Healthcare Technology Management (HTM): Transforming Lake Zone Patient Care by Establishing East Africa’s First Centre of Excellence in Biomedical Engineering at Bugando Medical Centre, Mwanza


Renae Stafford
Touch Foundation
Lucas Hille
Touch Foundation
Giulia Melfi
Touch Foundation


Rationale: The downtime of medical equipment and lack of mature health technologies are critical barriers to providing quality health services across Tanzania. Device upkeep is hindered by a shortage of trained technicians, lacking spare parts, and poor adherence to processes. Bugando Medical Centre (BMC) serves over 300,000 Outpatients/year, with a team of 8 biomedical technicians. Our 4-year Health Technology Management (HTM) program (now in Year3) is establishing a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Biomedical Engineering at BMC to serve as a regional hub.

Method: A baseline assessment of the department found significant gaps in technical capabilities, work processes, and infrastructure. These were addressed by developing three pillars of effective maintenance: establishing operational best practices (KPIs, Management Accountability), embedding critical systems and processes (Inventory, Preventative Maintenance), and delivering a holistic people strategy (performance management, talent development). The program employs an innovative co-investment strategy leveraging the financial, infrastructure, and management capabilities at BMC to ensure sustainability and co-led programming. 

Results: Operating Theatre equipment working time increased from 57% to 90%, meaning all theatres are now operational 24/7. They were reduced from an average of 14 days in 2018 to 3 days in 2020 through improved work processing. A new work order system was implemented, allowing engineers to carry out over 1,000 jobs/year, with IT dashboards to visualize data and trends. Additionally, the construction of a state-of-the-art engineering department was completed in Jan 2020, described by international experts as the best in Africa.

Conclusion: HTM is transforming the ability of biomedical engineers to serve the hospital and the region. The innovative program is saving lives by ensuring medical staff has working devices 24/7. According to a 2019 MOH audit visit, BMC Engineering is now Tanzania’s leading hospital department for data tracking, management through KPIs, and full implementation of 5S safety standards.

July 24, 2021