Providing quality oxygen and respiratory health care services to the people of Tanzania has been difficult due to challenges with equipment and infrastructure management. To support ongoing efforts by the government of Tanzania, PATH, through the Strengthening Oxygen Utilization and Respiratory Care Ecosystems (SOURCE) project, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the President's Office Regional Administration and Local Government, is making significant strides in addressing this issue.
With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and in partnership with the Every Breath Counts Coalition, the PATH-led SOURCE project is supporting capacity-building initiatives to facilitate the rollout Tanzania government’s Medical Equipment and Infrastructure Management Information System (MEIMIS).
This system is currently being used to generate timely reports that assist health facility management teams in making informed decisions in monitoring availability and functionality of medical equipment at the facility level. It also gives these teams the ability to incorporate plans and budgets into their respective councils' comprehensive health plans.
PATH is assisting MEIMIS national trainers, including biomedical engineers, technicians, and information, communication, and technology officers, in enhancing the capabilities of health facility management teams and service providers. The aim is to improve their ability to track and provide maintenance (both corrective and preventive) for equipment, thereby ensuring optimal performance.
The project conducted an on-site training program in 14 regions to ensure that health facilities have the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively use the MEIMIS system.
"We thank PATH for the support; it won't be easy to use our own source of funds to meet the high demand for biomedical equipment in all regions we have covered,” says Selwin Haule, Biomedical Technician at the Tanzania Ministry of Health. “It has been a lesson learned for the Ministry of Health through Health Management Teams to plan and budget for oxygen therapy equipment and supplies at each level. PATH did an incredible job."
“It has been a lesson learned … to plan and budget for oxygen therapy equipment and supplies at each level. PATH did an incredible job.”— Selwin Haule, Biomedical Technician, Tanzania Ministry of Health
Furthermore, the SOURCE project assisted with the corrective and preventive maintenance of biomedical equipment, with a particular emphasis on respiratory equipment. This effort ensures that the equipment is in good working order, minimizing downtime and maximizing utilization. The PATH SOURCE project also purchased comprehensive toolkits and eight laptops in six regions to enable biomedical engineers to maintain and repair medical equipment in the regions.
The outcomes of this initiative are already evident. Management teams in health care facilities now have access to timely reports that enable them to make informed decisions and allocate resources more efficiently. Biomedical equipment is well maintained, reducing the need for expensive repairs and replacements. As a result, the quality of health care services provided to clients has significantly improved.