Dr. Warles Charles Lwabukuna – Transforming the future of Tanzania

Daisy WinnerBlog, Medicine, Tanzania

Dr. Warles Charles Lwabukuna’s dedication to the health of people in his home country, Tanzania, is clear. Currently working as an Assistant Lecturer at Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, Dr. Lwabukuna is simultaneously earning his Mmed degree in Internal Medicine. And for the last three years, he has worked alongside Global Health Service Partnership (GHSP) Volunteer Educators at HKMU to help train and empower even more health professionals for Tanzania’s future. Together, they are training the next generation of physicians and improving care for patients across the country.

We recently spoke with Dr. Lwabukuna about his experience as both a clinician and educator working in Tanzania, as well as his experience with GHSP Volunteers.

Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?

I am from Western Tanzania and but I completed my training as physician here at Hubert Kairuki. After leaving to complete an internship in northern Tanzania, I have returned to Kairuki as a guest lecturer in General Medicine.

Dr. Lwabukuna (right) with Dr. Jason Kroening-Roche

What has been your experience been like, working with GHSP Volunteer at Hubert Kairukis?

When the GHSP program started here at HKMU, I was actually a medical student. There was a shortage of teaching staff then, so GHSP helped to fill some of the gaps in faculty. Since then, I have worked with a number of GHSP Volunteers. When I joined as an Assistant Lecturer, I worked alongside Dr. Bill Kovacs and this year I have been working with Dr. Jason Kroening-Roche and Dr. Elise Duggan in the Internal Medicine Department.

The Volunteers that have come to work at HKMU have provided significant support to our department. We have many students with just a few staff. Dr. Kovacs, Dr. Kroening-Roche, and Dr. Duggan have taught courses, supervised clinical teaching, and represented our department well.

They have also supported me personally. As I have pursued further studies, they have helped me learn new things as both a clinician and an educator. Dr. Jason introduced me to new methods of grading and lecturing. Dr. Kovacs taught me a lot about cardiology, and helped us to get an EKG machine for the department.

What are some of the challenges that you face as a medical educator in Tanzania?

demonstrate skills to them all, especially while we teach in the wards.

The other challenge is that  I feel as that I don’t have enough time. We have a lot of subjects to cover but not enough time as we’d like to teach them all.

One of the biggest challenges is the limited supplies and equipment. We have to rely on clinical presentations of patients to determine a diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan, and that can be very difficult. And also, the large number of students can be difficult.  When you have 200 students in a class, it’s very hard to properly

What are your goals as a physician and educator working in Tanzania?

Well, as a physician, my goal is to make sure I am properly taking care of my patients – that I treat them well, and make sure they recover as soon as possible. I also try to devote some of my time educating my community on different diseases and how to prevent them.

As an educator, I am dedicated to making sure my students become good doctors, that’s why I teach them. I want to see my university and its students thrive.