A One Decade Trend of Transforming Medical Doctors to Surgeons in Tanzania: The Leaking Trough

OV Nyongole, N Siril, A Kiwara
Publication year: 

Background: A major emphasis in the ongoing health sector reforms in Tanzania is to increase the number of graduates in medical field in all aspects. Tanzania development vision 2025 set quality livelihood for all as one of its principle objectives. For this to be realized not only Human resource for Health (HRH) in all Medical fields are required but a highly trained calibre HRH is of paramount. Whether it has worked or not is a subject of speculation. This paper sets out to examine to what extent number of produced medical doctors (MDs) has turned positively the number of surgeons for the past one decade in Tanzania.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of reports from five health Universities in Tanzania with a focus on graduated Medical Doctors and those trained to become surgeons for the period 2001 to 2010.

Results: Between 2001 and 2010 five institutions trained these graduate Human Resource for Health (HRH). Combined local training institutions produced a total of 2,022 Medical Doctors. These Institutions included a public institution Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences  (MUHAS), Private faith based (Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) and Bugando University College of Health Sciences (BUCHS) and private for profit (International Medical and Technology (IMTU) and Hurbert Kairuki Memorial University (HKMU). MUHAS alone trained 1,285 MDs or 64% of these graduates. Faith based produced 287 and the rest (450) were  produced by the private for profit institutions. Out of 1285 MDs trained at MUHAS in the mentioned period, only 25(1.9%) became surgeons, and out of all 2022 Medical Doctors locally trained in that period only 51(2.5%) trained to become general surgeons. This is a major challenge for the profession.

Conclusion: If only 2.5% (51 out of 2,022) of all locally trained Medical Doctors trained to become Surgeons in a period of ten years realization of vision 2025 health sector goals is questionable. The major question which remain unanswered is why this trend? It is the authors’ view that Marshall Plan need to be adapted to redress the situation.