Else Kröner Center for Advanced Medical & Medical Humanitarian Studies Würzburg – Mwanza/Tanzania

What began as town twinning between Würzburg in Germany and Mwanza in Tanzania back in the 1960s has evolved over the years into an intensive medical/scientific collaboration.
Local community get-together on Ijinga Island on Lake Victoria

Project management: Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg (JMU), Prof. Dr. Matthias Frosch

Cooperation partners: Deutsche Lepra- und Tuberkulosehilfe e.V. (DAHW), Missionsärztliches Institut Würzburg, University Hospital of Würzburg (UKW)

Partner country: Tanzania

Local partner organizations: Catholic University Health and Allied Sciences (CUHAS) in Mwanza and Bugando Medical Center Mwanza (BMC)

Term: 5 years

Among the activities enacted together are joint research projects and exchange programs for master’s students, next-generation physicians training to be specialists, and doctoral candidates. Collaboration is also performed in advanced clinical training. In particular, a non-profit program has been implemented toward combatting schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease that is widespread around Lake Victoria.

The creation of the “Else Kröner Center for Advanced Medical & Medical Humanitarian Studies Würzburg – Mwanza/Tanzania” is planned to enable the various activities to be strategically clustered and utilize the synergetic effects between the different initiatives in distinctly better ways. This deals first and foremost with the educational and advanced training of medical professionals and students, development of a joint curriculum, improving clinical healthcare for the population at the hospital, and providing improved healthcare along with public health campaigns on the community level all around Lake Victoria.

million people
live in the region around Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria

Roughly 16 million people live in the region around Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria – above all in remotely situated and not easily accessible villages at a distance from Mwanza, as well as on offshore islands. The expansion of the local health system and infrastructure was unable to keep pace with the population’s rapid growth. The lack of sanitary facilities, basic infrastructure and health services has led especially to many people who live there being afflicted with NTDs (neglected tropical diseases) associated with poverty. For instance, over 70 % suffer from schistosomiasis, a worm infection transmitted via contact with fresh water which, inter alia, leads to intestinal, liver and spleen damage, and in the worst case is fatal. All of the project partners there have jointly collaborated to implement a multidisciplinary program oriented to the communities to combat schistosomiasis, advance health education and improve the supply of medication.

70 %
of the people around Lake Victoria
are afflicted with schistosomiasis
KContaminated drinking water is one of the main sources for transmitting infections. A well for potable water was installed on Ijinga, an island on Lake Victoria, within the framework of the projects until now.
Medard Beyanga doing active research on TB: in 2016 still as student, today as doctoral candidate
Clean water via a readily drilled well

Combatting schistosomiasis is not going to be the only component of work at the Else Kröner Center. Beyond elements revolving around academic relationships and hospital medicine, health programs are supposed to be integrated from which the population directly benefits. For example, more of a focus is going to be placed on the diagnosis and treatment of other NTDs such as glaucoma. Intended is that over 300 healthcare professionals receive further training toward educating adults about NTDs within the course of village campaigns.

In addition, the focus is also on improving the training of young academics and clinicians, for example, as well as the training and further training of medical professionals in various areas of specialization At least 10 medical students are going to take part in a several-week-long exchange program between the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg and the Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences. Apart from that, a research program focussing on doctoral training is going to be established  to further improve medical care in Mwanza. And last but not least, staff at the clinics in Mwanza and Würzburg will be trained in using technical equipment.

You can also find more information on the website of the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg.