Tanzania has the lowest ratio of physicians to patients in the world -- one physician per 50,000 patients, says the study's senior investigator, Dr. Daniel Fitzgerald, co-director of the Weill Cornell Medical College's Center for Global Health. The Center has programs in Brazil, Haiti, Tanzania and other countries.
"Of the 42 million people living in Tanzania, approximately 34 million will never see a doctor in their lifetime," says Dr. Fitzgerald. "This lack of human health resources contributes to Tanzania's major health inequities and motivates Weill Cornell in its mission to deliver the best education possible to future Tanzanian physicians."
Since arriving at Weill Bugando Medical College, Dr. Peck has coordinated in-hospital training of Tanzanian students and residents in the Department of Medicine. He also conducts research on the epidemiology and optimal management of chronic diseases in Tanzania, including hypertension, kidney disease, and diabetes.
This study aimed to provide a profile of diseases in Tanzania that result in hospitalization, Dr. Peck says. It recorded diagnoses of patients admitted to the 900-bed hospital between 2009 and 2011, along with their age, sex, length of hospitalization, and in-hospital mortality.
The researchers documented 11,045 admissions during this time period; the median age for hospitalized patients was 40 years old. They found that non-communicable diseases accounted for nearly half of admissions, hospital stays, and deaths. Hypertension-related diseases were the most common non-communicable disease.
The leading three causes of death were HIV (684 deaths), hypertension (314 deaths) and non-hypertensive heart failure (123 deaths). Of the 10 most common causes of death, six -- or 45 percent -- were due to non-communicable diseases. Hypertension accounted for 34 percent of these deaths and 15 percent of all deaths.
|Contact: Gerard Farrell|
Weill Cornell Medical College