Close
Explore more Centres, Projects and Groups
Welcome
Welcome Banner
Mwanza by Alex Wright

LSHTM in Tanzania

Improving public health research in Tanzania through joint research and capacity-building, including through better communications and networking for LSHTM staff, students, and alumni in Tanzania.

Bottom Content
About us

The LSHTM Tanzania network gathers LSHTM staff, students, and alumni in Tanzania.

About
About LSHTM Tanzania

Welcome to the website of the LSHTM Tanzania network. Our overall aim is to improve public health research in Tanzania through joint research and capacity-building, including through better communications and networking for LSHTM staff, students, and alumni in Tanzania.

Membership

Membership is open to LSHTM and collaborative site staff and research degree students whose work involves Tanzania; MSc students, both distance learning and face to face, who are Tanzanian or resident in Tanzania; and actively interested alumni linked to Tanzania. To subscribe or unsubscribe please see the links below.

Activities

We have an email list with a quarterly newsletter and we plan to hold a scientific  launch meeting in the first half of 2015.

Who's who

  • Administrative support: Amina Farah.
David Mabey Professor of communicable diseases LSHTM
Alphaxard Manjurano Scientist NIMR Mwanza
Dominick Mikulski Finance & Administration  MITU
Natacha Protopopoff Assistant professor of Entomology LSHTM
Joanna Schellernberg Professor of Epidemiology & International Health LSHTM
Mr. Donat Shamba Research scientist Ifakara Health Institute
Michelle Remme Research scientist Ifakara Health Institute
Hilary Whitworth Scientist MITU
Florida Muro Phd fellow Thrive Kcmc
Jim Todd Scientist NIMR Mwanza
Christian Hansen Assistant professor in Medical Statistics and Epidemiology LSHTM
Saidi Kapiga Director MITU MITU

Get in touch! 

We’d like to hear from you! Please send your news items and other contributions to: Amina Farah, amina.farah@lshtm.ac.uk

Subscribing and unsubscribing 

Our current website is available here.

News & events
Events List Block
News Tanzania

Over the next few months, there are several meetings and opportunities to network taking place.  Some of these are focussed on disciplines (such as biostatistics) but please tell us of these opportunities, so that we can maximise the attendance and their impact.

Sub-Saharan African Network Conference, 22 - 25 August 2017

The Sub-Saharan African Network within the International Biometrics Society will take place in Lilongwe, Malawi (https://www.ibssusanconference.org/).  Abstracts to present at the conference are open until 15th June, and travel scholarships are available to IBS members.

Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene Meeting, 29 September – 1 October 2017

The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene is holding its first research in progress meeting in Moshi, Tanzania (https://rstmh.org/events/african-research-progress-abstract-submission-now-open).  The call for abstracts is currently open until 24th July, with abstracts being sought particularly from early career scientists and clinicians.

Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association Conference, 20 - 23 November 2017

The Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association (http://samsa-math.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/SAMSA-2017-2nd-Call.pdf) is holding its annual conference in Lush Garden Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania and will be an ideal conference for those with statistical as well as mathematical results.  Abstracts are open until mid-September.

LSHTM-Tanzania Network Meeting, 18 - 22 September 2017 (LSHTM Week)

The Network will also plan to hold a meeting during this year’s LSHTM Week, for all those who would like to attend.  Further details for the meeting will be circulated in advance, and as part of the programme for LSHTM Week.

Newsletters
Newsletters Tanzania

LSHTM Tanzania Network Newsletter - Issue 1:  August 2014

About the LSHTM Tanzania network

Joanna Schellenberg writes: Welcome to the first quarterly newsletter of the LSHTM Tanzania network. Our overall aim is to improve public health research in Tanzania through joint research and capacity-building, including through better communications and networking for LSHTM staff, students, and alumni in Tanzania.

Membership is open to LSHTM and collaborative site staff and research degree students whose work involves Tanzania; MSc students, both distance learning and face to face, who are Tanzanian or resident in Tanzania; and actively interested alumni linked to Tanzania. We attach an initial list: to subscribe or unsubscribe please see the links at the end of this newsletter.

Upcoming activities

  • An email list with quarterly newsletter
  • A 1-day scientific  launch meeting in the first half of 2015

Who's who

  • Leadership group: Saidi Kapiga, David Mabey, Hugh Reyburn, Joanna Schellenberg, Jim Todd.
  • Administrative support: Amina Farah.

We’d like to hear from you! Please send your news items and other contributions to: Amina Farah, amifa2001@gmail.com

MSc in Epidemiology and Applied Biostatistics at KCMU

Jim Todd writes: With the difficulty in finding good epidemiologists and biostatisticians in Tanzania, becoming self-reliant and, growing your own makes sense. The THRiVE consortium funded by the Wellcome Trust African Institutions Initiative gave  technical support to develop the MSc in Epidemiology and Applied Biostatistics in KCMU College, Moshi. The MSc was conceived by Seif Shekalaghe (KCMU College) and Jim Todd (LSHTM) as a way to improve research capacity in Tanzania, by building practical skills in research methods, epidemiology and biostatistics.  Materials from LSHTM were adapted, and lecturers from NIMR, UVRI and LSHTM helped deliver the initial courses. Because practical skills in Epidemiology and Biostatistics are essential to all Masters level students, not only those studying epidemiology, Jenny Renju also developed a 6 week Foundation course which was taken by all Masters level students.

There were 4 students on the first year of the Epidemiology and Applied Biostatistics course. They not only learned statistical skills for themselves, but also had the opportunity to provide assistance to other students and staff during and after their studies. Three of the four have now enrolled in the PhD program. Student numbers are building, with around 16 new students for 2014/15.  One challenge has been the student attachment for research experience, and the supervision of the projects in the second year of the course.  However five KCMU staff will have completed the course by 2015, and they will be mentored to provide student supervision, and to lecture in various MSc and undergraduate programs.

Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit Board of Management meeting, 17-18 July 2014

Saidi Kapiga writes:  The Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU, www.mitu.or.tz) was established in 2006 after a special time-limited award was provided by the UK MRC to LSHTM (PI: Prof Richard Hayes) to work  jointly with Tanzanian National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) to build a sustainable centre of excellence for intervention trials. This followed a long history of collaborative research involving NIMR, LSHTM and the African Medical Research Foundation, which included groundbreaking research studies in Mwanza on the epidemiology and control of HIV and other sexual health problems. The focus is on randomised controlled trials of preventive interventions, and MITU has a reputation as one of the leading centres worldwide for HIV prevention research.

The MITU leadership team reports to the Board of Management which has overall responsibility for the Unit, contributing to policy development and providing strategic direction. This year the Board meeting was in Mwanza on 17-18 July, chaired by Dr Mwelecele Malecela, Director General of NIMR. Other members who attended included Mr John Changalucha (Director NIMR Mwanza Centre), Prof Tumani Corrah (Director Africa Research Development MRC), Prof Hazel Dockrell (Special Advisor on Overseas Programmes LSHTM), Prof Richard Hayes (LSHTM), Prof Pontiano Kaleebu (Director  MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS), Dr Saidi Kapiga (Scientific Director MITU), Dr Julius Massaga (Director, Research Coordination & Promotion, NIMR), Dr George PrayGod (Deputy Director MITU), Dr Kafura William (Ministry of Health and Social Welfare). The meeting was also attended by two observers, Prof Heiner Grosskurth (LSHTM) and Mr Joe Yates (LSHTM).

On July 17 a special scientific seminar was held to present ongoing research studies, providing an opportunity to learn more about research activities taking place across NIMR Mwanza campus and to network with MITU and NIMR scientists. On July 18, a formal Board meeting was held to review the scientific and financial performance of the Unit, and priorities for current and new projects, capacity building and training activities. The Board also discussed strategic directions and long-term sustainability.

SEARCH

Jim Todd writes: SEARCH is a new project aiming to develop the analysis of routinely collected HIV data in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, leading to better health services and transparency on the equity and benefits of HIV services (searchproject.lshtm.ac.uk). One essential component is the training of three data analysts from the ministries of health in each country, fostering long-term sustainability. 

