Dar es Salaam — The medical community in Tanzania is still mourning the loss of a veteran specialist, Dr Simon Ntabaguzi–an expert in infectious diseases who succumbed to cancer of the oesophagus last week at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), at the age of 59. He is survived by two children. He battled for a long time with cancer. During his life he together with other healthcare professionals fought tuberculosis and HIV/Aids in society. For a long time, he worked at MNH, Mwaisela Ward, as a medical specialist and mentor of junior doctors. “He served at the hospital since June 3, 1986, when he was first employed as a medical officer by then,” says MNH’s director of Human Resources, Makwaia Makani. His body was transported on Thursday for burial in his home district of Sengerema, Mwanza Region. Dr Ntabaguzi will be remembered for having mentored a number of healthcare professionals in the country and his ability to impart skills on how to combat infectious diseases. He became more popular in 2014, when Tanzania was guarding itself from an outbreak of Ebola which had occurred in West Africa. Over 10,000 people died of an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa–Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned all countries across the world to take precautions and Tanzania was no exception. During that time, doctors feared that if an outbreak of Ebola occurred in the country, they were too ill-prepared to handle the emergency. MNH, in collaboration with the then Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, organised a team of doctors who would impart knowledge. Dr Ntabaguzi was at the forefront–given his experience. Yet, according to the presdent of the Medical Association of Tanzania(MAT), Dr Obadia Nyongole, the passing of Dr Ntabaguzi means that the health sector has lost a person whose work has shown the light for Tanzanian health workers on how to deal with epidemics.

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