Tanzania National Quality Improvement Forum
URC participated in the 4th annual Tanzania National Quality Improvement Forum (NQIF) held in October 30th and 31st, 2014 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. As was in the past three years, URC has collaborated with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and other quality improvement partners in the country to organize the forum that brought together more than 300 stakeholders to share different quality improvement experiences.
The theme for this year was “Achieving Quality of Health and Social Welfare Services by Applying Standards.” The main theme was supported by three sub-themes which are: using data to maintain quality health and Social Welfare Services; adhering to set standards for service provision in Implementing Universal Health and Social Welfare Coverage Initiative and financing and insuring Quality Improvement.
In this years’ forum, the MOHSW, implementing partners and all participants were honored to have the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania H.E. Dr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal as the guest of honor.
Addressing participants in his official opening speech Dr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal said that the main theme of the forum came at an appropriate time when the focus of the government is more on quality improvement, after achieving modest success with regards to 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 insisted on 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 ‘National Guidelines for Recognition of Implementation Status of Quality Improvement Initiatives in Health Facilities’ and presented awards to health facilities that were recognized and awarded for attaining high score in Infection Prevention Control (IPC).
Also the Minister for Health and Social Welfare Dr. Seif S. Rashid said the Ministry is aiming at minimizing errors, waste delays and cost and has initiated various initiatives and approaches in order to achieve its aim. Health Improvement Collaborative is among the initiatives and approaches he mentioned that are implemented by URC’s ASSIST project and other several 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 USAID Tibu Homa (febrile illness) projects attended the forum and made the following presentations:
- Dr. Stella Kasindi Mwita, Senior QI Advisor 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 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.
- Joshua Kimaro, QI Associate ASSIST Project “Optimizing linkages between the community and health facilities to improve care for PLHIV in Muheza, Tanzania.”
- Faridah Mgunda, QI Advisor ASSIST Project: “Involving Male Partners to Improve the Quality of Health Services: Experiences from Morogoro Region, Tanzania”
The Vice President also visited URC booth display and learned about ASSIST project activities in Tanzania. Dr. Elizabeth Hizza, USAID ASSIST Senior Quality Improvement Advisor told Dr. Bilal that ASSIST 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 programs.