THE government through the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children is set to open more hubs to facilitate the implementation of a medical education and care management model with the aim of improving health service delivery in the country.
Dubbed Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO), the platform is set for practice-based education and training, service delivery, and outcomes research.
It is a hub-and-spoke educational model that allows subject matter experts in any field of concern to share their knowledge with frontline providers in underserved communities.
Opening a three - day training on Project ECHO in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Ministry’s Assistant Director for Diagnostic Services, Dr Alex Magesa said that the government was working towards opening more hubs in all zonal hospitals and teaching institutions how to reach more participants.
Dr Magesa said that currently there are three hubs, which are Kibong’oto, Bugando and National Health Laboratory Quality Assurance and Training Centre “With this rapid expansion, we need to maintain quality of information and programmes offered, that is why we have identified the need of having this training in the country,” he said.
He said that the project was in line with the government intention to promote the use of technology to communicate rather than travelling long distances seeking for information.
“This initiative is a lifelong learning and guided practice model that revolutionalises medical education and exponentially increase workforce capacity to provide best- practice specialty care and reduce health inequalities,” he said.
Dr Magesa said although it had started as a training model for non -laboratory HIV Rapid testers, currently there were more than five ECHO models in the country focusing on HIV care and treatment, Tuberculosis (TB), safe surgery, HIV rapid testing training and Emergency Operation Centre (ECHO).
He said Tanzania decided to embark on the programme because it was cost effective, reaches many professionals at a short time, a learn by doing modes, a mentoring model and to support President John Magufuli’s vision of utilising resources effectively.
Dr Magesa further explained that one class of 25 to 30 participants who travel from four to five districts to the region for a three day training costs about 14m/-, but through project ECHO the training could cost US dollars 3500 only.
He noted that the difference between the two was that equipment of Project ECHO can be used repeatedly, hence widening the support.