Since 2009, several faculty members and resident physicians from Carolinas Medical Center’s (CMC) Department of Emergency Medicine have participated in an ongoing project aimed at developing a sustainable emergency medicine infrastructure in Tanzania.

Their efforts have focused on the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam where they have helped to develop and support an emergency department and emergency medicine residency program. Muhimbili National Hospital is a tertiary care center and the largest hospital in Tanzania, receiving patient referrals from all over the country. These patients have been seen and evaluated at lower level institutions and deemed too sick or injured or their care too complicated to be handled anywhere else. As such, the acuity level of the patients presenting to the emergency department is quite high.

To help ensure the long-term sustainability of the MNH emergency department and help establish the specialty of emergency medicine in Tanzania, the CMC emergency physicians helped to establish a three year Master of Medicine in Emergency Medicine Residency Program in conjunction with the adjacent Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. It is the only emergency medicine residency program in Tanzania and one of only a handful of such programs in sub-Saharan Africa. The first class of eight Tanzanian emergency medicine residents has just completed the program and will graduate in December 2013. Six residents are staying on as faculty members in the MNH Emergency Department and the other two have accepted positions at a local charitable hospital, where they plan to develop an emergency department and intensive care unit.

During their training, several of these doctors have come to Charlotte to observe clinical practice at CMC and participate in didactic and simulation sessions. The Heineman Foundation has provided significant administrative support to this program as well as housing for the visiting physicians.

In 2011, the CMC Department of Emergency Medicine established the Dr. Alwyn T. Andrew-Mziray Fund to honor the memory of a Tanzanian physician and emergency medicine pioneer. The fund helps support the staff of the MNH Emergency Department, with a focus on providing stop-gap funding to support Tanzanian emergency medicine residents who would otherwise not be able to afford the program. In Tanzania, residency training is a degree program, for which they must pay tuition and school fees. The Heineman Foundation generously provides free administrative and accounting support for this fund, allowing 100% of the money received to be used for the benefit of the Tanzanian emergency department staff.