Sustainable reduction of child mortality by qualified health personel

This project received the Else Kröner-Fresenius Prize for Medical Development Cooperation 2016, worth 100,000 euros, and was scheduled to run until 2020. The Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation (EKFS) awarded the project for its exemplary concept, its sustainability and its importance for the health care of children and young people in Tanzania.

First steps

In 2006, Dr Christian Schmidt, current GTP Chair, initiated a three-year paediatric specialist training programme at Bugando Medical Center/Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences in Mwanza (Tanzania). Together with other GTP members (Dr Werner Schimana, PD Dr Carsten Krüger), he developed a practice-oriented curriculum, which was approved by the university and state authorities in the same year. At that time, there were only 56 paediatricians for over 17 million children in the whole country. Until then, the fee-based academic specialist training (Master of Medicine) was only possible at two universities (Moshi, Dar es Salaam).

From 2006 to 2016, more than 25 paediatricians could be trained in Mwanza, all of them working in the country, 11 of them at Bugando Medical Centre itself.

In 2008, Dr Schmidt handed over responsibility for implementation to GTP member Dr Antke Züchner, who fulfilled this task until 2016. Then the management of the programme passed into Tanzanian hands. Every year, due to the glaring shortage of doctors, GTP lecturers from Germany came to Mwanza to teach paediatric subspecialties.

Further developments

The project involved extending specialist training to the University of Dodoma. The paediatric department there is headed by a Tanzanian paediatrician who was himself trained in Mwanza. The specialist programme in Dodoma was designed along the lines of Mwanza, is accredited by the state and has also been supported by German lecturers from the GTP since 2017. Increasingly, however, lecturers from other universities in Tanzania are to be included in the sense of a South-South exchange.

GTP used the prize money to support four project components:

  1. Co-financing stipends over 3 years to participants of the Master of Medicine programmes in Mwanza and Dodoma
  2. Financing visits for on-the-job training of participants in African neighbouring countries and Germany
  3. Technical and structural support of the specialty programmes (medical devices, textbooks etc.)
  4. Co-financing visits of guest lecturers from Germany, Tanzania and African neighbouring countries.

We would like to thank the EKFS for the award and, by supporting this specialist programme, we remain committed to creating sustainable structures to improve child and adolescent health in Tanzania.