The foundations for SEARCH were laid in Tanzania with previous work on the national care and treatment clinic (CTC) database. In 2010 and 2013, LSHTM supported the Tanzanian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in analysing and writing the national HIV Care and Treatment report, and in doing so developed some of the analyses that could be used in the SEARCH project. One such analysis assesses rates and predictors of immunological failure, and subsequent use of second line therapy. The results will help identify gaps in services and groups of people who are particularly at risk: a manuscript on this will shortly be submitted for peer-reviewed publication.

SEARCH, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will develop new analyses of data on CTC data, prevention of mother to child transmission, and HIV testing and counselling. These are expected to reveal some of the impact that routine HIV services are having on the lives of Tanzanians. In Tanzania the training of the data analysts will be done in collaboration with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University (KCMU) college, where the three analysts will be enrolled into a PhD program. The research questions, analysis and interpretation will be developed jointly by staff from MoHSW, KCMU college and LSHTM. 

Research results: newborn survival in southern Tanzania

Joanna Schellenberg writes: Despite marked improvements in health facility deliveries and in newborn care behaviours, newborn mortality remains high in in southern Tanzania. Quality of childcare in health facilities must improve in order to reduce the burden of newborn death. These results are findings from a large study conducted by Ifakara Health Institute(IHI) with LSHTM and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in six districts of southern Tanzania. Speaking at a dissemination meeting held in Dar es Salaam in April, Acting Director of Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Dr Neema Rusibamayila thanked the researchers, saying: “We will have a lot of added value from lessons learnt in this to inform us as we plan for the national programme”.

The 7-year cluster-randomised trial of newborn health and survival in Lindi and Mtwara regions was completed in April 2014. The study team developed a home-based counselling strategy on newborn care and survival in a population of 1.2 million people in 6 districts. From 2010 to 2013, over 800 female volunteers made home visits in pregnancy and the first few days of life, in 65 wards, selected randomly from all 132 wards. The primary endpoint of the trial was newborn mortality.  Endline data collection in 175,000 households took 4 months of 2013:  data analysis, synthesis and both local national dissemination was complete by April 2014.

Thrive

The sixth Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the THRiVE Consortium was held in Mwanza from 19th-22nd August.  The consortium, which is supported by the Wellcome Trust and aims to Train Health Researchers into Vocational  Excellence in East Africa, is led by Nelson Sewankambo, Dean of the Makerere University College of Health Sciences. African partners include Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUC),  the Universities of Gulu and Rwanda,  the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi, the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) and the National Institute for Medical Research  (NIMR) in Mwanza.  Cambridge University and LSHTM are the Northern partners. 

The AGM was hosted by NIMR, in the beautiful new Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU) building; MITU was set up in 2009 as a joint venture between NIMR and LSHTM.  It was attended by 86 people from Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and the UK, with several representatives from all the partner  institutions and one from the Wellcome Trust.  All 14 of the PhD fellows supported by the consortium presented their work, as did 8 of the more than 40 researchers supported by the consortium through small grants.  The talks were excellent, and covered a wide range of topics, from social science to molecular virology.  On 21st August the call for new African research capacity building grants was announced by the Wellcome Trust, and the last day of the meeting was spent discussing our plans to ask for a further 5 years’ funding.

East African DTM&H Course

The fourth East Afican DTM&H course starts at KCMC on Monday 25th August.  This is run by a consortium including LSHTM, KCMC, Makerere University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington in Seattle.  This year there will be 42 international, and 16 East African doctors taking the 3 month course, which covers tropical medicine, parasitology and public health, with a strong focus on evidence-based medicine. The first 6 week will be spent in Tanzania (5 weeks at KCMC, and one week at a rural health facility); and the next 6 weeks in Uganda (5 weeks at Makerere, and one week at a rural facility).  Teaching faculty are from a variety of hospitals and research institutes in the region, in addition to the five partner  universities.  The diploma is awarded to successful candidates by LSHTM, and the course counts as 60 credits towards a London School MSc in Tropical Medicine and International Health.  Students can complete the MSc by taking additional study modules either in London or by distance learning, and doing a supervised research project.

Staff and Student news

Please email your news to: Amina Farah, amifa2001@gmail.com.

Upcoming events

Courses

  • DTM&H – Hugh to add

 Meetings

  • Informal LSHTM-Tanzania network meeting: 16 September 2014 in London, 4-6pm. More information from Joanna Schellenberg, Joanna.Schellenberg@lshtm.ac.uk.
  • Scientific launch meeting for LSHTM-Tanzania network. First half of 2015: more information in the next newsletter.

Funding opportunities

Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science Initiative: DELTAS Africa aims to support the African-led development of internationally competitive researchers working across sub-Saharan Africa, headed by world-class leaders. http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Biomedical-science/Funding-schemes/Strategic-awards-and-initiatives/wtp057105.htm

Subscribing and unsubscribing

LSHTM Tanzania Network Newsletter - Issue 2: November 2014

Edited by Hugh Reyburn and Amina Farah from KCMC

Overview of LSHTM-KCMC

Welcome to the second network newsletter, this time edited by the KCMC team. We have 2 longstanding projects here, trachoma and eye health that was originally set up by David Mabey and subsequently by Matt Burton, and the Joint Malaria Programme set up in 2001, London pi’s Eleanor Riley and Brian Greenwood.  Both programmes are still going strong.  In 2008 we joined the THRIVE capacity building programme funded by the Welcome Trust and for the last 4 years the DTMH in Africa has been running.

In this issue we have 3 themes….the DTMH in Africa, some profiles of a sample of staff linked to LSHTM in KCMC (more to follow) and a ‘where are you now?’ section on past Tanzanian staff.

The Africa DTMH

The Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTM&H) is often seen as the qualification to prepare medics intending to work in the field of tropical medicine or disease control in less economically developed countries (LEDCs).  It is possible to obtain a DTM&H at various educational institutes around the world; however until 2011 no such course existed in Sub-Saharan Africa outside South Africa.

The brainchild of Philip Gothard, David Mabey and a team at LSHTM, the East African Diploma in Tropical Medicine (EADTMH) is collaboration between LSHTM, John Hopkins University, University of Washington, Makerere University and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College.

It is a three month, full-time course taught in Tanzania and Uganda which caters for doctors already working in or planning to work in Africa.  The course’s aim is to take the traditional DTM&H and translate it into an African context by immersing clinicians in the clinical and public health issues that affect the region. 

Taught in medical settings in Moshi, Tanzania and Kampala, Uganda, the course offers unparalleled exposure to the practicalities of healthcare in Africa. Two thirds of the course focuses on tropical infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria. There is a diversity of learning opportunities available and part of the course involves a week spent in a laboratory learning practical parasitology skills.  Additionally lectures and case-based discussions are complemented with regular clinical teaching sessions on the wards.

The remaining one third of the course aims to give students a grounding in basic epidemiology, explore contemporary issues in African healthcare, assess maternal and child healthcare in the region as well as examine the rise of non-communicable diseases.

The course is divided into core and optional units. The three options weeks include a rural healthcare project in Tanzania and two student-selected units (SSUs) in Uganda. These provide smaller groups of students the opportunity to explore an area of interest in more depth. SSUs vary each year but have included topics as diverse as the evaluation of TB and Trypanosomiasis control programmes, to debating the ethics of humanitarian aid in Africa, to analyzing tourist’s health behavior in Uganda.

Looking for Trypanosomes in the wet lab at KCMC

One of the great strengths of the course is its vibrant mix of students; one third of places are reserved for local East African doctors as part of the course’s commitment to developing medical education in the region.   2012 Graduate Rebecca Taylor wrote: “The EADTMH was a truly international affair with 61 doctors from 16 different countries attending. It was the experience of a life time; more than just learning about tropical medicine, I had the opportunity to work with people from all over the world and made lifelong friends in the process. “

Future developments

The African DTM&H is now completing its fourth year and is firmly founded and hugely popular with students. From next year it is hoped that students may use the DTMH as contributing to a full MSc in Tropical Medicine and International Health.  Each year there has been a steady increase in the proportion of teachers who come from African institutions and in the long term it is expected that the course will be fully established within local institutions.

