Recently Dr Carol Onyango, our African Network Consultant and lead with our Tanzanian MUHAS initiative, met with key individuals involved in the project and compiled the following progress report.
The dental school started collecting cash payments for dental treatment in June 2013. The cash payments are proportionately much smaller than funds from insurance claims, which are processed and collected by the hospital. In a few months, the University will start to process and receive funds from the National Health Insurance for civil servants. This will supplement the cash payments and increase the funds available to the dental school. The dental school is also looking into paid outreach services with various companies for their employees, so as to supplement the dental school’s income.
Upcoming Opportunities and Challenges
- The school could attract more postgraduate students to their programs. Currently the annual cost of tuition for postgraduate is approximately $2,700. With more enrolled postgraduate students making maximum use of available resources, the school would also benefit financially
- There are very few distributors of dental materials in the country. Hence, the variety of quality products is limited and costly. Some dentists travel to Kenya to buy products and incur additional transportation costs on expensive retail prices.
- Taxation rates on dental products and dental product distribution companies in Tanzania contribute to their high costs. The Tanzania Dental Association worked with the government with the aim of reducing taxes on oral health products to make them affordable.
- The TDA is also trying to have toothpaste included among the essential items for health.
- Regular continuing education courses for dental therapists in the country that is tailor-made for their scope of practice. Currently, they take CE courses with dentists.
- Advertising the postgraduate programs of MUHAS at GCDFund’s E-depository (with India) to attract foreign students.
- In addition, GCDFund would like to contribute a 2-day training session in dental public health and a 2 day paediatric dentistry training session provided by Dr. Raman Bedi and Dr. Carol Onyango.
- A gathering of SDL Alumni from the region to share their current projects and discuss how to address various challenges that they may be experiencing
- Collaboration with Miracle corners of the world to provide CE courses for dental therapists.