Transforming Health Professions Education (THET) is a 5-year NIH funded project. The overall aim of THET is to transform the educational environment for doctors and nurses in Tanzania so that they can deliver quality care for improved health outcomes of all people including marginalized communities and those with HIV/AIDS. THET is a consortium of three health professional training institutions from Tanzania, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences (CUHAS) and Kilimanjaro Christian College Medical University College (KCMUco), and two United States-based universities (Duke University and University of California San Francisco).
On the 24th of July 2019, THET held a one-day workshop to solicit inputs from the stakeholders on the development of the competency domains and competencies of the curricula to be developed. Participants were drawn from the participating institutions, all health profession-training institutions that have programs on medicine and nursing or either of them, higher education regulatory authorities, professional bodies, and the media. In total 52 participants attended.
The objectives of this Stakeholders workshop was to receive inputs from stakeholders regarding the basic minimum competencies and learning outcomes our Medicine and Nursing graduates should be trained on – Harmonization of curricula as well as to provide updates on the progress of the project since the last met during the project launch and stakeholders meeting on February 2019.
In this workshop, the MUHAS Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Academics, Research and Consultancy, Prof. Apollinary Kamuhabwa introduced and welcomed the Guest of Honour, Dr. Saitore Laizer, the Director for Training and Human Resources Development at the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoHCDGEC).
Before officiating the workshop, Dr. Laizer thanked MUHAS and all the collaborating institutions in the THET Project for inviting him to officiate the workshop. He noted that, five months ago, in February this year, stakeholders met in this very same venue to launch the project “To Reach People: Transforming Health Professions Education in Tanzania (THET)” and followed by a meeting that discussed the agenda of improving the quality of training of our graduates. Specifically, Medical and Nursing graduates’ training was presented, discussed and resolutions made on what should be done going forward.
Dr. Laizer thanked CUHAS, KCMUCo, MUHAS and the two Collaborating US institutions, UCSF and Duke University for taking the initiative to lead this process. He appealed to all the stakeholders who are attending the meeting today to give full commitment to this activity and ensure that they participate fully in the discussions and refinement of the proposed competencies for the MD and Nursing curriculum. He urged stakeholders to appreciate the responsibility of representing all stakeholders who could not attend the workshop.
Moreover, Dr. Laizer emphasized that the output of deliberations will go a long way to address wider national interests of assuring access, equity and quality of higher education in the health and allied disciplines. He also pointed out that the development of harmonized curricula will be pivotal in creating and supporting the use of innovative approaches to ensure that the quality of the provided education will not suffer. It will allow the sharing of resources among our higher learning institutions, particularly teaching staff, lecture material, and others but above all, it will allow credit transfers for our students that currently is very difficult.
Dr. Laizer reminded participants; “If you do not take today’s exercise seriously you should not expect to get good and quality health care for yourself and family members tomorrow”. Also that this country will not attain its ambition to become a middle-income economy that is knowledge-driven if we do not have a healthy population. Implementation of the THET Project directly contributes to efforts to Tanzania Vision 2025 as well as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Prof. Jacob Mtabaji, the Chairman of Tanzania Commission for Universities, officially closed the workshop. Prof Mtabaji thanked the consortium for inviting him and said that it is was good to meet former colleagues, students, young scientists. He was confident that the health education profession is in good hands.
Prof Mtabaji thanked all participants for their contributions to defining the basic minimum attributes of graduates. He said that the workshop was successful and hoped that moving forward; all ideas will be in cooperated into the new curricula. He urged stakeholders to continue engaging, as their contributions are valuable. He reiterating TCU continued support.