LSHTM-KCMC Staff profiles

Amina Farah, Tanzanian Network administrator

Hello!  My name is Amina and I have been working with LSHTM for more than 10 years.  I live in Moshi with my husband and have 3 children aged 11, 9 and 6 (Sia, Zad, and Sasha). 

Since 2001 I have been the administrator for Joint Malaria Programme, collaboration between LSHTM, KCMC, NIMR and University of Copenhagen. I have been managing grants from a variety of funders including MRC, Gates, Welcome Trust and EC.  From 2010 I have been helping with the DTM & H Course at KCMC and I also administer the Welcome Trust ‘THRIVE’ grant at KCMC.

Tara Mtuy

I am from Long Island in New York and graduated with an MSc in Public Health from Boston University in 2004 following which I worked on HIV with Harvard/KCMC collaboration before joining LSHTM as a Research Fellow.  I work on the Welcome Trust Thrive programme (London PI David Mabey) with a primary role of teaching and course development of the MSc Epidemiology and Biostatistics at KCMU College (an initiative lead by Jim Todd).  I also manage the LSHTM-KCMC Trachoma Project at KCMC working on the immunological determinants of trachoma with Matthew Burton.  I am a part time PhD student in PHP at LSHTM, looking at issues around uptake of mass drug administration for trachoma in northern Tanzania.  My husband runs a travel company in Moshi and I have 2 children aged 6 and 4.

Florida Muro

Hello, Iam Florida Muro.  I graduated as MD from KCMC in 2003, worked in research with Duke University and then took the MSc (PHDC) at LSHTM in 2008-9, a great experience for me!  Since 2011 I have been a PhD student under the THRIVE initiative with Prof Olomi as my KCMC supervisor and Hugh Reyburn the LSHTM co-supervisor. I am working on childhood pneumonia, especially looking to validate the current WHO criteria for non-severe pneumonia that may result in over-usage of antibiotics.  After my PhD I hope to get a post-doc grant in the same area.  I live in Moshi with my husband and 2 children, Emmanuel aged 1 and Silipa aged 10.  You might find it hard to tell me apart from my identical twin sister if you see us together!

Matt Kirby

Following an MSc in Disease Vectors at LSHTM in 2000 I completed a PhD and post-doc on research into house screens against malaria mosquitoes in The Gambia. I’ve been in and out of Tanzania since 2008, first at Ifakara Health Institute working on mosquito-killing fungi, then with the LSHTM/NIMR collaboration based at Muheza as the local PI for a trial of insecticide-treated bed sheets.  I am now the PAMVERC IVCC project manager based at KCMC in Moshi where we are evaluating residual spraying and ITNs (either alone or in combination) and conducting studies on insecticide resistance.  Mark Rowland and Frank Mosha are the LSHTM and KCMC PI’s.  As a frequent traveler you’ll often find me playing the piano at odd hours in Heathrow airport!

Natacha Protopopoff

Bonjour!  I am originally from Nantes (best city in France!) and graduated in Biochemistry from University of Nantes following which I took a Masters in environmental science and a PhD from a clinical trial in the use of insecticide treated nets in Burundi. Since 2011 I have been coordinating and managing a number of studies and trials on the effectiveness of IRS and ITNs in controlling malaria in Tanzania.  Our KCMC collaborator is Frank Mosha, London PI is Mark Rowland.  I live in Moshi with my husband and 6-year old son called Morgan.

Alexandra Lauren

Hello, I am Alex.  I was based in Muheza, Tanzania for various periods from 2009-2011 working on different malaria control projects for Mark Rowland/LSHTM. I then worked as Deputy Project Manager for the Kagera Malaria Prevention Trial in Muleba, Tanzania from 2011-2013. Since 2013, I have been working as the Laboratory Manager for the PAMVERC Lab. My role has primarily been to help establish the malaria testing laboratory at KCM College, and to manage testing of mosquito and blood samples from the field. We test blood samples for malaria parasites, and detect insecticide-resistance in mosquitoes.

This year I am managing a project to accredit the Moshi site facilities including the insectary, insecticide-testing facility, molecular laboratory, and hut sites. If successful, we will be the first vector control facility in Africa to achieve accreditation.

David Kayabu

After completed my first degree studies of Bachelor of Science with computer science (Major in Computer and Statistics studies) of the University of Dar es salaam, I started to work within the national HIV/AIDS control program as an employee of one of the HIV/AIDS implementing partners in the country.

My major responsibility was to ensure that data collected at health facilities have high quality and collected in timely manner by providing technical support to health care workers and data personnel. I did not have any idea about data analysis and interpretation. However, after attended several meetings and presentations, I was surprised on how these data can be transformed into meaningful information and provide the direction to the project. I wished one day to know how to analyze and transform data into meaningful information’s.

This dream drove me to pursue Masters of Science in Epidemiology and Applied Biostatistics of the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College and got some lessons from LSHTM mentors. I thank God my studies went well, successfully completed the training, and graduated on November 2014.

Currently, I am competent in analyzing data and finally my dreams came into reality. I have endeavored to apply that knowledge in my work. An understanding of data, and how to present results, is important in so many different areas for evidence based decision making.

Dr. Nicholaus Mazuguni

MD is final year resident at the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre. Dr. Mazuguni research focuses on the innovations in screening and treatment of HIV ASSOCIATED MALIGNANCIES in women, and has been the
recipient of numerous US National Institutes of Health research grants. 

He received a scholarship for MSc. Clinical trials distance learning at London school of hygiene and tropical medicine funded by commonwealth scholarships. Dr. Mazuguni is proud to be a recipient of this award because it has enabled him to continue with his clinical practice and at the same time doing an MSc.

Programme. He is also happy because the programme has broadened his thinking of research. There is no doubt that junior doctors at his department will benefit from the knowledge he has received from LSHTM. A major focus of Dr. Mazuguni's ongoing work is capacity building at the
Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi, Tanzania.

Where are you now?

This section is for updates on past LSHTM-Tanzania staff.  Only Katia Bruxvoot this time, please contact your friends and send us updates!

"I was based at Ifakara Health Institute in Dar es Salaam from 2009-2012 as part of the IMPACT2 project to evaluate interventions to improve access and targeting of malaria. The project mainly focused on evaluating government roll out of RDTs in Mwanza, Mbeya, and Mtwara regions, as well as examining the effect of the Affordable Medicines Facility- malaria on availability of ACTs. I also conducted my PhD research on adherence to ACTs obtained from public health facilities and private retail outlets (ADDOs), involving a text message intervention targeted at dispensers to improve advice provided when dispensing ACTs, and the use of smart blister packs that recorded the day and time each pill was removed from packaging. This work is nearing completion, with final papers to be submitted by the end of 2014.

I am now based in Los Angeles, continuing to work remotely for LSHTM and the ACT Consortium. I hope to complete my PhD in the next couple of months, as I am expecting a second baby in early 2015. I recall taking my first son, just newly born, to the LSTHM Tanzania meeting in Moshi in 2010! While I am not sure when I will be back in East Africa, I would appreciate keeping in touch with other LSHTM staff in Tz and hearing about ongoing research and other activities."

LSHTM Tanzania Network Newsletter - Issue 3: February 2015

Edited by Joanna Schellenberg and Jim Todd (LSHTM, MITU & NIMR Mwanza)

Gregory Kabadi (PhD graduate 2015, Ifakara Health Institute)

In the last four years of my PhD studies at LSHTM, I was researching on a novel approach to evaluate large-scale maternal health programmes for use in low- and middle-income countries. The approach is called programme implementation strength (also known as programme intensity), which, refers to quantitative measures reflecting on programme inputs and processes.

Measuring the strength of public health programmes may reveal whether and how some programmes have an impact on target populations and others do not. In measuring programme implementation strength, I used focused antenatal care and obstetric care programmes as my tracer maternal health programmes. I intend to publish the results in peer-reviewed journals and other means of information dissemination. Overall, the developed (and tested) approach could be of interest to district health management authorities for use as an accountability and management tool for improving health programmes.

