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Treatment quality enhancement in surgical, maternal & paediatric care in Lindi and Mtwara regions in Tanzania

Promotion of basic surgical care in Tanzania could save thousands of lives. It would save many pregnant women and their unborn children in situations when delivery requires caesarean section. It would create a chance of proper development of newborns who urgently need surgery to treat congenital anus occlusion, incarcerated traditional hernia, congenital umbilical hernia, and vertebral canal hernia. It would also help save the ever increasing numbers of victims of road accidents, which are the main cause of deaths among people aged 15-29.

A huge problem in Tanzania is the lack of medical staff — especially doctors. This country, with a population of over 50 million, has slightly more than 100 surgeons. Lindi, a region inhabited by over one million people, has only one surgeon, Dr Ryszard Jankiewicz, the head of surgery department of St. Walburg's Hospital in Nyangao. A number of simple operations, such as an uncomplicated caesarean section, are carried out by assistant medical officers. However, they do not have sufficient skills to deal with the more difficult cases, for example such fairly frequent complications as obstetric fistula. It is also necessary to obtain funding for surgical treatment of post-birth changes in women and conditions in newborns. Another challenge is to ensure that people with injuries receive proper care — in particular the victims of road traffic accidents — whose numbers at the Nyangao hospital exceed 50% of the patients.

St. Walburg's Hospital in Nyangao covers an area with 200,000 people in the rural district of Lindi. In practice, it also attracts patients seeking help from villages as far as 250-300km away in Lindi region and the neighbouring region of Mtwara, as well as people from Mozambique's border areas.

Treatment quality enhancement in surgical, maternal & paediatric care in Lindi and Mtwara regions in Tanzania

The general objective of the project is to improve the quality of surgical treatment and care of mother and child in the regions of Lindi and Mtwara.

The planned measures include renovation and purchase of additional equipment for the operating theatres, outpatient clinic, delivery room and maternity ward at St. Walburg's Hospital in Nyangao. The rebuilding of the existing operating suite will make it possible to make room for a third operating theatre for emergency procedures, while the purchase of specialist ultrasonography equipment will allow 1,000 prenatal tests by the end of 2018 alone.

A key element in the project implementation will be the organisation of surgical placements for eight Tanzanian doctors, who will participate in at least 180 training procedures in general, gynaecological, and urological surgery. At least 12 doctors will take part in a seminar on the treatment of injuries. Training will also be provided for nurses and midwives from the regions of Lindi and Mtwara. 12 women will take up midwifery internships, while a further 30 will be able to attend a series of seminars on specialist midwifery.

The project will allow performing operations of obstetric fistula in at least 20 women. There will also be some 300 samples taken from hospital patients for histopathology testing, which will lead to the implementation of appropriate cancer treatment.