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From Lab to Theater: Building Anesthesia Capacity in Tanzania through a National Simulation Training Program

Jul 13, 2019

If you walk into a Gradian Simulation Lab in Tanzania, you may find a cohort of anesthesia providers from rural Tanzania varying in age, background, and level of experience – from no formal training to experienced anesthetists – managing a power failure in an emergency surgery . What might surprise you, however, are the smiles you would see on the faces of the providers, who, with the support of their peers and the guidance of local certified trainers, have just mastered a real-world simulation scenario and enhanced their capacity to deliver safe anesthesia care to their patients.

Since early 2019, more than 150 UAMs have been distributed to and installed in health facilities in all 26 regions of mainland Tanzania thanks to the country’s commitment to strengthening the health system and offering better care to all patients, particularly for pregnant women and newborns living in rural areas. 

With a growing need to expand and scale our user training, Gradian, in partnership with the Government of Tanzania and local entities like Kas Medics and the Benjamin Mkapa Foundation, launched state-of-the-art simulation laboratories and rolled out local and regional training programs for all UAM Users. These Sim Labs, hosted at educational institutions across the country — Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), and Bugando Medical Centre (BMC) — enable providers to attend centralized simulated practice in a safe learning environment, exposure to busy theaters and complicated cases under physician supervision. This national program aims to build the capacity of Tanzania’s anesthesia workforce and help sustain the Government’s crucial commitment to anesthesia technology. 

To date, the partnership has certified 33 trainers who have gone on to train 144 non-physician anesthetists (and counting) across the country.

Leveraging this new training infrastructure and a simulation-based curriculum developed by Tanzanian physicians, these partners — together with the Society of Anesthesiologists of Tanzania (SATA)—are ensuring that every anesthesia provider has access to high-fidelity product and skills training during their medical education and in real-world clinical practice, all with the aim to generate sustainable, system-wide improvements in anesthesia care and revolutionize surgical care in rural Tanzania. 

Check back here for training updates from the field.