Werner Makaola – SEARCH Project fellow, NACP

Werner Makaola is a medical doctor working for NACP.  He completed his Masters in Tropical and Infectious Diseases in 2008 after working in Ifakara for 5 years.  Werner has received a SEARCH project fellowship for PhD training which will enable him to develop analyses of routinely collected data in NACP and MOHSW.

Werner will concentrate on assessing current screening of TB among HIV positive attending care and treatment, with a view to improving Isoniazid Preventive Therapy (IPT) uptake.  During the SEARCH fellowship Werner will attend training modules in Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College and LSHTM.  He will analyse the MoHSW data, and output one paper, which will help design the intervention for IPT improvement.

Christopher Rensch (PhD candidate, LSHTM)

Christopher Rensch has a fellowship from ESRC to work on research into linkages between clinic data and population data in Tanzania. He is using the Kisesa demographic sentinel surveillance (DSS) data and exploring ways to link with routine HIV data collected at Kisesa health centre.

By developing a real-time link ini the clinic Christopher hopes to be able to monitor access to health services and help understand barriers to HIV care in Tanzania.  Christopher will spend the majority of his second year on the PhD working with scientists in National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR, Mwnaza).

Richard Machemba (NIMR, Mwanza)

Richard works as a data manager in National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in Mwanza. He currently manages all the clinic data from studies in Kisesa health centre, including the research into care and treatment (CTC) for people living with HIV.

The data are used for research in collaboration with the Alpha network (Mwanza coordinator Dr Denna Mkwashapi), and the IeDEA consortium (under Mark Urassa). Rrichard is interested in developing his data management skills, and  getting more research experience.

Yovitha Sedekia

Hello! I am a research scientist at Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) in Tanzania and a PhD student at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK. I have worked in various projects for maternal and child health care at IHI since 2005 and collaborated with researchers at LSHTM over the last 10 years.  I hold an MSc in Public Heath in Developing Countries from LSHTM (2011/2012 academic year).

Since October 2012 to October 2014 I was EQUIP (Expanded Quality Management Using Information Power) project coordinator in Mtwara, Tanzania. EQUIP, a four year project (November 2011 to April 2014) was funded by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013 under grant agreement n° 265827 as a collaboration between IHI, Makerere University-Uganda, Karolinska Institute- Sweden and LSHTM, UK. My PhD study titled “Family planning services across women’s life stages of reproduction in Southern Tanzania: a mixed-methods study of perception, demand and service provision” is nested within EQUIP project. My PhD supervisors are Dr Tanya Marchant (Primary supervisor) and Prof Joanna Schellenberg from LSHTM and Dr Rose Nathan (IHI).

Since February 2013 to October 2014 my PhD study was funded by EQUIP project LSHTM funds. On 3rd November 2014, International Federation for University Women Fellowship and grants 2014/2015 awarded me Funds for Women Graduates Fellowship through a competitive application to cover my stay in London. Expected end date of my PhD study according to student records is 29th November 2017 but I see myself completing in 2016 because this reflects the longest time I can be registered for, and is not a reflection of my progress.

Shirine Voller

I am not directly involved with any active project with IHI.  My connection and interest is as follows:

Joanna organised for me to meet with Dr. Salim Abdulla and to visit IHI in 2013.  I was primarily interested in IHI's organisational structure, strategy and operation of their core support functions (finance, HR, procurement etc.).  I attended several internal meetings while I was there, shared my experience of 'how things are done at LSHTM' and provided feedback on their strategy and my observations on the meetings I had attended. I have not actively followed this up, but remain interested in the capacity development of IHI, and grateful for their openness and generosity in hosting me for a few days.

SEARCH Project – Jim Todd

Analysis of routinely collected health data

Health Information Management Systems (HIMS) are being strengthened across Africa in order to collect valuable data for Ministry of Health activities. At present the information are used to monitor and evaluate specific health systems activities. However there is a growing call by international organizations and donors for standardized indicators on health performance, many of which can be obtained from HIMS data.

This includes indicators for HIV service equity, access and coverage, malaria prevention and treatment, and those for safe motherhood and neonatal services. Given the resources that have been used to collect the data from health facilities, there would be a lot of value in developing appropriate statistical methods for the analysis of routinely collected data. This would build value in the outputs of the data, strengthen the capacity for further analysis in Ministry staff, and enhance the quality of the data collected. I propose a session in the launch meeting that would give an overview of the need for developing the data analysis of routine data, and have three or four examples of such data analyses.

LSHTM Tanzania Network Newsletter - Issue 4: July 2015

Edited by Natacha Protopopoff and Amina Farah

Scientific launch meeting held in Dar es Salaam

The first scientific launch meeting of the Tanzania network, held at CEEMI in Dar es Salaam on 13 April 2015, was a success and a major step towards strengthening the collaboration between the LSHTM and Tanzanian institutions to improve public health research and capacity building.

The meeting was attended by 45 staff from LSHTM, IHI, NIMR and KCMC. The Director General of NIMR Dr Mwele Malechela, Chief Executive Director of IHI Dr Salim Abdulla, Director of KCMC Professor Olomi, and Dr Saidi Kapiga of NIMR - MITU were among the participants. LSHTM was represented by the coordination group members Dr Saidi Kapiga, Mr Jim Todd, Professor Joanna Schellenberg, Dr Natacha Protopopoff, and Ms Amina Farah. The National AIDS Control Programme from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare also participated. The Directors of IHI, NIMR and KCMC each presented an overview of their institutions highlighting collaborative research activities.

Later presentations were grouped according to major themes of malaria, HIV/AIDS, health systems, and analysis of routinely collected data. Each theme session was coordinated by senior researchers from the four different institutions, and included presentations from post-doctoral researchers or PhD candidates. In a special session to highlight the collaborative ‘Countdown to 2015’ case study of national progress in maternal, newborn and child health, Dr Theopista John from WHO Tanzania gave an overview of a forthcoming Lancet paper [now published: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214109X15000595].

Views of the network 

One session at the launch meeting focused on what the participants want the network to be and how it should function. Here is a summary of their views:

The network should be a platform for:

  • sharing research findings
  • developing joint research ideas that should be driven by the Tanzanian institutions
  • sharing information on employment opportunities and logistic resources
  • supporting capacity building

Participants felt that much of this could be implemented through:

Lastly, participants felt that a coordination group with a focal person from each institution would be useful.

At the end of the session it was agreed that future communication will be done through a mailing list of the network members. The mailing list will be managed by Ms. Amina Farah, network administrator based at KCMC Moshi.

The LSHTM in Tanzania website http://lshtmintanzania.wix.com/lshtmintanzania was launched in March 2015 and all the presentations of the launch meeting can be found by scrolling down on the news and events page of the website. Please check the website regularly – you can also post notices on the website, highlighting items or services needed or provided. During the meeting one person was nominated from each institution, to be a network focal person and enable better communication between field sites.

Next informal meeting of the network

The next meeting will be informal to coincide with the Symposium at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in September. 

The date for informal network meeting is Thursday 24 September 2015, LSHTM, 3pm in the Globe Room.

If you are in London for the symposium (or for any other reason), then please come along and join the network in this meeting. Some of the presentations from the 2013 symposium are at http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/staffannualsymposium/symposium2013/index.html

Another fantastic resource

For researchers interested in Tanzania, check out this resource.  It is the Development Partners Group Tanzania, and they represent many donors, governments and others that are contributing to development in Tanzania.  The site covers many different aspects of development but the one of most interest may be the health sector. The resources is at: http://www.tzdpg.or.tz/dpg-website/sector-groups/cluster-2/health.html

If you have a good resources, on the internet, or in other formats, please use the LSHTM Tanzania network newsletter to share your resource with others.  We will put this link on the network website as well, http://lshtmintanzania.wix.com/lshtmintanzania and we encourage others to do likewise.

About the LSHTM-Tanzania network

Our overall aim is to improve public health research in Tanzania through joint research and capacity-building, including through better communications and networking for LSHTM staff, students, and alumni in Tanzania.

Membership is open to LSHTM and collaborative site staff and research degree students whose work involves Tanzania; MSc students, both distance learning and face to face, who are Tanzanian or resident in Tanzania; and actively interested alumni linked to Tanzania.

