Strengthening medical education in haematology and blood transfusion: postgraduate programmes in Tanzania.
Makani J., Lyimo M., Magesa P., Roberts DJ.
Haematology and blood transfusion, as a clinical and laboratory discipline, has a far-reaching impact on healthcare both through direct patient care as well as provision of laboratory and transfusion services. Improvement of haematology and blood transfusion may therefore be significant in achieving advances in health in Africa. In 2005, Tanzania had one of the lowest distributions of doctors in the world, estimated at 2·3 doctors per 100 000 of population, with only one haematologist, a medical doctor with postgraduate medical education in haematology and blood transfusion. Here, we describe the establishment and impact of a postgraduate programme centred on Master of Medicine and Master of Science programmes to build the capacity of postgraduate training in haematology and blood transfusion. The programme was delivered through Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) with partnership from visiting medical and laboratory staff from the UK and complemented by short-term visits of trainees from Tanzania to Haematology Departments in the UK. The programme had a significant impact on the development of human resources in haematology and blood transfusion, successfully training 17 specialists with a significant influence on delivery of health services and research. This experience shows how a self-sustaining, specialist medical education programme can be developed at low cost within Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) to rapidly enhance delivery of capacity to provide specialist services.