Cuban trainers to help university with its medical education

Cuban trainers to help university with its medical education
Fecha de publicación: 
11 March 2024
Imagen principal: 

At least 15 healthcare trainers from Cuba will be joining Tanzania’s Mwanza University during the 2025-26 academic year to alleviate staff shortages, reported various local news organisations.

Cuba’s ambassador to Tanzania, Yordenis Despaigne, made the announcement when he recently visited Mwanza University.

Prior to the ambassador’s visit, Mwanza University had requested teaching staff from Cuba through Tanzania’s ministry of health, according to local news outlets.

The university, which started enrolling students only in 2023, is new and has had some trouble securing staff for its school of medicine, according to Vice-Chancellor Professor Flora Fabian.

Continental healthcare staff shortages

Speaking to University World News, Fabian said: “The impact that these healthcare professionals or lecturers from Cuba will have on Mwanza University, definitely, is to relieve the [staff] scarcity we have. They will fill the gaps that exist.”

Fabian said staff shortages in the faculty of medicine were not peculiar to Mwanza University.

“We know that there is a scarcity of lecturers, especially senior qualified lectures, in most of our universities, probably not only in Tanzania but in many universities in Africa which teach healthcare professionals.

“So, we never have enough [lecturers] and currently that is why we have reached out to Cuba … in the country we can get a few [lecturers] but we cannot get enough.”

Fabian told The Citizen that Mwanza University had also enlisted the services of scholars from neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Uganda to teach students alongside local staff while the university awaits the arrival of experts from Cuba.

Why Cuba?

One of the major reasons Mwanza University targeted Cuba for assistance, according to Fabian, is that the country has a strong healthcare system.

Said Fabian: “We know Cuba has very good, skilled, healthcare professionals and this will definitely have a very positive impact on our students and, of course, benefit the other lecturers of Mwanza University.”

Because of its reputation in the field of healthcare, Cuba is the country of choice for many Tanzanians seeking training in the healthcare sector.

At least 200 Tanzanians are currently pursuing medical doctor courses in Cuba, Cuban ambassador Despaigne was quoted as saying.

Training programme

Mwanza University is, over time, going to train more of its own staff, according to Fabian.

She said Mwanza University trained some staff before its opening to cater for its first batch of students. However, there was a need to train more staff, especially those who teach clinical sciences.

Said Fabian: “In the next academic year, we plan to train more than 13 clinicians who will be lecturers in the various clinical departments by the time we start clinical training in hospitals.”

Professionals trained by Mwanza University were going to work with experts from Cuba, said Fabian. In the long run, however, the university was aiming to build its own staff capacity.

The university aims to train quality staff in line with its motto: ‘We train for the world!’ Fabian said. Mwanza University’s goal was to train medical personnel who would be able to work internationally. “We want to train students who can fit in, not only with the Tanzanian healthcare system or the region, but globally.”

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