Who's who

  • Leadership group: Saidi Kapiga, David Mabey, Natacha Protopopoff, Joanna Schellenberg, Jim Todd.
  • Administrative support: Amina Farah.

We’d like to hear from you! Please send your news items and other contributions to: Amina Farah, amina.farah@lshtm.ac.uk

Subscribing and unsubscribing

Acknowledgements

Text about the launch meeting based on Mr. Donat Shamba's blog.

LSHTM Tanzania Network Newsletter - Issue 5: October 2015

Edited by Christian Holm Hansen and Dominic Mikulski in Mwanza

In this fifth issue of the newsletter, there is a spotlight on the LSHTM-NIMR collaboration in Mwanza including Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU), a research unit under NIMR-Mwanza. Despite its name, MITU carries out a range of epidemiological research besides clinical trials, and hosts researchers and other staff from both LSHTM and NIMR. Also in this issue, we have an update from the recent LSHTM-Tanzania network meeting which took place at the School during the Symposium week in September. We also have updates from other institutions, and a segment on mapping and data sharing by Chris Grundy, Lecturer in GIS at LSHTM who recently worked with us on a project at MITU and is keen to do more work in Tanzania.

The NIMR-MITU-LSHTM collaboration

The Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU) was established in 2006 by the Tanzania National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), with initial funding from the UK Medical Research Council (MRC).  The Unit was established building on the highly successful and productive research collaboration in Mwanza between the two institutions.  For more than 20 years, the collaboration has carried out a series of ground breaking research studies on the epidemiology and control of HIV and other sexual health problems, with a particular focus on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of preventive interventions, and has built a reputation as one of the leading centres worldwide for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention research.

Over the last few years, MITU has endeavoured to expand its scope of interest, conducting research in a number of areas such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, reproductive health within adolescents, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), gender based or intimate partner violence and more recently has been participating in a Phase I trial for a vaccine to prevent Ebola Virus Disease infection.

Selected staff and student profiles

Susan (Sue) Kelly, MPH, I am currently an LSHTM PhD student working with the LSHTM Gender, Violence and Health Centre in collaboration with NIMR-Mwanza.  My research explores community perceptions and experiences of child discipline and the relationship to the discourse of children’s rights in northwest Tanzania, with a goal of building on the Tanzania Violence Against Children (VAC) survey.  Prior to this, I worked with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) from 1994-2002 where I served as the liaison between community HIV activists and NIH researchers, as well as a clinical trials specialist supporting the design and implementation of clinical trials focusing on:  quality of care; treatment adherence; and, complications of HIV disease.  From 2003-2012 I worked with Baylor College of Medicine to design and implement paediatric HIV care, treatment and training programmes in Uganda and Tanzania.  I am originally from New Jersey (East Coast of USA), currently live in Mwanza, and love wali na maharage.

Dr. Joel Francis is a Tanzanian clinician and epidemiologist with over 11 years of experience in monitoring, evaluation, rigorous quantitative research and systematic reviews and meta analysis, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS and alcohol use in young people ( 15-24 years). For the past eight years, Dr. Francis has designed, conducted, and evaluated public health and medical research as a research scientist at Tanzania’s National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR). He served as principal investigator in several research projects including studies on: the epidemiology of STDs among female sex workers in northern Tanzania; the prevalence, perceptions and acceptability of male circumcision as an HIV preventive measure; and epidemiology of alcohol use among young people in northern Tanzania.   Dr. Francis holds an MD from the University of Dar es Salaam and an MSc in Epidemiology from Harvard University, and a PhD in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Ramadhan Hashim is a Senior Data Manager and Head of Data Section at MITU, since August 2010. As a senior data manager he is responsible for developing policies and procedures, and ensures that the systems are GCP compliant. He also responsible for the day-to-day management and supervision of the data section staff. Ramadhan has intensive experience in managing data from different types of clinical studies including clinical trials. Before joining MITU, Ramadhan worked with a large cholera vaccine trial in Zanzibar implemented by WHO, International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and the ministry of Health and Social Welfare Zanzibar, as a data manager/epidemiologist from 2008 to 2010, and prior to that he worked on large clinical trial (Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Infants-IPTi) implemented by LSHTM and NIMR from Nov 2004 to Aug 2008, as a data manager and site coordinator. He is a graduate of the University of Dar es Salaam (BSc Computer Science) and LSHTM (Postgraduate diploma in Epidemiology).His research interests are in data management and epidemiology.

Hilary Whitworth I am from the UK, and am currently managing a phase I trial in Mwanza (Tanzania) to assess safety and immunogenicity of a new vaccine regimen that is hoped to protect against Ebola infection. Studies of the vaccine regimen are also being carried out by our collaborators in the UK, US, Uganda, Kenya and Sierra Leone. I am employed by LSHTM but am based full time at Mwanza Intervention Trials unit. Previously, I studied for a PhD in Immunology and Child Health at the University of Southampton; and I worked at Imperial College London as a Post-Doctoral Scientist and Study Coordinator in a number of large multi-centre cohort studies of diagnostics in Tuberculosis, with and without HIV co-infection. As a keen swimmer it has been fantastic to participate in getting Mwanza Swim Club off the ground during my spare time here in Tanzania!

NIMR-LSHTM Research Methods Course

The Mwanza Research Methods Course is a two-week course which runs annually in late February/early March. It is aimed at clinicians and others with limited experience of conducting field research and has an applied focus. During the two-week course, delegates are provided with practical skills and knowledge in a number of key areas necessary for designing and conducting clinical research, including: basic epidemiological concepts, study designs, basic methods for summarising and analysing data, and a basic overview of qualitative research methods, questionnaire design and budgeting. We are working to synchronise the curriculum for this course with a new module which is being developed for the MSc in Tropical Medicine and International Health at LSHTM and ultimately to obtain LSHTM accreditation for both in time for the 2017 course. 

Student exchange programmes

We have a number of LSHTM research degree and masters students working and studying within MITU and NIMR-Mwanza including Sue Kelly and Joel Francis (whose profiles are included above). Within MITU we have also hosted a number of LSHTM Medical Statistics MSc students from the MRC TEG Fellowship programme for their one-year work placement period which follows the completion of the formal taught Master’s programme at LSHTM. Additionally last year, MITU and the KCMC MSc Biostatistics and Epidemiology course started a collaboration with a student on the course, Dr Lelo Baliyima, undertaking his three-month placement period at MITU. All parties involved thought this worked very well, and we are keen to repeat this in the future.

Tanzania Network Meeting at LSHTM Week (21-25 Sep 2015)

As part of the LSHTM Week: "Sharing Ideas, Strengthening Skills" programme, more than 30 members of the LSHTM Tanzania Network attended a network meeting on Thursday 24 September 2015 in the Globe Room at LSHTM Keppel Street, London.  Professor Joanna Schellenberg chaired the session, leading the group through eight, three-minute presentations with a broad focus on quality of care, followed by a brief brainstorming session addressing members thoughts on the purpose and goals for the network. Network members in attendance were also asked to identify skills and experiences they might volunteer to share with the network and its members across Tanzania.

The 3-Minute  presentations - which, incidentally, were strictly and effectively timed with the assistance of our ACE volunteer timekeeper - were given by senior researchers, students and other LSHTM-affiliated researchers based across Tanzania. The slides from this session are available online from our newly revamped 'news' page: http://lshtmintanzania.wix.com/lshtmintanzania#!news-and-events/ctzx

Presentations included:

  • Improving uptake and quality of antenatal and delivery care in rural Tanzania - Christian Holm Hansen
  • Real-time record linkage in Kisesa Ward, northwest Tanzania - Christopher Rensch
  • Mentoring and measurement for improving maternal and newborn survival - Joanna Schellenberg
  • Quality of care for non-communicable diseases:  hypertension and diabetes - Heiner Grosskurth
  • Use of GIS technology/mapping in data collection to improve quality of care - Chris Grundy
  • Cost-effectiveness of anaemia diagnostic methods for under-5s in rural Tanzania - Derek Foster
  • Hai Health Demographic Surveillance - Ewan Hunter
  • Pan-African Malaria Vector Research Consortium (PAMVERC) - Mark Rowland

Feedback from the brainstorming session spanned issues of skills sharing (Chris Grundy offered to support GIS skills and the development of a pooled mapping database), webinars/virtual meetings, funding for continuation of the network and face-to-face meetings, and sharing administrative and human resources across the network, etc.

