HEALTH SYSTEM THINKING
Technical resources and equipment in Tanzania for health facilities have been loosely planned and insufficiently maintained. This has led to rapid deterioration of infrastructure and frequent equipment failures. This not only impairs medical services, but may also pose a health hazard to patients and staff at the health facilities. This shortcoming especially affects women—they are particularly dependent on high quality services during pregnancy and delivery, and as caregivers.
Strengthening the management of medical infrastructure and equipment including the timely maintenance, repair and renovations is absolutely necessary in order to improve the overall health system and make the best use of existing investments in the health sector.
To realize this in a systematic manner, hospital technical workshops need to be maintained and supported with adequate resources in a routine way. Also of strategic importance is the establishment of the national medical equipment calibration facility (workshop) in the capital city of Tanzania in order to provide further needed technical support for the network of medical infrastructure and medical equipment throughout the country.
Through its Health Technology Management (HTM) component, the Health Promotion and System Strengthening Project is working to develop some key innovations, and concentrates on anchoring them into national level policies and sustainable implementation structures. In brief, these key innovations of HTM are:
The computerized inventory and medical equipment information management system (openMedis)
Model Health Technology Workshops (medical equipment service centres) at district and regional level for preventive servicing and repair
An organization and management model covering the full medical equipment cycle (defining appropriate technical specifications, procurement, installation, training, preventive maintenance, repair, de-commissioning)
A human resources development concept defining staff positions with requisite sets of skills and competencies for health technology professionals at health facility, district / municipality, and regional level.
The HPSS Health Technology Management working group includes representatives from Ministry of Health Community Development Gender Elderly and Children (MOHCDEGC) and President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PORALG). The project networks with other stakeholders in the area of HTM and collaborate with national authorities and organizations in order to contribute to the further development of HTM policies and regulations such as policy guidelines and operating manual for implementation of Health Care Technical Services and guidelines for Health Technology Management at health facilities, hospital reform and restructuring of the health system.