Dar es Salaam — Tanzania is facing a shortage of 157 anaesthesiologists, experts say, noting that the current number only meets about 22 per cent of the country’s demand.

The Society of Anaesthesiologists of Tanzania (Sata) said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that among other factors, the shortage is due to the tendency by most students pursuing medical profession opting for other health sciences.

Sata president Mpoki Ulisubisya said at the sixth Sata Annual General Meeting yesterday that currently, Tanzania only has 43 anaesthesiologists, further noting that the number would increase to at least 50 at the end of this academic year.

An anesthesiologist administers patients with medication so they do not feel pain during surgery.

They are also involved in a range of other medical procedures, including carrying out assessments in critical care units, dealing with emergency situations, and giving advice about pain management.

“For a country like Tanzania, there should be at least 200 anaesthesiologists to ensure sustainable delivery of anaesthesiology services, ” said Dr Ulisubisya.

This year’s Sata AGM was graced by the executive director of the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), Prof Lawrence Museru.

The participants shared knowledge and experience on improving anaesthesia services, particularly to survivors of road accidents. The event also featured an exhibition of various anaesthesia machines.

In a fresh bid to address the shortage of anaesthesiologists in the country, the government on April 7 in partnership with Gradian and Kasmedics companies launched Anaesthesia and Critical Care Simulation Laboratory at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (Muhas) focusing on generating competent anaesthesiologists.

Furthermore, the government is set to establish other two anaesthesia laboratories at KCMC College of Health and Allied Sciences in Moshi and Bugando University College of Health Sciences in Mwanza, said Sata president.

“The aim is to equip the medical students in the colleges with necessary skills and competencies in health laboratory sciences so as to address the shortage of human resources for health, ” said Dr Ulisubisya.

For his part, Prof Museru said, “It is true, for many years, the shortage of anesthesiologists has continued to persist in the country.”

He further said that there was a great demand for the service regarding the fact that the number of patients who require preoperative care was increasing in the country due to road accidents.

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