Updates from Other Institutions

Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)

IHI launches Master of Science in Public Health Research

IHI's new training facility at Bagamoyo and the new MSc in Public Health Research were officially launched in August 2015. It is planned that the first cohort of students will join in the academic year 2016/17. More information from Dr Rose Nathan, rnathan@ihi.or.tz

IHI research news: Home-based counselling strategies alone may not improve neonatal survival in rural Africa

Primary results from the INSIST study, mentioned in previous newsletters, are now published in PLoS Medicine. Home visits by volunteers trained to deliver important health messages to women during pregnancy and in the first days of a baby’s life did not appear to improve newborn survival in rural Tanzania, according to new research published in PLOS Medicine. This is despite the study showing improvements in newborn care practices and childbirth in health facilities. Read the article at http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001881. Read more about this story at http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2015/neonatal_survival_rural_africa.html.

Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCo)

LSHTM in collaboration with Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCo) is coming to the end of a pilot project to accredit the vector control laboratories in Moshi, Tanzania. These laboratories are part of the Pan African Malaria Vector Research Consortium (PAMVERC), and specialize in testing insecticide-treated material in both laboratory and field settings. The main benefit of this project is that the laboratories will be brought to a high standard and recognized internationally. WHO has publicly stated that studies run in a GLP- accredited laboratory can be submitted as an alternative to a traditional WHO study, resulting in much-needed malaria control products being released to the market and population much faster.

The PAMVERC Laboratories include an insectary where mosquitoes are reared for testing; an animal house consisting of guinea pigs and rabbits for mosquito feeding; an Insecticide Testing Facility where insecticides are tested in a controlled laboratory setting; a molecular laboratory specializing in mosquito resistance and species identification testing; and an experimental hut site to test insecticide-treated products in a field-setting. The project has run for approximately 1 year and has focused on capacity building - improving the laboratory facilities, training staff, and putting in place sustainable improvements to meet GLP requirements. This has been a challenging project to run in an African laboratory where basic necessities like power and water are not stable. The key to this work is to make the labs sustainable for staff and future work, and to maintain the high standard put in place for years to come. The pilot project ends in February 2016, after a final audit of the facilities by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), and if successful will be rolled out to other WHO insecticide-testing sites in East and West Africa and Asia.

East African Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene

The fifth East African Diploma in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (DTM&H) course started at KCMC on 24th August. This year we have 72 students from 13 countries, including 11 from Tanzania, 4 each from Uganda and Botswana, 12 from Australia, 29 from the UK, 3 from the USA, 2 each from Kenya and New Zealand, and one each from Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany and Malawi. The students, who are all medical doctors, will spend 6 weeks in Tanzania, including one week on a rural placement away from Moshi, and 6 weeks in Uganda, again with one week attached to a rural health project.  This year, as usual, the course was heavily over-subscribed, so make sure you book early if you are thinking of taking the course in 2016!

Maps, methodology and data sharing

Having attended the meeting in London at the end of September, it was suggested that it may be useful to introduce myself and my work / interests more widely here. The LSHTM staff and students may recognise my name from the emails about mapping and GPS courses, as I run the geographical information systems (GIS) here.

GIS is less about maps and more about data, which is where my research interests lie: how do we collect data in an efficient manner?  A lot of my work is around using satellite imagery for population estimation, developing simple survey methodologies and looking at how simple mapping techniques can be used in our work. It was capacity building around these that got me involved with this network with two trips this year to Mwanza for teaching and developing further research ideas. My role at LSHTM is a bit like an in-house consultant that groups can call upon to develop research ideas or to look at capacity building at their institution. I know some of you have already used this in an informal way, attending courses or meeting with me to discuss your research. I would be happy to extend that more widely, within reason, especially if this led to building local capacity and enabling important new research.

At the London meeting, I mentioned one of the ideas I had to establish a data repository covering the whole of Tanzania. We are all most likely using the same datasets, for instance administrative area boundaries, cutting out or collecting data on just our geographical area. The UN call these common operational datasets and within these, we could include administrative areas, geographical features and points of interest such as clinics / hospitals. Finding and keeping these data up to date can be time consuming and I would guess each group is duplicating this work.  It would be far more efficient for everyone if a central database of common datasets was established and kept up-to-date.

This would then be available to all groups as and when required. The logistics will need some sorting, such as how best to make the data available, what to include, and how to ensure it is kept up to date.  If this is of interest, then the first stage would simply be to set up a list of data contact(s) for each institution and to quickly bring together the simply collected key datasets such as administrative areas. If we start in a small sustainable way, it could be developed from there. I would be happy to bring the datasets together and ensure they were clean and in useable formats. More likely than not, I will do some of this anyway, but given this network there are real opportunities for bigger savings, the more groups get involved.

Please feel free to contact me if you have shared interests or would like to find out more, or get involved in the data sharing initiative. I look forward to finding out more about the GIS work and research around data methodology going on at different institutions as my work with the network continues.

Upcoming events

The International Biometric Society, Uganda Region is hosting the 2nd East Africa region conference on 12-13th November in Kampala, Uganda.

About the LSHTM-Tanzania network

Our overall aim is to improve public health research in Tanzania through joint research and capacity-building, including through better communications and networking for LSHTM staff, students, and alumni in Tanzania.

Membership is open to LSHTM and collaborative site staff and research degree students whose work involves Tanzania; MSc students, both distance learning and face to face, who are Tanzanian or resident in Tanzania; and actively interested alumni linked to Tanzania.

Who's who

  • Leadership group: Saidi Kapiga, David Mabey, Hugh Reyburn, Joanna Schellenberg, Jim Todd.
  • Administrative support: Amina Farah.

We’d like to hear from you! Please send your news items and other contributions to: Amina Farah, amina.farah@lshtm.ac.uk

Subscribing and unsubscribing

LSHTM Tanzania Network Newsletter - Issue 6: February 2016

Edited by Christian Holm Hansen in Mwanza

In this sixth issue of the newsletter there is a spotlight on initiatives in methodology within the region including a report from the recently held International Biometrics Society conference in Kampala and summaries of a couple of research methods courses and scholarships.

Conference Report from the International Biometrics Society, Uganda

Three members of the LSHTM Tanzania network attended the regional conference for the East African chapter of the International Biometrics Society (IBS) in Uganda on 12th and 13th November 2015. The theme of the meeting was “Applying standard and advanced statistical methods to public health data”.

Day one was divided into three main sessions with presentations on work from different studies in East Africa.  Session one was mainly about keynote addresses from different speakers, session two focussed on analysis of routinely collected health data and session three focussed on Statistical Methodologies for datasets collected in medical research and public health settings. The second day had two parallel sessions, one being a short course in longitudinal data analysis given by Dr. Ann Mwangi from Moi University, Kenya and the other was some brainstorming about the Biostatistics collaborative initiatives in Africa, especially the newly awarded Wellcome Trust DELTAS consortium based in Wits University, South Africa.

The conference provided an opportunity for interesting presentations on biostatistical analysis applied to health data, with special focus on public health issues in African countries (issues in malaria and HIV research, for instance).  It also gave the delegates the opportunity to network and share experiences and ideas for future collaboration.  This is important when there are limited conferences on Biostatistics in sub-Saharan Africa.  Finally and very importantly, it gave delegates the chance to see a working hospital in Uganda – Mildmay – which collects large amounts of routine data, and is seeking collaborative arrangements to help analyse their data and get the maximum value from their hard work.

During the 2 days the discussions covered several topics, which overlapped considerably, focussing on: communication, teaching and training, research and analysis, and software.

Course in Experimental and Observational Epidemiological Research

This is a 2-day course in Experimental and Observations Epidemiological Research, given by Jim Todd and Nico Nagelkerke.  The course is given twice, once in Blantyre, Malawi (25th and 26th Feb) to students in Chancellor College, under the auspices of the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome research group, and once in Moshi, Tanzania (10th and 11th March) to students in Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University college. The course will use practical data analysis, using Stata, R or other statistical packages.

