With less than 50 physician-level anaesthesiologists to cover a population of over 58 million Tanzania, like many countries, has a severe shortage of trained anaesthesia providers. This is especially evident when seen in the light of the WHO-WFSA International Standards for a Safe Practice of Anesthesia which highly-recommends a minimum of 5 anaesthesia providers per 100,000 people. Tanzania makes up for this shortfall through the use of non-physician anaesthesia providers to deliver the majority of anaesthesia provision.
To support nurse anaesthesia providers with the continued medical education they need to deliver safe anaesthesia, WFSA have partnered with the Society of Anaesthesiologists of Tanzania (SATA) to lead the way in providing anaesthesiologist-led education and training opportunities.
Through the generous support of the Laerdal Foundation, the WFSA-SATA partnership’s Safer Anaesthesia from Education (SAFE) Obstetrics training has been delivered in six regions of Tanzania to 135 participants and inaugural SAFE Paediatrics course was recently delivered in Dar Es Salaam to 38 participants.
With the ongoing success of SAFE courses in the country, the WFSA and SATA are now working together to introduce the Vital Anaesthesia Simulation Training (VAST) to Tanzania. The VAST Course is a three-day simulation-based training programme designed to focus on core clinical practices and non-technical skills that promote safe perioperative care in low-resource settings. The course uses low-cost materials in an immersive simulated environment to replicate cases commonly managed in district hospitals.
To ensure the sustainability of this learning, a two-day VAST Facilitator Course (VAST FC) will also be delivered which focuses on the theory and skills behind effective simulation facilitation for the VAST Course. Ongoing mentorship of trainee facilitators, during subsequent VAST Courses, will develop the local capacity for the sustainable delivery of VAST and simulation-based education in the future.
With a strong and enthusiastic group of anesthesiologists in SATA who can deliver the SAFE and VAST courses independently, there is now an established leadership for anaesthesiologist-led training in Tanzania. WFSA hope to continue its partnership with SATA to reach more regions of Tanzania with anaesthesia education and to embed such training into national surgical, obstetric and anaesthesia planning.