THE government has been challenged to take deliberate measures to address a critical shortage of registered surgeons as there are only two registered surgeons in the Southern Zone.
This was presented by President of the Tanzania Surgical Association (TSA), Dr Catherine Mng’ong’o, during the opening of the Association’s annual scientific conference and general meeting.
Dr Mng’ong’o said it was astonishing that Tanzania with more than 50 million people and the birth rate of about 4.5 per cent had only 314 registered surgeons and yet a substantial number of them was engaged in administrative functions.
“It is only about 50 per cent or less of these surgeons, who attend to patients, while the majority are not practising and are placed in administrative positions. That indicates that a good number of patients are being operated upon by medical officers, assistant medical officers and even clinical officers,” she said.
Giving statistics as of December last year, the TSA president said the Eastern Zone was leading with 154 registered surgeons, followed by the Lake Zone (40 registered surgeons), the Northern Zone (40 registered surgeons) and the Southern Highlands (20), Central Zone (20), Zanzibar (16), Army (13) and Southern Zone (2).
Dr Mng’ong’o noted that as a result of the serious shortage of surgeons recent surgical camps conducted by some TSA members across the Lake Zone hospitals revealed a shocking findings as far as a q ueue of patients waiting for operation was concerned.
She said at Mara Regional Hospital, for instance, it was revealed during a surgical camp held last two weeks that 475 patients were waiting to be operated by one surgeon, who also doubles as an administrator and the trend was almost the same at other hospitals.
Other patients, who were found waiting for surgical services with their numbers in brackets include Sekou Toure Regional Referral Hospital Mwanza (107), Geita Regional Hospital (195), Chato District Hospital (491), Shinyanga Regional Hospital (600) and Bugando Medical Centre (600).