As Tibu Homa Project ends, officials urge regions to sustain improvements

Recent ceremonies in the Lake Zone of Tanzania marked the upcoming closure of the Diagnosis and Management of Severe Febrile Illness Project, a USAID-supported initiative to reduce the mortality of children with severe febrile illness.

The project, also called Tibu Homa, which means "treat fever" in Kiswahili, focused on reducing morbidity and mortality of children under five years of age due to severe febrile illness in the Lake Zone of Tanzania (Mwanza, Kagera, Mara, Geita, Shinyanga, and Simiyu) through improved diagnosis and treatment.

Severe febrile illness is characterized by the sudden onset of fever and may accompany such illnesses as malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea—the leading causes of death among children under five years old.

Project interventions have including training health care workers in case management, quality improvement, supply chain management, periodic supportive supervision and mentorship, and sustainability (i.e., leadership and financial management). The multi-region project will close in September 2015.

"We have all heard today the gains made in the Kagera Region through the Tibu Homa Project, such as the increase in the number of health care workers providing health care services for children under five, the increase in the number of health facilities having essential medicines in stock, and the increase in the number of health facilities collecting and using data to make decisions," said Fikira Kisimba, the guest of honor present on behalf of the Kagera Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS) at the handover ceremony for the project's Kagera component. "It is important that these improvements be sustained."

The first set of handover ceremonies, which took place between March and April 2015, were held in the three regions where Tibu Homa was first launched: Kagera, Mara, and Mwanza. Handover activities for the program's remaining regions of Geita, Shinyanga and Simiyu will be held in June 2015.

Victor Masbayi, Chief of Party for the Tibu Homa Project, expressed his thanks and gratitude to the program and regional leadership teams for their close partnership over the past four and a half years (2011–2015). "It is the nature of development programs to end," Masbayi said. "In the case of Tibu Homa, the end came at a time when we had achieved good results and when the regional health staff have achieved much in terms of both technical and management skills."

During the handover event for the Mara Region, similar sentiments about the success of Tibu Homa were echoed. "We are truly grateful to the Tibu Homa Project for their aid and technical expertise in helping us tackle child mortality in Mara Region," said Tukae Lissu, Regional Malaria and Integrated Management of Childhood Illness Focal Person for the Mara Region. "We plan to use these resources to establish a resource center where the Project regional office formerly was, and which will be opened to all the regional health care workers for studying."

Fikira Kisimba, Kagera Ag. RAS, handing over the regional project vehicle and documents to the Kagera Regional Medical Officer, Dr. Thomas Rutachunzibwa © Sekela Kyomo, URCThe Kagera handing over ceremony was captured by the local newspaper, Mwananchi, which appeared on Friday, May 1, 2015.Victor Masbayi, Chief of Party of Tibu Homa, handing over equipment to Dr. Samson Winani, Regional Medical Officer of Mara Region in Musoma District. © Sekela Kyomo, URC Dr. James Kengia, Ag.  Regional Medical Officer  of Mwanza Region, accepting equipment from Victor Masbayi, Chief of Party of Tibu Homa Project. © Sekela Kyomo, URC Dr. James Kengia, Ag. Regional Medical Officer of Mwanza Region, receiving a Tibu Homa project vehicle and documents from Dr. Jema Bisimba, Agreement Officer's Representative for Tibu Homa. Looking on is Victor Masbayi, the Project's Chief of Party. © Sekela Kyomo, URC

Tibu Homa was built on the efforts of the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to increase the availability of and accessibility to fundamental facility-based child health care services, ensure the sustainability of critical child health care activities, and enhance community involvement to promote healthy behaviors. As of March 2015, the project's training accomplishments include:

  • Training 1,591 health care workers with US government funds
  • Training 1,003 health care workers in malaria treatment prevention
  • Training 237 health care workers in malaria laboratory diagnostics (mRDT and microscopy)
  • Training 213 health care workers in case management supportive supervision
  • Training 138 health care workers in case management mentorship

These training interventions have yielded positive results. One of these includes training in Supply Chain Management, which provided health care workers with skills needed to (1) complete reporting and requesting forms to report and request medicine and supplies for their facility, (2) monitor stock of essential medicine, and (3) introduce daily stock out monitoring forms for tacking availability at their facility. For example, health care facilities in the Kagera, Mara and Mwanza regions made great improvements in reporting stock-outs between January 2013 to September 2014. The following chart summarizes the activity of stock-out reporting:

In the first quarter of 2013, less than 45% of the health care facilities in each of the three initial regions were reporting no stock-out of key commodities. However, by the third quarter of 2014, 79% of the health care facilities in the entire Lake Zone Region were reporting no stock-out of key commodities.

University Research Co., LLC (URC) is implementing Tibu Homa in partnership with Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF). Click here to learn more about Tibu Homa.

Fikira Kisimba, Kagera Ag. RAS, handing over the regional project vehicle and documents to the Kagera Regional Medical Officer, Dr. Thomas Rutachunzibwa
Fikira Kisimba, Kagera Ag. RAS, handing over the regional project vehicle and documents to the Kagera Regional Medical Officer, Dr. Thomas Rutachunzibwa
Date 
July 01, 2015
Authors 
Sekela Kyomo, Knowledge Management and Communication Specialist, USAID Tibu Homa
Regions/ Countries