Tropical Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI) Prof Eliningaya Kweka disclosed this change yesterday on the sidelines of the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) 2019 Annual Scientific Conference held at Bagamoyo, in Coast Region.
The theme of the conference was “Strengthening Research Environment and Partnerships in Tanzania” and involved researchers from TPRI, Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) and the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH).
Others were the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and representative from the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children, plus the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Governments) (PO-RALG) as well as regional officials for Dar es Salaam and Coast regions.
The findings were obtained after the institute conducted monitoring of pesticides management in vegetables and consumers, he said.
Prof Kweka noted that the monitoring was done through the cholinesterase test to determine if vegetables had been exposed to and/or poisoned by certain organophosphate chemicals found in pesticides.
“Our findings have shown us that the number of people exposed to or poisoned by chemicals found in pesticides dropped in the past two years,” he said.
“The monitoring was successfully achieved after our team of experts conducted training and awareness to farmers on best ways of using pesticides to prevent exposure of consumers to poisonous chemicals,” he explained.
The team of experts is set to further scale awareness training to other users after successfully achieving training tea and coffee farmers, he said.
He however admitted that the use of pesticides had increased in the country, in which case the institute wants to ensure there was no misuse of pesticides.
“Pesticides are toxic in nature and therefore they must be used safely to increase productivity and protect human health and safeguard the environment, “he pointed out.
Prof Kweka noted that more farmers use pesticides as recommended by experts and therefore realise value for money as productivity increased.
For his part, the IHI Executive Director, Dr Honorati Masanja said the aim of the conference was to take stock of research work in the past two years conducted by the institute.
He highlighted that research reports on malaria, maternal health and new -born and HIV/TB would be available around the conference.
The researcher hinted that it was also an opportunity to engage stakeholders to examine their work, noting that this year more space was given for young researchers.
During the conference, a total of 62 presentations will be tabled, with intention to select the best research presentation for recognition at the end, he told participants.
“Our institute has done a number of researches that have contributed a lot in the fight against diseases like malaria, the most acute and deadly tropical disease,” he said.
The institute conducted studies on the use of mosquito nets to prevent people from malaria arising from mosquito bites during post-midnight hours.
IHI also conducted malaria vaccine research whose efficacy is still being tested by the World Health Organisation (WHO), he added .