Initial audit of a basic and emergency neurosurgical training program in rural Tanzania

Jonah E. Attebery, Emanuel Mayegga, Robert G. Louis, Rachel Chard, Abednego Kinasha, Dilantha B. Ellegala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: As of 2006, only three formally trained neurosurgeons are licensed in Tanzania. Recently, efforts have increased toward training local Tanzanian physicians and assistant medical officers (AMOs) to meet the basic neurosurgical needs of nonurban areas. Between January and July 2006, an initial attempt at such an apprenticeship was undertaken with a locally trained AMO already performing general surgery at Haydom Lutheran Hospital, Tanzania. Methods: Fifty-one neurosurgical patients were identified and their patient charts were requested from the medical records office. Records were not available for 4 of the 51 patients for undeterminable reasons. Results: The neurosurgical infrastructure at HLH is basic but adequate for a number of procedures. Cases performed included ventriculoperitoneal shunts, repair of myelomeningoceles, and burr holes and craniotomies for trauma and biopsies. Of 51 patients initially identified, 14 (27%) were confirmed deceased and 20 (39%) confirmed living. The remaining 17 (33%) were lost to follow-up. There were no significant differences in the mortality rates of patients receiving care from the American-trained neurosurgeon and those receiving care from the Tanzanian AMO trained and mentored by the American neurosurgeon. Conclusions: This initial audit provides support for the development of limited neurosurgery programs in underserved communities. Combined utilization of available neurosurgeons and continued training for available local clinicians may help to meet this need.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-295
Number of pages6
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • Neurosurgical training program
  • Rural neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Initial audit of a basic and emergency neurosurgical training program in rural Tanzania'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this