HKMU Short Report

Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, Tanzania

Site Visitors:

Site Visitors:

From the Advisory Committee: Prof. Francis Omaswa and Prof. Abraham Halieamlak.

Advisory Committee Host: Prof. Paschalis Rugarabamu.

From the Secretariat: Prof. Prof. Candice Chen and Prof. Huda Ayas.

From the left: Dr. Felician Rutachunzibwa, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at
 HKMU, Prof. Omaswa (Makerere), Prof. Chen (GW), Ms. Rose Nakyanzi,
Faculty Administrator at HKMU, Prof. Ayas (GW) and Prof., Halieamlak (Jimma).

The United Republic of Tanzania is an eastern African nation with 38.7 million people, 76.9% of whom live in rural areas. The high burden of disease and poor health conditions remains a major challenge facing the health sector. Tanzania faces a severe shortage of healthcare workers. According to the Tanzanian Ministry of Health’s Mapping Survey of 2006, there are only four 4 doctors per 100,000 people in Tanzania, well below the average of 20 per 100,000. Hubert Kairuki Memorial University (HKMU) is one of five medical schools in Tanzania. It is a private non-profit medical school.

Hubert Kairuki Memorial University (HKMU) and the Mission Mikocheni Hospital.

Professor Rugarabamu organized an informative site visit that introduced the SAMSS team to HKMU. Hubert Kairuki, a Makerere-educated Tanzanian physician, founded HKMU as a private non-profit institution in 1997. Its vision is: “To become a model private university in Africa that provides high quality education, conducts research and provides service to the public.” The strong leadership of HKMU has consistently focused on both excellence in the process of educating physicians and meeting Tanzania’s health care needs.

The SAMSS team visits one of the surgical wards where HKMU students are trained.

HKMU enjoys a strong reputation. HKMU graduates are rated highly by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Education, the community, and their preceptors. In addition, fifth year HKMU students report that they feel well prepared to begin their field career.

Students studying in a classroom at HKMU.

The University has many partnerships with the community including a shared water well with a village, a maternal and child health program, a radio education program and free medical care for local primary school children during school hours. HKMU also has important partnerships with the public sector, sending students to Amana and Mwananyamala Municipal Hospitals where students gain important clinical experience and are exposed to real life working conditions.

Students complete clinical rotation attachments at Amana Municipal Hospital.

In response to Tanzania’s shortage of human resources for health, the government has established a cost sharing policy in which it provides students with grants and partial loans to cover medical school tuition at private Universities such as HKMU. This policy has helped students who do not have the financial means to pay tuition, and to increased enrollment at HKMU. HKMU has increased its enrollment from its initial goal of 50 to 80 students per year.

Prof. Rugarabamu (far right) facilitates a meeting between the SAMSS site visit
team and faculty at the Amana Municipal Hospital: Dr. Meshack Shimwela (second
 from left), Dr. Jamhuri Kitange (third from left) and Dr. Josephat Mponji (center).

In order to meet the increasing demands of expansion while continuing to provide high quality education, research and service to the community, HKMU has instituted a number of strategies and innovations, including:

  • A curriculum designed using a problem-based approach focused on the prevailing health problems in Tanzania.
  • A pre-university program that has increased access to medical education by opening an avenue for students from rural areas.
  • Post-graduate training programs in Surgery, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Ob-Gyn, which bolster the University leadership’s efforts to promote faculty career development through post-graduate training sponsorship.
  • A commitment to develop research capacity and pursue research innovations that take advantage of Tanzania’s rich biodiversity.


The HKMU team meets with Professor Esther Mwaikambo’s research team.

Hubert Kairuki Memorial University presents an innovative model of a private non-profit medical school that is deeply committed to its country’s needs. The site visit team was impressed by the strong leadership at HKMU and their commitment to leverage innovation to meet the health care needs of Tanzania while maintaining the quality of the school’s graduates.

HKMU’s logo encompasses its vision “To become a model private university
in Africa that provides high quality education, conducts research and provides
service to the public.”

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