This program is funded by PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and is a collaborative effort of Empower Tanzania, Inc and the Pare Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania. However, the project’s activities are ecumenical, with all religious groups invited to the initial training programs. Pilot sites selected are found at medical facilities managed by the Roman Catholic Church, the Tanzanian Government and the Lutheran Church.
A major focus of the program is sustainability after grant funding is completed. To achieve this, Tanzanian faculty collaborated with US volunteers to do the initial training in Year 1. During Year 2, Tanzanian faculty created the training curriculum , with some limited consultation by Iowa volunteers, they did all the training. In each of the pilot sites, a Sustaining Trainer has been selected who will oversee the activities of the community volunteers and provide ongoing training and evaluation. Additional sites continue to be selected each year following the same pattern of increasing reliance on Tanzanian people and resources.
The project is currently beginning its sixth year, and the team of medical professionals from both the U.S. and Tanzania are excited to see the project expanding. There are now 20 sites, including clinics and hospitals, and more than 220 nurses and Community Health Workers involved.
Great successes so far….
- 200 health care professionals have been trained in the concepts and techniques of palliative care, as well as over 200 Community Health Workers, who work in the villages.
- Training has been done successfully by a joint American-Tanzanian faculty, using a curriculum developed by Africans for Africans
- All Community Health Workers attend a 10-day training session on palliative care techniques before beginning to work in their own home villages.
- Over 1,000 patients have received these services from someone in their own village.
- The program has been so successful, it has been expanded to include training in a new primary care skill set-Safe Motherhood.
- The Safe Motherhood Program trainers are Tanzanian, and use an official curriculum to add this new skill set to the Community Workers
- The Safe Motherhood Training has also led to a privately funded project, building Safe Motherhood Clinics in rural Maasai areas, providing much needed maternity care and delivery of babies.
Operating at the village level with local faculty is a key component of these projects and reflects the philosophy of Empower Tanzania, Inc. It has given American and Tanzanian Health Care Professionals many opportunities to interact and work together, and it is hard to say who has benefited more!