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EMS DATABASE
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TANZANIA
Tanzania
EAST AFRICA
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At-A-Glance

  • Not all hospitals have emergency care areas; if they do, they are typically understaffed and underequipped
  • Prehospital transport is very much dependent on region and can include both private and government-sponsored services
  • Generally, ambulance services are inadequate compared to wealthier countries, stemming from lack of staff or poor training and equipment
  • Transportation between facilities, such as from one hospital to another with a higher level of care, is sometimes provided by the facility, but there are geographic and infrastructural challenges
  • The US Embassy notes that the private hospitals in Tanzania provide superior care to the public hospitals, although neither are at the level of care found in the US

Scorecard
<10% of Seriously Injured are Transported by Ambulance

[Source: 2013 Global Status Report on Road Safety, WHO]

32.9 Road Traffic Injury Deaths per 100,000 population

[Source: 2015 Global Status Report on Road Safety, WHO]

What are common medical emergencies?
Road Traffic Injuries

According to the World Health Organization, Tanzania has a traffic fatality rate of 32.9/ 100,000 population, compared to just 10.6 in the United States (2015)

Infectious Disease

According to the CDC, the following infectious diseases are present in Tanzania:

  • Dengue
  • Cholera
  • Malaria: CDC estimates a high risk for travelers
  • Zika virus: Now endemic to Tanzania
  • Typhoid: Transmission through infected food or water
  • Yellow Fever: More likely in visitors with prolonged stays

How do I call for help?

112

As reported by the Tanzanian authorities in WHO’s 2013 Global Status Report on Road Safety, 112 is the official emergency number in Tanzania, routing to fire, police, and emergency medical services.

Can you actually call it though?

Anecdotal reports from our contacts on the ground say that 112 is unreliable– when called, it will often just “ring endlessly.”

Are there trained responders?

How will they transport me?

A study of Kilamanjaro Christian Medical Centre, a major referral hospital in the northern city of Moshi, found that there was no evidence of prehospital care in the region. The average time to arrival to the hospital was greater than 1 hour. A minority of patients were transported to the hospital in ambulances (see Rotich 2015).

Where will they take me?

Public hospitals in Tanzania can be roughly divided into 3 groups. First are district hospitals at the lowest level of care, next are regional hospitals, and last are national referral hospitals at the highest level of care. There are also private hospitals.

In a formal review, the Tanzanian government evaluated 35 district hospitals, 13 regional hospitals, 3 special hospitals, and 4 referral hospitals. For a complete overview of the different levels of care in Tanzania along with resource and staffing requirements, see this document from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

A 2013 study that surveyed 10 hospitals found that none of the district hospitals surveyed had a triage area or emergency room. The study found a low level of emergency care training for staff across all of the types of hospitals (see Baker 2013).

How will I pay?
For U.S. Citizens

Check with your health insurer before traveling to Tanzania to see if they cover you overseas, and to see if they cover emergency evacuation in the event of a serious health issue.

See the US Department of State’s website on supplemental insurance coverage

ADDITIONAL INFO
Useful Links

References

  • Adhvaryu AR, Beegle K. “The Long-Run Impacts of Adult Deaths on Older Household Members in Tanzania.” Economic Development and Cultural Change; 2012;60(2):245–77.

  • Baker T, Lugazia E. “Emergency and critical care services in Tanzania: a survey of ten hospitals.” BMC Health Serv Res. 2013 Apr 20;13:140–9.

  • Casey ER, Muro F, Thielman N. “Analysis of traumatic injuries presenting to areferral hospital emergency department in Moshi,Tanzania.” Int J Emerg Med. 2012 Jul 30;5(28):1–7.

  • Chalya PL, Dass RM, Mchembe MD, Mbelenge N, Ngayomela IH, Chandika AB, et al. “Citywide trauma experience in Mwanza, Tanzania: a need for urgent intervention.” J Trauma Manag Outcomes; 2013 Nov 11;7(1):1–1.

  • Chalya PL, Mabula JB, Dass RM, Mbelenge N, Ngayomela IH, Chandika AB, et al. “Injury characteristics and outcome of road traffic crash victims at Bugando Medical Centre in Northwestern Tanzania.” J Trauma Manag Outcomes. BioMed Central Ltd; 2012 Feb 9;6(1):1.

  • Cox M, Shao J. “Emergency medicine in a developing country: Experience from Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Tanzania, East Africa.” Emerg Med Australas. 2007 Oct;19(5):470–5.

  • Evjen-Olsen B, Olsen Ø, Kvåle G. “Achieving progress in maternal and neonatal health through integrated and comprehensive healthcare services – experiences from a programme in northern Tanzania.” Int J Equity Health. 2009;8(1):27.

  • Little RM, Kelso MD, Shofer FS, Arasaratnam MH, Wentworth S, Martin IBK. “Acute care in Tanzania: Epidemiology of acute care in a small community medical centreLes soins aigus en Tanzanie: Épidémiologie des soins aigus dans un petit centre médical communautaire.” Afri J Emerg Med; 2013 Dec 1;3(4):164–71.

  • Lund Sorensen B, Bruun Nielsen B, Raschl V, Elsass P. “User and provider perspectives on emergency obstetric care in a Tanzanian rural setting: A qualitative analysis of the three delays model in a field study.” African Journal of Reproductive Health. 2011 Sep 1;15(2):117–30.

  • Nicks BA, Sawe HR, Juma AM, Reynolds TA. “The state of emergency medicine in the United Republic of Tanzania.” Afri J Emerg Med; 2012 Sep 1;2(3):97–102.

  • Pereira C, Mbaruku G, Nzabuhakwa C, Bergström S, McCord C. “Emergency obstetric surgery by non-physician clinicians in Tanzania.” Int J Gynaecol Obstet; 2011 Aug 1;114(2):180–3.

  • Reynolds TA, Mfinanga JA, Sawe HR, Runyon MS, Mwafongo V. “Emergency care capacity in Africa: A clinical and educational initiative in Tanzania.” J Public Health Policy 2012 Dec 5;33(S1):S126–37.

  • Rotich, CC. Evaluating Access to Prehospital Care for Traumatic Brain Injury Patients in a Resource Limited Setting: Focus on Prehospital Transport. Inj Prev 2015;21:A9.
  • Schmid T, Kanenda O, Ahluwalia I, Kouletio M. “Transportation for Maternal Emergencies in Tanzania: Empowering Communities Through Participatory Problem Solving.” Am J Pub Health. 2001 Oct 17;91(10):1589–90.

  • Spangler SA. “Assessing skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care in rural Tanzania: the inadequacy of using global standards and indicators to measure local realities.” Reproductive Health Matters; 2012 Jun 1;20(39):133–41.

Government Oversight
Directing Agencies

All healthcare related activities in Tanzania are governed by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children. However, there are no national guidelines or governance in Tanzania specifically for prehospital emergency care.

Telecommunications Regulation
Official Partners

Twitter Feeds
@EMAT_info- Emergency Medicine Association of Tanzania
Disclaimer

This database page is intended for informational purposes only, and in no way pretends to be an official directory with comprehensive and/or real-time information. Given the difficulties we’ve found in our own work finding reliable information on emergency medical systems in many countries, we thought it useful to post and share this information for public use. Any data, links, reports, assessments, opinions or other pertinent information should always be double-checked directly with the source. If you wish to contribute to this or any other database page, we’d be very happy to have the help! Please send us an email with “Database:[Country Name]” in the subject line.

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