Paucity of healthcare personnel in health facilities and improved maternal/child health in Rivers State, drew the attention of relevant health agencies, professional bodies, Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders in the health sector, at the one day policy dialogue on Task Shifting and task Sharing policy to drum up support for its adoption and implementation in the state.
The event which was organized by RAHI Medical Outreach and Development Research and Projects Center (dRPC) and supported by other bodies with focus on identifying the challenges, solutions and benefits of TSTS and setting up of a Technical Working Committee to work out modalities for its adoption in Rivers State, gave an insight on the opportunities of building capacities in lower cadres in the health sector and easier administration of health when implemented.
Dr Chuks Nwaka, Project Director TSTS, in his address said that the Policy Dialogue was designed to bring stakeholders together to focus on the adoption of the policy through advocacy while expressing optimism that the fora will provide the opportunity to discuss the way forward on the subject matter through multi-stakeholder engagement.
The Founder/CEO of RAHI Medical Outreach, Dr Chris Ekiyor, in a presentation on the Current Status of TSTS in Rivers State, gave a chronological appraisal of the trends in under 5 mortality by states, Antenatal coverage, Motivating and Enabling factors in TSTS, Global, National and previous efforts in TSTS in Rivers state. Champions in support of TSTS and the role of Civil society/professional associations in the adoption and implementation of TSTS also formed part of the presentation. He said there was need for Task Shifting and Task sharing in order to bridge the gap in paucity of health personnel and the growing indications for improved maternal and child health. He called for the active participation of the state government and other stakeholders to join forces in the adoption of TSTS in Rivers state.
Earlier on, the representative of Development Research and Projects Center (dRPC), Ms Theresa Ezeoma commended RAHI Medical Outreach for the baseline studies and expressed optimism that the policy dialogue will further strengthen efforts and advocacy for the implementation of TSTS policy in the state.
Other speakers at the policy dialogue were; Dr Mrs Adebiyi, Chairperson NMA, Rivers State, Dr Doris Nria, Coordinator Social Mobilization, Rivers State Ministry of Health and Mrs Amachree representing the Director of Public Health, Rivers State. All speakers collaborated the importance of Task Shifting and Task Sharing policy in health care delivery. The interactive section provided a platform for participants to x-ray the workability and challenges in the implementation of the TSTS policy. Participants/Stakeholders called for caution to guard against quackery, headship tussle while advocating for the training and retraining of health cadres and the institution of a legal framework, backed by the political will for its implementation.
A Technical Working Committee was set up and members drawn from key health sectors and other stakeholders, with terms of reference; to identify the gaps militating its adoption, collate more partners to give a one voice and to formulate a working document for the Adoption/Implementation of TSTS.