Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 33, Supplement 1, pp S45–S63 | Cite as

Emergence of a university of health sciences: Health professions education in Tanzania

  • Charles A Mkony


From independence in 1961 Tanzania approached development with an ambitious, socialist agenda, including plans for educating its health workforce to reach rural villagers whose needs German and British rulers had relegated behind those of Europeans, Indians, and Arabs. The new nation's health system was to provide services by employing non-elitist university graduates and auxiliary health workers – educated using resources of poor Tanzanians. This article documents how the Muhimbili University of Allied Health Sciences (MUHAS) evolved from independence, gaining its charter in 2007. Faculty face overwhelming challenges to prepare graduates to lead a health system where the workforce numbers, in every category of auxiliary and professional, have not kept pace with a population that has quadrupled since 1961. The article reviews development of what are now the MUHAS Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Public Health and Social Sciences – in their social and economic context. It closes with reflections about important changes for MUHAS since independence. MUHAS and other health professional schools need to collaborate, sharing meager national resources, to dramatically scale up enrollment. Graduates lead the health system and the many schools that educate health workers from village health post managers through referral hospital specialists and researchers. The text is accompanied by a detailed timeline.


health sciences’ university health professions education Tanzania university development health workforce 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles A Mkony
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgerySchool of Medicine Muhimbili University of Allied Health SciencesDar es SalaamTanzania

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