The course outline states: Doing epidemiological research implies statistical analysis of the collected data. While doing statistical analysis has been greatly facilitated by the availability of statistical software, selecting appropriate methods and correctly interpreting the results is not simple. Many courses on statistics, nevertheless, present technical details of various methods without explaining when and where methods should be used. In this course we emphasize the application of statistical methods in epidemiological research and their relationship to study design, including randomized clinical trials, longitudinal and case-control studies, with the objective of studying risk factors and the impact of interventions.

Day 1 concentrates on observational studies, with mini-sessions on different study designs, and the overarching theme that “Design trumps Analysis”.  Day 2 features lectures on the rationale, design, analysis and interpretation of clinical trials, and other experimental studies. Students are expected to have a good basic understanding of statistics and study design, but are challenged to use their knowledge to analyse data from different studies.

NIMR-LSHTM Research Methods Course

The 2016 Mwanza Research Methods Course will kick off on March 7th with more than 30 delegates expected this year. The course which has been running for six years has an applied focus and is aimed at clinicians and others who wish to improve their skills and knowledge needed for conducting field research. During the two-week course, delegates are provided with practical skills and knowledge in a number of key areas necessary for designing and conducting clinical research, including: basic epidemiological concepts, study designs, basic methods for summarising and analysing data, and an overview of qualitative research methods, questionnaire design and budgeting. We are working to synchronise the curriculum for this course with a new module which is being developed for the MSc in Tropical Medicine and International Health at LSHTM and ultimately to obtain LSHTM accreditation for both hopefully in time for the 2017 course.

DELTAS Scholarships at KCMUCo

At the end of 2015, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCo), in collaboration with other members of the Sub-Saharan African Consortium for Advanced Biostatistical Training (S2ACABT), secured funding from the Wellcome Trust/AESA through the Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science (DELTAS). DELTAS awarded to KCMUCo a total of £150,310 over a five year period. The funding will provide scholarships for Masters and PhD programmes in Biostatistics. During the project period it is expected that up to 10 MSc and at least 2 PhD students will be awarded scholarships to support their monthly stipend, accommodation, tuition fees and research projects (from academic year 2015/2016 to 2019/2020). The MSc Scholarship is spread throughout the project period (i.e. 2015-2020). In this academic year, we had 20 MSc applicants, and of these, 4 have been offered a scholarship. We are also expecting to offer a scholarship for 1 PhD student. In order to meet the S2ACABT objectives, KCMUCo is dedicated to developing a self-sustained Biostatistics programme to respond to medical research needs across the region.

DAAD Scholarships at KCMUCo

In 2015 KCMUCo was awarded a three year scholarship grant.  This grant enables us to provide the opportunity for scholarships for up to four MSc students and 2 PhDs within the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.  In 2015 we had over 40 MSc and 12 PhD applications and awarded four MSc scholarships and 1 PhD.  The closing deadline for the 2016 applications was February 19th.

DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst - German Academic Exchange Service) will pay tuition fees directly to KCMUCo and a monthly stipend to the scholarship holder, covering the cost of living, including accommodation. In addition, the scholarship holder will receive an annual study and research allowance. This allowance is intended to cover any costs related to the student’s research project. The annual study and research allowance is paid in local currency and is equivalent to the amount of EUR 230.00 for MSc scholarship holders and EUR 920.00 for PhD scholarship holders. Within the final year of studies, DAAD pays a lump sum of EUR 1,025.00 to the scholarship holder (in local currency). This final allowance is granted to cover the thesis production costs in the last year of the course of studies (i.e. second year for MSc students, third year for PhD students).

The DAAD scholarship is not a full scholarship and students who are interested in this funding are actively encouraged to source additional funding from elsewhere (e.g. for field work and international travel). More information can be found on the KCMUCo website: http://www.kcmuco.ac.tz/

THRiVE Consortium

It was announced at the beginning of February that the Wellcome Trust has agreed to fund the THRiVE Research Capacity Building Consortium for a further 5 years, starting on March 1st. The consortium is led by Professor Nelson Sewankambo at Makerere University.  The partners are KCMUC, NIMR Mwanza, the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe, the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, the University of Gulu, the University of Cambridge and LSHTM.  KCMUC is represented on the Consortium Steering group by Sia Msuya, NIMR by John Changalucha, and LSHTM by David Mabey.  THRiVE will be putting out a call for pump-priming research grants and for fellowship applications at Masters, PhD and postdoctoral levels in the near future.

Upcoming events

The 2016 East African Diploma course in Tropical Medicine & Hygiene (DTM&H) will start at KCMUC on 5th September 2016.  This 3 month course is run jointly by LSHTM, KCMUC and Makerere University, and 10 places are reserved for Tanzanian doctors.  The closing date for applications is 30th April; you should apply via the LSHTM website: http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/study/cpd/eadtmh.html

About the LSHTM-Tanzania network

Our overall aim is to improve public health research in Tanzania through joint research and capacity-building, including through better communications and networking for LSHTM staff, students and alumni in Tanzania. 

Membership is open to LSHTM and collaborative site staff and research degree students whose work involves Tanzania; MSc students, both distance learning and face to face, who are Tanzanian or resident in Tanzania; and actively interested alumni linked to Tanzania.

Who's who

Leadership group: Saidi Kapiga, David Mabey, Hugh Reyburn, Joanna Schellenberg, Jim Todd. Administrative support: Amina Farah.

Website: http://lshtmintanzania.wix.com/lshtmintanzania

Subscribing and unsubscribing

 

Website: http://lshtmintanzania.wix.com/lshtmintanzania

 

LSHTM Tanzania Network Newsletter - Issue 7: June 2016

Edited by Donat Shamba and Michelle Remme in Dar es Salaam

In this seventh issue of the newsletter, we put the spotlight on initiatives around the social determinants of health, including a report from the recent annual meeting of the STRIVE consortium, and summaries of courses and training opportunities.

Happy reading!

Report from the STRIVE Consortium Annual Meeting

Several members of the LSHTM Tanzania network attended the STRIVE annual meeting held in Amsterdam from 12-14 April 2016. STRIVE is a research programme consortium on “Tackling the Structural Drivers of HIV” funded by DfID from 2011-2017. It is investigating the social norms and inequalities that drive HIV and evaluating interventions to address them, with a particular focus on Tanzania, South Africa and India. The consortium brings together six partners, including LSHTM (lead), the National Institute for Medical Research in Mwanza and the Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit. STRIVE’s work is organised under five key themes: alcohol and HIV; biomedical interventions; development synergies and co-financing; gender, norms and violence; transactional sex and HIV.

Since the consortium is embarking on its final year, the Annual Meeting focused on synthesising findings within and between thematic working groups, and planning next steps.

On the first day, initial findings from a number of intervention trials and larger studies were presented. Specifically, Sheila Harvey and Grace Mtolela (both based at MITU/NIMR Mwanza) presented an overview of the MAISHA study, which comprises two cluster randomised controlled trials evaluating interventions to prevent intimate partner violence. Baseline data from the first trial indicated that 61% of women had ever experienced physical and/or sexual violence, while 27% reported having experienced either or both in the past 12 months.

Dr Joseph Mwanga and Haika Osaki (NIMR Mwanza) also shared findings from Tanzania, as part of a multi-country study on alcohol availability, alcohol policies and young people’s perceptions and experience of the effects of alcohol. Through GIS mapping, they illustrated the density of alcohol retailers in urban settlements in Moshi and Mwanza, and their proximity to schools. 

Michelle Remme presented on co-financing – an economic evaluation approach that incorporates the multiple benefits of structural interventions, and their multiple payers. One of the case studies is the AFYA individually randomised controlled trial in Shinyanga region, which compares the effectiveness of a cash transfer and food basket at improving treatment adherence among food-insecure ART initiates. AFYA is led by Prof Sandra McCoy and Dr Prosper Njau.

