Coordinating efforts in Tanzania and beyond

In a conversation with Dr Gabriel Upunda, we learnt of the importance of engaging the regulatory bodies for health in Tanzania, and also to look beyond Tanzania to what is being done in relation to continuous professional development for health workers in other countries. Dr Upunda occupied the position of Chief Medical Officer of Tanzania for 10 years, so we were eager to get his perspective on our initiative and learn how we might make improvements.

Dr Upunda

Dr Upunda was very positive about the plan to develop an e-learning platform of the type we are proposing. He sees e-learning as a huge opportunity for training and educating people for the future. We spoke about the proposal to use the platform to train and explain about policies, research findings, scalable good practices etc. to try to connect the dots in the system for greater translation of knowledge to practice. He saw this as a practical and positive contribution to health improvements. We spoke about the urgent need to educate people on the value of e-learning and build skills in the area of digital literacy. We are not the only ones saying this! This is a specific objective of the ehealth strategy in Tanzania.

When we spoke about CPD training, Dr Upunda commended our inclusion of the professional associations in the group (MAT and TANNA), but also reminded us of the importance in inviting the professional councils to the table (we had already met, briefed and discussed with the Tanzania Nurses and Midwives Council (TNMC) over a year ago who were positive about the platform, and they also attended a consultation held in September where they also voiced a need for leveraging technology meaningfully to support health workers). We still need to have contact with the Tanganyika Medical Council (TMC) – this is extremely important.

We spoke about the CPD curriculum in Tanzania, and Dr Upunda. reminded us of the importance to look beyond Tanzania also – particularly to agreements in this area between Tanzania and the East African Countries group. It is important to ensure that any course we develop to support CPD in Tanzania, also meets the standards set by the East African countries.

Sometimes  it is not easy for a few people to think of everything – this is why we believe it is so important to involve as many people as possible – to collaboratively build an ePlatform that everyone feels part of, and that takes into account the work and agreements already in place – and builds on this – more can be achieved through collaboration than pursuing a go-it-alone strategy.

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