Dar, Oslo varsities launch clinical ethical committee

DAR ES SALAAM: University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) in collaboration with the University of Oslo in Norway have launched a medical ethical committee at Mbeya Zonal Referral Hospital, being a strategy to geared to address ethical dilemmas that arise during services provision.

The event, held on Tuesday, 5th February, 2024, has been made possible through a five-year (2022-2026) joint Enhancing Ethics and Integrity in Medical Research and Clinical Practice (ETHIMED) programme.

The 12-man committee is composed of people from various disciplines including medical doctors, pharmacists, legal officers, as well as religious leaders, according to coordinator, Mr Lukas Kitula.

“Last year, we offered the medical ethical-related training to health service providers, and today, we embark on a-four-day capacity building training to members of the committee.

“We have started with this hospital. Having recorded the successes, we will introduce the same to others, country-wide. After the training, the committee will once again meet service providers, directing them how to report ethical dilemmas to the committee, for solutions,” he said.

Head of Philosophy and Academic at UDSM, Dr Michael Lyakurwa, explained that the new committee is also tasked to conduct researches, in efforts to have prior-solutions to possible medical dilemmas.

The research will be especially helpful to service providers, who unknowingly might make the mistakes, legal-wise, to patients and let the hospital be sued.

The medical ethics Lecturer at the University of Oslo, Dr Berit Larsen, commented that the committee is also for experience sharing between the countries, given the fact Norway has got same committee almost in all its hospitals, for about 25 years back.

The Committee will improve health service deliverance in Tanzania, since it sets medical officers accountable with no punishments, unlike the pure ethical committee.

The Hospital Director, Dr Godlove Mbwanji, admitted that the officers have been for long time failing to fight medical dilemmas when serving the patients, because they had nowhere exactly to report the challenges.

The newly launched committee therefore is going to solve such a long-lasting challenge, bringing in permanent solutions, said the Director.

“We are thankful that our hospital has become the first institution to benefit with this programme. Hopeful the committee is going to end all misunderstandings between service providers and our clients,” he said.

The Committee Chairperson, Dr Rehema Marando, supported the motion that the newly launched organ will be solving all the complaints, since it gives a chance for table discussion to anyone with complaints.

She admitted the presence of medical dilemma, sometimes being caused by patients who direct how to be medically treated, contrary to medical approaches and professionalism.

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