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Susannah Baron

Susannah Baron: On education and economics

30 Mar, 12 | by BMJ

There are many differences between healthcare and medical education in Tanzania and in the UK, but the concept I find hardest to understand is “attendance or sitting allowance.” This allowance is paid to all staff who attend courses for their healthcare education and it seems that staff will not attend educational events unless they are paid their attendance allowance. The allowance can be a significant sum and the educational facility providing the training event is expected to cover the cost.

Apparently this practice originated many years ago when the WHO began running educational events and courses about HIV/AIDS and now seems to be ingrained. I am used to a society where we seek and pay for medical education and now with the reduction of study budgets it is common practice to self-fund attendance at courses and meetings. more…

Susannah Baron: On national strikes and difficult dermatology

1 Mar, 12 | by BMJ Group

You probably have not heard about the Tanzanian health strike, which has had a major impact on healthcare in the country recently. The strike, as far as I could gather was about pay. It seems that the new interns had not been paid for their first 3 months work and the government were also wishing to reduce the payments for on-calls, which as you can imagine was most unpopular. When I talked to one of our Tanzanian residents it seemed that the doctors wanted a 150% pay rise! With the advent of modern technology the strike was orchestrated by mobile phones and the doctors were informed whether they should attend work or not by text message. We found it quite confusing at the Regional Dermatology Training Centre (RDTC) as all the residents turned up for the 8am teaching lecture and then many disappeared before clinic or the ward round! After a week many of the nurses joined the strike as well. more…

Susannah Baron: Will there be Lego in Africa?

21 Feb, 12 | by BMJ Group

I have to admit that after working for the NHS for 19 years I felt the need for a different challenge. I was four years into my appointment as a consultant dermatologist in East Kent, and although I enjoyed the clinical work, I was finding the fluctuations in health service politics somewhat exhausting. My sons, Zac and Josh, aged 7 and 6, were very happy in our local village school, and my husband Aaron was planning his PhD. more…

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