DPM roots for research to fight disease burden

By Henry Mwangonde , The Guardian
Published at 08:56 AM May 15 2024
Deputy Prime Minister Dr Doto Biteko
Photo: Guardian Correspondent
Deputy Prime Minister Dr Doto Biteko

MORE research and innovation in the health sector is vital to counter the disease burden and foster development, the government has declared.

Representing Vice President Dr Philip Mpango, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Doto Biteko said at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) annual joint scientific conference that the government values research as a key to progress, as research gives meaning to plans.

Asserting that development is an output of research, he applauded innovative scientific research in the war against diseases, stressing that research should be conducted on a multi-sector basis.

Institutions such as NIMR must work to provide solutions to health challenges, build networks with other stakeholders in addressing health sector challenges, he said, while Dr Godwin Mollel, the sector deputy minister said the government has put in place various strategies to support research, including building research capacity.

“We need to train our people, empower them with the innovation capacity so they become world class scientists who contribute fully to the war against the burden of diseases,” he said.

Prof Said Aboud, the NIMR director general, said the conference offers space for dissemination of research findings, while scientific conference provides a platform to recognize excellence in science and promote innovation among young researchers.

The national research agenda is embedded in the NIMR strategic plan which promotes the use of research to contain the disease burden, he stated, pointing at NIMR research during four decades as pivotal in the fight against malaria, HIV, tuberculosis and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The NIMR research centre in Mwanza is working on a study to shorten TB treatment from six months to four by enhancing adherence and thus improve outcomes, he said, while Dr Mary Mayige, the research, information and regulatory affairs director for NIMR, emphasised multi-sector collaboration to contain non-communicable diseases.

Prof Sylvia Kaaya of the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), credited with 141 publications during her career, was given the lifetime health research award during the conference.

Dr Doreen Kamori also of MUHAS was presented with the newly launched Mwelecela Malecela Memorial innovative health award in honour of the late Dr Mwele Malecela, the third NIMR director general who died early February 2022.