The key aim of Phase I of the ISDSM project, enacted from 2013 to 2016, was to improve maternal and newborn health service delivery, to support safe motherhood, and to reduce infant mortality across six zones of Tanzania, by increasing the skills and availability of midwives, and by linking their formal competencies with rural communities through an Emergency Skills training program co-delivered on location, by Tanzanian-Canadian midwife pairs. The project then linked the right competencies with underserved areas, by identifying community health workers (CHWs) in target districts, and bringing them together with re-engaged retired midwives within those same settings, for mentorship, and skills sharing support – strengthening the continuum of care from home to health facility. Various tools have been created to enhance midwifery knowledge transfer including the Midwives Emergency Skills Training (MEST), a collaborative program developed by CAM and TAMA. The project has been collaboratively developed to reflect both the priorities of local stakeholders, and the national health policies of the Tanzanian Government.
Phase II of the project, from January 2017-October 2018, developed as the result of an external evaluation of Phase I, which recommended extending the project to 2 regions not reached by the first phase. During Phase II, then, TAMA and CAM will expand training of midwives to Morogoro and Mtwara regions, providing the MEST workshops to a further 200 midwives in these rural areas.
In Phase I, the ISDSM project trained 300 practicing and 12 re-engaged Midwives in Emergency Skills. It also, recruited and engaged 24 CHWs to work alongside skilled Midwives in target rural areas, trained 18 Midwives as Emergency Skills instructors and oriented 24 District Council representatives to conduct post workshop supportive supervisions. Moreover the project has increased access to emergency obstetric care for women in 6 zones, increased awareness on MNCH issues among communities in the target District Councils; and strengthened TAMA presence in the project District Council. The indirect beneficiaries of this project include husbands, siblings and guardians of under 5 children who received some tangential benefits.