Delphina Ntangeki.
Participants following forum proceedings. Photo: Delphina Ntangeki.
- Joshua Kimaro, QI Associate, USAID ASSIST Project "Optimizing linkages between the community and health facilities to improve care for PLHIV in Muheza, Tanzania."
- Faridah Mgunda, QI Advisor, USAID ASSIST Project: "Involving Male Partners to Improve the Quality of Health Services: Experiences from Morogoro Region, Tanzania"
The Vice President also visited URC's display booth and learned about USAID ASSIST project activities in Tanzania. Dr. Elizabeth Hizza, USAID ASSIST Senior Quality Improvement Advisor, told Dr. Bilal that the project is providing technical assistance in quality improvement to MOHSW and other implementing partners in areas of prevention of mother-to-child- transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT), care and treatment services, most vulnerable children and community linkage.
ASSIST Senior Quality Improvement Advisor Dr. Elizabeth Hizza, (left) explained URC's ASSIST project activities to Vice President Dr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal and Minister for Health and Social Welfare Dr. Seif S. Rashid (MP) during the fourth NQIF in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Photo: Delphina Ntangeki.
February 17, 2015