Support to establishing BSc Occupational Therapy in Tanzania

Volunteering in Tanazia

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If you are interested in volunteering please contact 

  • Godfrey Kimathy, President, Tanzania Occupational Therapy Association (TOTA) -

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My name is Godfrey Kimathy, President of the Tanzania Occupational Therapy Association (TOTA), and I am writing this email to you requesting the Ireland Association of Occupational Therapists to support us with the current process of establishing the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy in Tanzania.

Since 2000 when the first Diploma in Occupational Therapy program was established in Tanzania, this program has been the only opportunity for OT education in this country. Graduates of this program have been facing challenges in pursuing further education in OT because of the absence of a higher level OT program for them to pursue in this country. Very few have been able to afford studying abroad, and several others have shifted to other professions. Until 2017, the total number of all Occupational Therapists that shifted to other professions was 19 of the 68 local Occupational Therapists that have graduated in total since the inception of the program. This is more than 27% of all the graduates. 

We are expecting a bigger number of OTs who have graduated from 2019 onwards since they will soon be eligible for pursuing further studies as per the government regulations (working for at least three years before going for further studies), and by far this is going to be the largest as since 2018 we have seen an exponential growth of OT students enrollment in the diploma program. The rest of those who won’t shift to other professions will continue practicing and possibly retire with the same diploma level they graduated with. This has been a stumbling block in furthering the profession in the country due to the low level of education of our practitioners which does not go hand in hand with the current global educational demands.

TOTA leaders have been approaching local universities since 2019 to establish Tanzania’s first Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy (BSc OT) program. However, the frequently encountered obstacle has been the absence of local OTs with qualifications to educate in BSc OT programs (current requirements demand at least five faculty members must be holders of master’s degree in OT). Recently however, our case has been taken into consideration by one of the leading Medical University in Tanzania and East Africa (Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences- MUHAS) in Dar es Salaam, and on 2021, the proposal to begin Tanzania’s first BSc in OT Program was accepted. While working with MUHAS in achieving this goal we have successfully developed a BScOT curriculum and it is expected for this BSc in OT program to begin in October 2022. At the moment, we do not have five local OTs with master’s level qualifications to be faculty members, so the University is keen to collaborate with foreign-trained OT educators who meet qualifications to assist in the initiation of this program.

As an association, TOTA has been tasked with assisting MUHAS with finding foreign-trained OTs who are willing to volunteer as faculty members for this BSc in OT program. We are looking for volunteers who will be willing to take on the role of teaching the courses be it for a short, medium or long term basis until the program becomes self sustainable.

To help us work toward a successful start with Tanzania’s first BSc in OT program, we are requesting your assistance with sharing our story to your association members in hopes of finding volunteers who are willing to come to Tanzania to aid in the infancy stage of this program. Even a couple of months on campus or virtually would be a tremendous help. We would also appreciate you passing the word to other to OT communities with whom your association is acquainted with, as well to all OTs who have retired but willing to help. Understanding that traveling to Tanzania may not be feasible for some who want to help, we are also happy to discuss flexible options for online teaching, as well. Lastly, if you have any ideas that will help us with our recruitment strategy for finding volunteer educators, we will appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.

Tanzania is an amazing and beautiful country that the volunteers will enjoy while they are helping with the noble job of establishing Tanzania’s first BSc in OT Program. We are looking forward to hearing back from you and to working with you in this amazing and historical project.

It is my hope that our story will be shared to as many OTs willing to help as possible. We are looking forward to hearing from you.


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