A becoming specialty – EM in Tanzania

We all pass through milestones of growth and every stage is a hurdle to the next, how we choose to view it is our own choosing. Imagine seeing it from a child’s perspective; a five-month-old wobbly reaching for a shiny new toy that seems just a grasp away, falls flat on his face cries then realises; ooh wait there is that shiny new toy again. Picks up from where he left off and with every advance sitting transforms to crawling.

Joshua Yonazi 2014
Currently doing her Paediatric Cardiology Fellowship

As a medical student, I had no exposure to Emergency Medicine as a specialty. We had an OPD that was functional 24 hours. Paediatrics was what I set my mind to do, and Dr. Stella Mongella, who remains a role model to date influenced a lot of what I am today in my timeliness and responsibilities. It was a see admire and try to become not her but myself in the best way I could. 

After completing my medical school, which is a five-year program, the next step was to go for my one-year internship training. I moved from a mostly public health facility to a private health facility. It was until 2014 when I was employed as a Resident Medical Officer at the Accidents and Emergency Department of the Aga Khan Hospital Dar es Salaam when I met Dr. Yash Dubal, an Emergency Physician who had just joined the hospital that same year. He had graduated from Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and working with him is what made me realise what a becoming speciality Emergency Medicine is and in less than a year I decided to join the same residency program he had graduated from.

This three-year residency program is a core competency-based training in research, trauma, paediatric care, leadership skills, bedside ultrasound, recognition and treatment of toxicological, obstetric and medical emergencies. Offers elective exchange opportunities for residents to go abroad for observership as well as those from abroad coming to Tanzania. Muhimbili National Hospital first and the only hospital to date to have an Emergency Medicine Residency Program in Tanzania and first to have initiated an Undergraduate Emergency Medicine Rotation in 2014. Since the presence of this fully capacitated Emergency Medicine department, there has been great change in the delivery of services and outcome within the hospital and its graduates are part of regionalisation of emergency care in Tanzania.

To date there are nine health facilities with fully functional 24 hours emergency departments with Emergency Physicians available at; Muhimbili National Hospital, Bugando Medical Center, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, Arusha Lutheran Medical Center, Mount Meru Hospital, Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital, Bombo Hospital, Benjamin Mkapa Hospital and The Aga Khan Hospital. Development of EMS is in progress with basic ambulance providers, attendants and dispatch training complete.

Muhimbili National Hospital
Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital
Benjamin Mkapa Hospital
Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center
Emergency Medical Services
The Aga Khan Hospital Dar es salaam

Emergency Medicine is a Becoming Specialty with core values to safely deliver those critically ill and injured from the community to the acute care units for resuscitation, stabilization and transfer to specific units for definitive care.

Cite this article as: Kilalo Mjema, "A becoming specialty – EM in Tanzania," in International Emergency Medicine Education Project, June 24, 2019, https://iem-student.org/2019/06/24/a-becoming-specialty-em-in-tanzania/, date accessed: September 20, 2019

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