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The role of inter-institutional cooperation in surgical training and practice: A German-Tanzanian model

Sebastian Freudenberg
Charles Mkony
Torsten Wilhelm
Stefan Post


Objective: To highlight the feasibility and importance of inter-institutional cooperation, particularly between countries of the north and south, in improving and maintaining standards in medical training and practice.

Setting and sources: A four-year academic exchange program was set up between the departments of Surgery at Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the Mannheim Faculty of Medicine of Heidelberg University, Germany.

Methods: Contact was first initiated between the heads of department at the two institutions and communications was almost entirely through e-mail. A Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions was prepared and signed. The program was sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and involved exchange of teaching material, diagnostic equipment and 30 students, residents and surgical teachers between the two institutions over the 4 year period. A number of research projects were also initiated between the two departments.

Conclusion: Academic Exchange programs between institutions in developed and developing countries can provide badly needed technical cooperation and valuable experiences for students and staff from both sides of North-South divide in addition to forging lasting professional and personal relationships between those taking part in the exchange programs.

Keywords: Surgical training, North-South divide, academic exchange programs, Tanzania, Germany