Dermatologic care in Zanzibar and the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital

In the centre of Zanzibar Town there is the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, which is run by the government. The hospital has 400 beds and departments for the most important specialties. On the entire archipelago live approximately 1.3 million people and there is currently no dermatologist. If one would extrapolate the number of dermatologists per capita in the Netherlands to Zanzibar there would be work for at least 20 dermatologists. Two of the residents from Mnazi Mmoja Hospital will start there training in dermatology in Moshi, Tanzania. Their training will take approximately three years.

Mnazi Mmoja Hospital
Mnazi Mmoja Hospital

The healthcare system

In the Tanzanian healthcare system there are no family doctor as in the Netherlands. Skin diseases are therefore treated by pharmacists, health careworkers, traditional healers or by the patients themselves. There is a great need for dermatologists as well as a great need for dermatologic training. DSC_0272

Out patient clinic for Dermatology

In the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital (translated: mnazi=one, mmoja=palmtree) in Stone Town dermatology patients are being treated by physicians who are very dedicated but are not specially trained in dermatology. Moreover the medication needed to treat patients properly are not always available. For available drugs in Zanzibar click here. Furthermore patients with skin conditions are not properly attended to properly outside the hospital.

Polikliniek dermatologie
out patient clinicgoals for Dermatologists for Zanzibar

Dermatologists for Zanzibar

In November 2014 Pierre van Neer visited Zanzibar for the first time and made the first contacts. He also helpt local physicians during several very busy outpatient clinics. He visited the island again in June 2015, together with Kees-Peter de Roos. They acted as quartermasters for the project by talking to the Hospital director, the head of the medical staff and many others such as the pathologist, head of the laboratory, and of course the local doctors. The next step is to interest Dutch dermatologists to help ‘hands on’. In cooperation with the director and medical staff of the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital the Peregrinus Group wants to improve dermatologic healthcare in Zanzibar. Recently we started teledermatology. With this technique physicians can take photographs of the skin diseases of their patients. These are then encripted and sent to one of the Dutch dermatologists who will than give an advice. This is a simple, cheap and fast way (sometimes even the same day) of giving advice on diagnostic investigations and therapy to the local physicians. Moreover we would like to send Dutch dermatologists on a regular basis to supervise consultations in the hospital. The local physicians will be supervised ‘on site’ during their consultations by experienced dermatologists. One of the other goals will be to investigate – cooperation with the local doctors – dermatoses typical for this region.