Zanzibar is experiencing an aging workforce where by 20% of the workforce is over the age of 55 and only 17% under the age of 34 (MOH), pointing to the need for more students to graduate and enter into the workforce. Recent statistics also indicates an approximately 30% shortage of staff in clinics resulting in a high workload of existing staff, which in turn undermines the quality of service delivered (MOH). The “Champions in Health” project was designed to bridge the human resource gap in order to improving the quality of health care delivery in rural areas.
The project aims at improving and promoting the interest of students, especially those from rural areas of Unguja and Pemba, to work in rural based health care as well as improving the overall delivery of health care on the island by uplifting the health care profession, highlighting positive health care practices and improving professionalism of students entering into the workforce.
The project targets 98 students at School of Health and Medical Sciences (SHMS) with full coverage of tuition, accommodation and stipend for field practice. In addition, the project builds competence of Champions in a range of soft skills necessary for health care delivery and professional development including leadership, critical thinking, team work and customer care. Promotion of Volunteerism is one of the critical components of the program, where Champions get opportunity to volunteer for one month while in school and three months after graduation to build their hearts on giving, strengthening their skills and fostering their passion to serve rural marginalized communities.
It is expected that these Champions following their graduation will serve rural healthcare setting there by reducing human resource shortage and ultimately enhancing the quality of health care delivery. As people who have undertaken STEM field of studies, Champions also support students and mentor them to promote their interest in science fields, including health.
♦ Financial support to the needy students at School of Health and Medical Sciences
♦ Equipping Champions with Soft Skills necessary for quality health service delivery
♦ Field volunteerism in rural health care setting