Kelli Kant, University of Illinois, July 7, 2013, Dinner with Professor Muhairwa

After a four-hour drive from Dar Es Salaam over bumpy gravel- paved roads, a troupe of tired veterinary students and veterinarians arrived in Morogoro. After unpacking and washing up, we went down to the restaurant to meet Professor Muhairwa. He was our contact person from Sokoine University of Agriculture’s Veterinary College. The veterinary college is the only veterinary college in Tanzania and was founded in 1976. In the beginning there were only 14 faculty and 10 students per class. Today, there are 80 students per class, with the majority of the students being male. The university houses over 3,000 students, studying a number of different disciplines. It is a public university the students can attend for free. The standard of teaching is higher at the public universities than at the private ones. All of the children are taught English from 7 until 14 and in college, all of the lecturers teach in English.

Over dinner, Professor Muhairwa explained the different veterinary medical practices in Africa. He explained that there were only ten small animal practices in all of Tanzania. Most recent graduate veterinarians work for the government or move to a different area for a guaranteed larger income. A major industry in Tanzania is the slaughter and care of the Zebu cattle. Zebu cattle produce 1-2 L of milk/ day. The milk is usually kept by the family that tends the herd. It is rarely processed or pasteurized, instead it is just boiled to destroy the harmful pathogens. Unlike Tanzania where most of the dairy industries are backyard operations, Kenya and South Africa have a bigger and more developed dairy operation. Because the cattle are not routinely vaccinated, many are infected with tuberculosis and/or brucellosis.

There is a lack of routine healthcare and clean water systems. The lack of sanitation is further complicated by the lack of population control. The professor said that in the next 25years the population in Morogoro is expected to double from 45 million to 90 million. Currently the percentage of HIV is reported at 7%, but this value may be an underestimation of the disease prevalence. Without proper population control, this value also will rise in the next 25 years.

The social structure of Tanzania is also quite different from the States, There are currently 20 tribes in Tanzania with about 200,000 people per tribe. Most of the tribes share land, culture and a lot of the same customs. Most of the people live in harmony with one another.
However, some of the problems that plague the States also plague Tanzania. In Morogoro, usage of illegal drugs is on the rise mostly in the form of hashish. Often the drugs are imported from Pakistan, Brazil, Turkey or Dubai

After an enlightening dinner and a quick 20 minutes in the lobby using the wifi, we all went to sleep. The next day was our first day of spays and neuters and we wanted to be well rested for a hard days work.