Tanzania Neurosurgery Project

About the Tanzania Neurosurgery Project
The Weill Cornell Medicine Neurosurgery Program in Tanzania was started by Dr. Roger Härtl in 2008. The program focuses on Bugando Hospital in northern Tanzania, a regional center that serves a population of 14 million people, and on the Muhimbili Orthopedic and Neurosurgery Institute in Dar es Salaam. The program consists of several components:
  • Dr. Härtl and his team train local surgeons to perform basic neurosurgical procedures using locally available equipment and resources. His team conducts “hands-on” training of doctors in Tanzania, empowering them with a high level of expertise in the management of neurosurgical disorders and neurosurgical procedures (Wait and Härtl 2010). Providing the highest level of surgical training to these eager, talented surgeons impacts every other level of care—nursing, anesthesia, intensive care treatment, general ward care. Setting the bar high encourages a positive response and team effort involving all areas (Härtl).
  • Promising surgeons are selected for a short-term observational fellowship at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. The purpose of this fellowship is to provide motivated surgeons the opportunity to experience high-level neurosurgical care firsthand. This also greatly facilitates the communication between the Weill Cornell team and the Tanzania surgeons once the surgeon has returned home.
  • Every year a neurosurgery meeting is organized with international faculty in East Africa that combines lectures, practical workshops, and live surgeries (Kahamba 2011). Surgeons and nurses from many African countries participate.
  • Regular conference calls and Skype conferences are held between the Weill Cornell team and their colleagues in Tanzania to discuss challenging cases and patient management.
  • A database and patient registry has been implemented that monitors surgical patient care and ensures quality (Winkler et
    al., 2010). The goal is to monitor outcomes of neurosurgical procedures in order to make decisions about the allocation of resources and the success of the current program.


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Dr. Härtl is planning his 2023 neurotrauma course already, as well as new courses focused on scoliosis and minimally invasive techniques. Please help support these efforts. You can also see photos and videos from the project on Facebook at the Tanzania Neurosurgery Project page.

 Dr. Härtl  recently appeared on The Neurosurgery Podcast to talk about the Tanzania project. Listen here:

Neurosurgery Podcast · Episode 56 - Global Neurosurgery: The Tanzanian Experience

Dr. Roger Härtl Named AANS Humanitarian of the Year
Dr. Härtl was lauded for his life-saving work in Tanzania and for his commitment to global neurosurgical education
In November 2019 Dr. Caitlin Hoffman performed the first-ever functional hemispherotomy in Tanzania on a four-year-old boy with intractable seizures. Dr. Hoffman was assisted by Dr. Whitney Parker, a Weill Cornell Medicine neurosurgical resident, as well as by Dr. Japhet Ngerageza, the patient’s attending neurosurgeon. The surgery was successful, and the little boy is now seizure free.

For the past decade, our neurosurgical program in Tanzania has focused on neurotrauma and birth defects largely because they affect children and young adults;...

Images of Tanzania

I came across the Weill Cornell Medicine Global Health Neurosurgery Fellowship by pure chance one evening last year in London, when I typed “global neurosurgery” into a search engine. I emailed Dr. Härtl immediately, attaching my CV and asking about...
Tanzania Neurosurgery Project

The Weill Cornell Medicine Neurosurgery Program in Tanzania, started in 2008 by Dr. Roger Härtl, focuses on Bugando Hospital in northern Tanzania and on the Muhimbili Orthopedic and Neurosurgery Institute in Dar es Salaam.

Weill Cornell Medicine Brain & Spine Center 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787