A Hub for Global Health: Tanzanian delegations visit Faculty of Medicine

Faculty of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine

By Sébastien Chevrier

Advisor, Communications and Marketing, Faculty of Medicine

As a global health leader, the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine maintains privileged partnerships with universities around the world. Among these, the Faculty’s partnership the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCo) in Tanzania has allowed for many exchanges in recent months: after the trip of five students from the University of Ottawa to Tanzania last June, a delegation of professors and students from Tanzania came to Ottawa in recent weeks.

These visits, supported by the Global Health Program at the Faculty’s Internationalization and Global Health Office, are a continuation of the partnership activities between the two schools since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in November 2021. This partnership is based on three interconnected pillars: clinical partnership, public health partnership, and student mobility and coordination activities.


Given the depth of the program and activities, the KCMUCo delegation came to Ottawa in 2 groups: one from September 13 to October 13, the other from October 11 to 21.


The first group consisted of three Tanzanian clinical professors, Dr. Kennedy Misso, Dr. Raziya Gaffur and Dr. Luke Mwiga, who were welcomed by Dr. Fady Balaa, Dr. Wylam Faught and Dr. Wesley Rajaleelan and their colleagues from the Departments of Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Anesthesia.


The four-week observation focused on crucial clinical specialties, such as surgical oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, and pediatric anesthesia. These areas have been identified as needs by KCMUCo partners, and the uOttawa was able to respond effectively.


Dr. Rajaleelan emphasizes the importance of knowledge sharing for the improvement of medical care internationally. "It's an exchange of people, but it's really an exchange of ideas and an exchange of opportunities for us on this side to participate in work that will be meaningful," said Dr. Balaa. "This exchange also allows us to build our capacity, and that's what's most important to us," Dr. Rajaleelan added.

The second group included Dr. Florida Muro, Director of the Institute of Public Health at KCMUCo, and three Tanzanian medical students. Their two-week visit strengthened collaborations in the fields of public health education and research, including epidemiology and biostatistics. This period was also an opportunity to plan future two-way student mobility activities.


"I am thrilled to have had this opportunity to visit the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine, to share our knowledge," said Dr. Muro. "We have needs, especially in the field of biostatistics education, which we plan to meet with the experience gained here. Our clinicians, mainly specialists in surgical anesthesia, have also benefited greatly from this trip. They have created and strengthened bonds that will last in the years to come. This fruitful collaboration gives us great prospects for development, both for KCMUCo and for the University of Ottawa."


The second group was also able to attend the Canadian Conference on Global Health, which was held in Ottawa from October 16 to 18. Each year, this conference brings together researchers, health professionals, policymakers and students from different disciplines and sectors. They come together to address pressing global health issues. This year's theme, "Walking the Talk: How to Advance Policy, Research and Practice," provided an opportunity for in-depth discussions and encouraged collaboration among participants to think about future advances in global health.



"I'm beyond grateful for this wonderful opportunity to take part in this collaboration between KCMUCo and uOttawa. I'm looking forward to sharing my experience with the student body and staff at KCMUCo, and further engaging myself in research and public health issues through the knowledge and motivation I have acquired in my brief stay at Ottawa." said Amir Hashim Mgonja, a KCMUCo student participating in the Ottawa visit. "Last but not least, I hope to actively continue being part of this fruitful collaboration between KCMUCo and uOttawa."


Dr. Manisha Kulkarni, Associate Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa and Assistant Dean for Global Health, notes "These exchanges illustrate the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine's unwavering commitment to two-way learning and knowledge sharing as a major player in improving global health. International collaborations open our students and faculty to new ideas and practices, strengthening their ability to tackle health challenges in innovative ways.”


Looking back on the trip of 5 students from the Faculty to Tanzania in June 2023.


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