The Health Team have spent their first few weeks immersing themselves in the Tanzanian Healthcare System. Working in the field and shadowing health professionals at Dispensaries, as well as engaging with the surrounding communities has led to rewarding findings that have enabled us to collate together information about the system that has not previously existed in a formal manner. We are now excited to progress by implementing two significant pilot projects to fill existing gaps in the Tanzanian healthcare system. We are also lucky enough to be collaborating, and building the projects with 12 graduating medics from Muhumbili University.
Our primary project is The Community Social Enterprise Network, which attempts to incorporate a number of important community and governmental bodies, and NGOs into a social enterprise system. The main aim of this project is to empower communities to become self-sustaining in order to independently finance essential projects, such as new wells, biogas generators and waste disposal systems.
The model for the initial pilot acts on a system whereby essential health products for preventative measures, such as water filters, home-based first aid kits, and alternative female sanitary products, will be sold throughout a targeted community. Both the sale of affordable home-based healthcare products, as well as the implementation of community-wide projects in the long-term will have a resounding benefit of increasing education and awareness to increase community health. This in turn will mean that fewer people will rely on the dispensary, which currently serves approximately 74,600 people.
The second project focuses on the importance of retaining patients diagnosed with HIV in the long-term. The major challenge to maintaining the well-being of patients is to limit disease progression and transmission in those who do not attend regular appointments to continue their treatment. We hope to tackle this issue by establishing a system of regular automated mobile messages tailored to individuals to act as a reminder service for HIV patients and their supervisory nurses. Through establishing a more effective system of dispensary care, we hope this will contribute to meeting WHO targets for reducing the transmission of, and deaths from HIV/AIDS over the long term.
The Health Team have also gained the exciting opportunity to design, create and be the lecturers for our Health Entrepreneurship Course for leading healthcare professionals from Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. The course will also be filmed and added to the Tanzanian curriculum for nurses.
Throughout the next 5 weeks, we will be working hard to implement these exciting pilot schemes for their first trial phases, as well as continuing to work on the Entrepreneurship Course. We recognise the idealistic and ambitious nature of our projects but as members of CDI, we look to emulate our core values and push creative boundaries to the limit.
Millie Foster, Health team volunteer