The Medical Women Association of Tanzania has been working to promote the concept of Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy (HTSP) under USAID. The programme was launched with the involvement of various stakeholders and a secretariat formed. Various meetings were held together with the lecturers of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of various Medical Schools, Nursing school staff, RCH clinical staff and Representatives from the RCH section of MoHSW. Some very positive inputs were gained of which we are presenting today.
It was unanimously agreed that HTSP was not a new concept in RCH but rather an advancement of the previously existing Family Planning concept. Members agreed that the topic of Family Planning was theoretically taught to undergraduate levels of most Medical and Nursing schools and was more practical to postgraduate students. It is however being slowly introduced in training institutions as an additional topic, seminars and workshops without the need of curriculum review.
However there was still a need to train the trainers as most of them were not properly trained so as to make all RCH providers conversant with HTSP. There is also a need to ensure CME to RCH providers.
There was also a need to train staff of lower medical cadres and nurses at grassroots level to reach the majority in the country. The training should be in collaboration with the RCH coordinators in different zones through the RCH coordinator to harmonize the training.
From the clinical aspect, the need to improve the involvement of men could not be surpassed though most women still attend RCH clinics alone. This could be through creating male friendly infrastructure in clinics, Family Planning adverts in strategic areas to attract the attention of men etc.
It was also suggested to involve Religious Leaders in promoting the concept as they play a big role in peoples’ lives and beliefs.
Lastly was to address the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training and create adolescent friendly clinics.
We therefore conclude by requesting the Ministry to develop means of incorporating the concept into its policies considering the recommendations above.
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