Global Health Alliance Western Australia
The Global Health Alliance Western Australia (GHAWA) is a strategic partnership for transcultural health improvement, including a specific intent to assist developing countries in promoting maternal and child health through enhanced capability and capacity in the nursing and midwifery workforce. Formed in December 2009, GHAWA brings together a consortium of 5 Western Australia based educational partners; Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, Notre Dame University, and the University of Western Australia, working in collaboration with the Department of Health, Western Australia and health service providers within the state.
The current key focus area of GHAWA activity is a program based in Tanzania. The program contributes towards two key problems in the sector:
- High level of Maternal Mortality. There is a clear need to contribute toward reduction of the MMR and to improve the proportion of births assisted by skilled health workers (currently 47% in the rural areas).
- Health workforce crisis. There is a clear need to improve the Faculties of Nursing and Midwifery and to strengthen the capacity and quality of the tutors so that they are well versed with the requirements of the new curricula, innovative training techniques and clinical mentorship approaches.
GHAWA is working with academics and experienced practitioners to develop teaching skills and assist with effective transfer of classroom based learning to the practice environment. Additionally, our commitment to community development extends to rebuilding of classrooms, providing a clean water solution for a primary health care facility, and deployment of two multi-purpose patient transport vehicles to villages in the Kisaware District.
Links to the health workforce crisis
The Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Human Resources for Health Strategic Plan 2008-2013 estimates the country currently has 35,202 health workers. However, the current number of health facilities requires a total of 125,824 health workers (according to the official HRH establishment). This indicates a gap of 90,722 health workers (53,214 in the public sector and 37,508 in the private sector). The staff shortage is estimated to be 65% in the public sector and 86% in the private sector. If the requirements of the Primary Health Care Service Development Program 2007-2017 are factored in, an additional number of 84,599 health workers will be required!
The HRH crisis also affects the Health Training Institutes themselves. According to the HRH strategic plan, public HTIs had the highest percentage of unfilled positions among all health facilities. In 2006, 1,711 health professionals were required to staff the 72 public HTIs, but 26% of those positions were unfilled. In comparison, the vacancy rates at dispensaries, health centers, and district hospitals were 69, 59, and 67% respectively. The shortage of full-time clinical faculty is consistently identi¬fied as a critical barrier to scaling up enrollment at HTIs.
The GHAWA program in Tanzania is intended to assist in addressing these challenges by developing the skills of existing faculty and experienced nurses and facilitating the recruitment of more nursing and midwifery students by developing increased capability and capacity at centres of learning and associated clinical practice sites.