A story from the front-lines: A Task Shared, a Problem Solved

Imagine a system where a shortage of specialized health personnel does not necessarily mean that people are denied access to essential health services. A system where people seeking health services can confidently walk into a health facility, and be guaranteed that at least one of the health workers available will have the skill set to attend to their needs. This is the benefit of the Task Shifting and Task Sharing policy, a policy which aims increase effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of essential health services by maximizing the available human resources for health. In Bayelsa State, the work towards guaranteeing essential health services is no longer just an idea, but has become policy. This is so far a success story, that has seen tremendous stakeholder consensus among Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, Laboratory Scientists, Pharmacists, Community Health Workers and a number of other allied health workers on key essential health services that can be shifted and shared, to ensure that women and girls, and communities can have access to the services they need. The beauty of the Task Shifting and Task Sharing policy is how it seamlessly bridges the gap between health professionals who have been trained over longer periods of time, and health professionals who have been trained for shorter periods, allowing them to shift and share tasks, whilst working collaboratively to guarantee the quality of care for these essential health services. A smooth implementation of the policy of course requires training, mentorship, and supportive supervision, and the policy document itself includes an actual plan for the conduct of these activities that preserve quality of care and at the same time ensure access to essential health services.

Following months of negotiation between all the different cadres of health workers, the relevant regulatory councils, government agencies, partners, women groups and community representatives, Bayelsa State has taken a giant leap on the road to Universal Health Coverage and improved health outcomes through task shifting. With the wide array of stakeholders, all pursuing a common interest – the health and wellbeing of women, girls and whole communities – it is obvious that the importance of this mission cannot be overemphasized.

Even more satisfying than the process of developing this policy, are the rewards of this policy: availing hands that are capable of absorbing the effects of a global and local shortage of health workers, which consequently improves the health outcomes. Gains like these are responsible for thriving societies where preventable maternal and child deaths are at their lowest rate. For Bayelsa, services like routine antenatal care and routine uncomplicated deliveries, basic and emergency life-saving interventions, early and essential care for newborns and provision of family planning services are among these essential services that the State and the health professionals have all agreed to shift and share, for the good of women, girls and whole communities.

Corona Management Systems are proud to have provided technical support for Bayelsa State, to midwife this globally recommended solution and deliver visionary policy with the potential to preserve gains in reducing preventable maternal and child deaths in Nigeria and around the world. We look forward to continuing to support and hold Government accountable for the implementation of this policy, for our women, girls and whole communities.

This is a staging enviroment