Background Training of mid-level providers is a task-sharing strategy that has gained popularity in the recent past for addressing the critical shortage of the health workforce. In Tanzania, training of mid-level providers has existed for over five decades; however, concerns exist regarding the quality of mid-level cadres amidst the growing number of medical universities. This study sought to explore the challenges facing the Assistant Medical Officers training for the performance of Caesarean section delivery in Tanzania.
Methods An exploratory qualitative case study was carried out in four regions to include one rural district in each of the selected regions and two AMO training colleges in Tanzania. A semi-structured interview guide was used to interview 29 key informants from the district hospitals, district management, regional management, AMO training college, and one retired AMO. Also, four focus group discussions were conducted with 35 AMO trainees.
Results Training of AMOs in Tanzania faces many challenges. The challenges include: use of outdated and static curriculum, inadequate tutors (lack of teaching skills and experience of teaching adults), inadequate teaching infrastructure in the existence of many other trainees, including interns, and limited or lack of scholarships and sponsorship for the AMO trainees.
Conclusions The findings of this study underscore that the challenges facing AMO training for the performance of Caesarean section delivery have the potential to negatively impact the quality of Caesarean sections performed by this cadre. A holistic approach is needed in addressing these challenges. The solutions should focus on reviewing the curriculum, deploying qualified tutors, and improving the competencies of the available tutors through continuing medical education programmes. Furthermore, the government in collaboration with other stakeholders should work together to address the challenges in teaching infrastructure and providing financial support to this cadre that has continued to be the backbone of primary healthcare in Tanzania. Long-term solutions should consider deploying medical officers at the primary facilities and phasing out the performance of Caesarean section by AMOs.
Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12909-020-02480-z.
SUBMITTER: Sirili N