Social Service Worker Provides a Critical Link to Frontline Health Workers for Tanzanian Children

AIHA is thrilled to have one of the many successes of our Tanzania Social Welfare Workforce Strengthening Initiative featured in the Frontline Health Worker Coalition blog this week in honor of World Social Worker Day!

From 2006 to 2016, AIHA’s twinning partnership linking the Tanzania Institute of Social Work (ISW) with Jane Addams College of Social Work and the Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center (MATEC) at the University of Illinois in Chicago worked in close collaboration with Tanzania’s Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MOH) to strengthen the country’s social work profession. A particular focus was on training a new community-level social service cadre called Para Social Workers (PSWs) in key social work, case management, psychosocial support, and child development skills, so they are better able to address the needs of most vulnerable populations, including orphans living with or affected by HIV/AIDS and PLHIV.

The comprehensive, multi-stage training program arms PSWs with the knowledge and skills they need to identify children and households most at risk for HIV infection then provide necessary care or referrals to other organizations for needed services. The case management approach PSWs employ helps ensure vulnerable children and their caregivers have access to a holistic support continuum that includes health and allied care, education, nutrition, legal, and other needed services. In 2016, the US and Tanzanian partners updated the PSW curriculum, including enhanced HIV/AIDS competencies to support global 90-90-90 targets and an expanded focus on linkages and referrals to HIV counseling and testing services.

Edithrose Moyo, the Para Social Worker featured in the blog, puts the knowledge and skills she learned through AIHA’s training program every day as she cares for orphans, vulnerable children, and their families in Dar es Salaam’s Temeke District – one of the poorest in the city. Click here to read her story.

AIHA’s national-level project to strengthen Tanzania’s social welfare workforce supports the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and is managed by our HIV/AIDS Twinning Center Program, which is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Our current focus is on supporting social work education and policy, as well as ensuring professional competencies are aligned with the expanded scope of practice under Tanzania’s Task Sharing Policy. To learn more about our work in Tanzania, click here.

Since 1992, AIHA has been working with host country governments, donors, and other key national and international stakeholders to address critical public health issues such as HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, maternal and child health, primary healthcare, emergency medicine, and a broad range of health professions education and development. Our comprehensive, multi-pillar approach to health system strengthening has enabled AIHA to achieve sustainable outcomes through more than 200 partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean.