With a severe shortage of highly trained health professionals, Tanzania must make the best possible use of available human resources and support training institutions to educate more graduates. We highlight the overlooked but significant role of universities in collecting, managing, and using human resources data in Tanzania and in other countries struggling to build their health workforces. Although universities, professional councils, ministries of health, education, and finance, and non-governmental organizations in Tanzania all maintain databases that include details of health professionals' education, registration, and employment, they do not make the information easily accessible to one another. Using as an example Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences - the leading public institution for health professions education in Tanzania - we explore how training institutions can gather and use data to target and improve the quality of education for increasing numbers of graduates. We specifically examine the substantial challenge universities face in locating more members of each graduating class and conclude with recommendations about how the situation can be improved.