The Tanzania Nursing Initiative: using the HRH Action Framework to strengthen Tanzania’s healthcare workforce
Author: The Tanzania Nursing Initiative
Tanzania faces a severe shortage of nursing tutors and inadequate resources in nursing schools. In response, the Tanzanian Nursing Initiative (TNI) was established in 2006 through collaboration between the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Dar es Salaam, and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), with a long-term goal of improving nursing services in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
The TNI’s activities target four main areas:
- nursing education (curriculum development);
- nursing school support;
- nurse faculty development;
- nurse leadership.
The activities aim to build lasting capacity among Tanzania’s nursing professionals, by specifically targeting: partnership, education, and leadership (see figure 1). To achieve these activities TNI has created partnerships with government, in particular with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW), local and international non-governmental organizations and local and international nursing associations. Two major areas that TNI has contributed to were:
- The Tanzania HIV and AIDS Nursing Education Curriculum (THANE): designed to update nurse educators’ skills and knowledge on HIV prevention, treatment and care so that they could properly train nursing students.
- Nurse Diploma and Nurse Certificate Curricula Revision: TNI, in partnership with MOHSW Nursing Training Unit and other stakeholders has worked on ensuring that all curricula be competence-based and in line with the National Accreditation Council for Technical Education (NACTE) with National Technical Awards (NTA), while incorporating selected HIV/AIDS content form the THANE program.
Pre-service training: a 12-module curriculum curriculum was developed to address and prepare nurses with entry-level knowledge of HIV/AIDS. All nurse tutors in Tanzania also completed a two-week training course so that they would be able to properly educate their students on HIV/AIDS.
Nursing Laboratory Skills Harmonization: TNI coordinated a working group that brought together all the organizations that provided lab skills to nurses, resulting in a standardized training model and sustainability plan.
Standardized Lesson Plans/Module Development: The MOHSW has provided further support to TNI for technical assistance in developing modules to accompany the Nurse Diploma and Certificate programmes.
Advanced Diploma to Bachelors of Nursing Transition: TNI is converting the current specializations of the Advanced Diploma Nursing program to a Bachelors of Nursing (BN) Degree that will follow the NTA system.
BScN curriculum review: TNI engaged with the deans of nursing in universities and deans were taught to perform university-level review and gap analysis. The curriculum review aims to harmonize the Tanzania Commission of Universities, the NTA system and BScN courses across all universities.
TNI conducted a needs assessment of the Tanzania National Nurses Association (TANNA) and the Tanzania National Nurse Midwives Council (TNMC) in 2009 and has attempted to strengthen TNMC’s public relations and media strategies and assist it to focus on priority areas that were identified in the needs assessment.
The TNI has been successful in strengthening nursing education in Tanzania by educating 415 nurses in HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment, providing technical assistance and support on curriculum development and revision, and providing support to Tanzanian nursing schools. It also plans to collaborate with the nurse faculty and partners to develop a faculty package; to roll out nursing lab skills; to work with the MOHSW and nursing schools to develop standardized lesson plans; and to build leadership skills and organizational capacity among Tanzania’s nurse leaders by providing support and expertise to TNMC, TANNA, and the MOHSW.