The work of Dr Joyce Wamoyi (NIMR Mwanza) and other STRIVE colleagues was shared on conceptualizing, defining and measuring transactional sex in the context of HIV prevention. This included results from a meta-analysis and technical recommendations on measurement.

On the last day of the meeting, consortium members discussed the narratives emerging from the various bodies of work and how they contribute to the larger body of evidence around biomedical HIV interventions, adolescent well-being, and development synergies.

For more details, have a look at the STRIVE website: http://strive.lshtm.ac.uk/

Study on the Maasai Response to Mass Drug Administration for Trachoma in a Changing Political Economy

Trachoma, the commonest infection causing blindness worldwide, has greatly decreased in many countries due to mass drug administration (MDA), yet rates remain high in Tanzania. The Maasai ethnic group forms the majority of the population in trachoma endemic areas in Northern Tanzania where uptake of MDA is low. Reasons for this are not clearly understood. Lack of health facilities and schools in their communities, poor access to health services in urban settings due to language barriers, and different views about their “development” have impacted on their experiences of health services more generally.  Additionally, traditional medicine is widely practiced, possibly due to isolation from centres of development and a strong cultural identity. Recent reports indicate a continued sense of political subjugation, marginalisation and cultural discrimination of Maasai, which fosters distrust in government led activities. All of these may impact on the uptake of MDA. 

This study is an in–depth exploration of the reasons for poor uptake including the social, political and historical experience of the Tanzanian Maasai, and specifically how perceptions, experiences and responses to health programmes, specifically MDA for trachoma, are impacted by the changing political and economic context of the Maasai. 

This is an observational qualitative study conducted in Longido District, with a high prevalence of trachoma, estimated at 50%. Methods include observations of MDA, a survey, household interviews, oral histories and interviews with organizations working with Maasai communities. This research utilises a political economy of health framework to take a public health approach to understanding the Maasai response to MDA. The Ministry of Health recognizes the need to change its approach for nomadic and marginalised communities, and these findings will further inform programmes for such populations.  

Online course on impact evaluation of interventions addressing the social determinants of health

This online course provides a review of the methods for evaluating the impact of policies or programmes that could be health-sector specific, or could originate from other sectors, but with the primary view of improving health.

The course covers both the quantitative methods of attributing impact as well as largely qualitative approaches that are used to understand the reasons why the policy or programme were effective or not, including the role of context in implementation, and the potential for unintended consequences. The course explores how to deal with programme and system complexity within the evaluation.

For more details and to enroll, follow this link: http://tie.inspvirtual.mx/portales/sdhnet/impact.php

Ifakara Health Institute to offer MSc in Public Health Research

This is a new programme which will be jointly run by the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) and the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI). The degree programme will be hosted by the School of LISBE in the GHBM department and courses will be conducted at the IHI in Bagamoyo. The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology invites applications from suitably qualified candidates for admission to pursue a Master of Science in Public Health Research (MScPHR) in the 2016/17 academic year.

For more details, please follow this link: http://www.nm-aist.ac.tz/documents/document-gallery/public%20health.pdf

News: New IHI leadership

In March 2016, the Board of Trustees of the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) appointed Dr. Honorati Masanja as the Chief Executive Director (CED) of Ifakara Health Institute effective July 2016. Dr. Masanja takes over from Dr. Salim Abdulla whose term is coming to an end; before end of his term Dr. Salim will be on sabbatical leave from July through December 2016.

The board has also appointed Dr. Fredros Okumu as Deputy Chief Executive Director Science with effect from 1st July 2016. Dr. Fredros Okumu is a Research Scientist at Ifakara Health Institute, where he is also Head of Environmental Health and Ecological Sciences Department.

News: Requirements for residence, work and research permits

The requirements for residence, work and research permits in Tanzania have changed recently. For a summary of requirements, fees, forms and other relevant documents for applications for these permits, please send an email to Amina Farah (amina.farah@lshtm.ac.uk).

Upcoming events

We are pleased to inform you that the next LSHTM-Tanzania network meeting will be held at White Sands Hotel in Dar es Salaam on Friday 8 July 2016. If you are interested to attend, please email Amina Farah (amina.farah@lshtm.ac.uk).

There will also be another network meeting in London during the week of the LSHTM annual symposium in September 2016. Please keep this in mind, if you are attending the symposium this year. Once the date is confirmed, details will be communicated with the network.

About the LSHTM-Tanzania network

Our overall aim is to improve public health research in Tanzania through joint research and capacity-building, including through better communications and networking for LSHTM staff, students and alumni in Tanzania.

Membership is open to LSHTM and collaborative site staff and research degree students whose work involves Tanzania; MSc students, both distance learning and face to face, who are Tanzanian or resident in Tanzania; and actively interested alumni linked to Tanzania.

Who's who

  • Leadership group: Saidi Kapiga, David Mabey, Natacha Protopopoff,  Joanna Schellenberg, Jim Todd.
  • Administrative support: Amina Farah.

We’d like to hear from you! Please send your news items and other contributions to: Amina Farah, amina.farah@lshtm.ac.uk

Subscribing and unsubscribing

Website: http://lshtmintanzania.wix.com/lshtmintanzani

LSHTM Tanzania Network Newsletter - Issue 8: December 2016

Edited by Natacha Protopopoff in Moshi

In this 8th issue of the newsletter, we are reporting on the two Tanzania network meetings held in 2016,

Reports from the Tanzania network meetings held in 2016

Dar Es Salaam (July 2016)

The network held its second scientific meeting on Friday 8 July 2016, at White Sands Hotel, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It was attended by 29 participants from the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College (KCMC), the National Institute for Medical Research/ Mwanza InterveAntions Trial Unit (NIMR/MITU), NIMR Tanga, and the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children.

The objectives of this one-day meeting were (i) to provide an avenue for collaborating research institutions and researchers to share their research interests and findings (ii) to provide an overview of teaching and capacity building efforts across institutions; and (iii) to identify areas and mechanisms for enhanced collaboration.

During the first session representatives from each of the collaborating institutions gave a brief overview of their institution’s work and collaboration with LSHTM. The second session highlighted the network’s research on WASH and was followed by presentations on a range of research projects on HIV, maternal and child health, and health financing. The fourth session focused on the use and analysis of routinely collected surveillance data. The meeting closed on presentations highlighting teaching and capacity building across institutions. The minutes of this meeting is attached.

London (September 2016)

The network held a brief informal meeting in London on Tuesday 20 September 2016, during LSHTM week. Tara Mtuy gave an update on the LSHTM collaboration with the Institute of Public Health at KCMUCo, as well as on the LSHTM-KCMC Eye Health Programme;  Paul Mee talked about the SEARCH Project and Tanzanian HIV Treatment Cascade; Tara Tancred presented briefly on the QUADS project, bringing a quality improvement approach to public health services in parts of Mtwara Region; Joanna Schellenberg gave an update on the Royal National Lifeboat Institute’s funding to LSHTM for research on the prevention of drowning; Phil Gothard gave an update on the East African Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and Hazel Dockrell gave an update on the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance: African Center of Excellence for Infectious Diseases of Humans and Animals in Southern and Eastern Africa. Thanks to all presenters – if you’d like more information please contact them directly.

“Setting a research agenda at KCMC” workshop

A collaborative initiative between the Institute of Public Health, KCMC, the THRiVE Consortium, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Driven by the need for a more structured and systematic approach to the research undertaken by staff and students at KCMC, more than 30 members of staff from 12 departments at KCMC, KCRI and KCMU Co as well as Tara Mtuy and Jenny Renju from LSHTM participated in a three-day workshop to collectively develop a structured research agenda for KCMC. 

The demand from the workshop came from within, with one participant stating:

“developing our research priorities at KCMC centre will help us build a stronger University research capacity, and help our clinician to make informed decisions on patients’ management and supporting national initiatives such as combating infectious diseases and reducing child and maternal mortality in aligning with the SDG goals by 2025

With support from THRiVE KCMU Co and LSHTM the workshop was formally opened by Prof. Elton Kisanga (Director of Research and Consultancies, KCMUco), and an opening talk by Dr Sia (Director of the Institute of Public Health) outlined the rationale for a structured research agenda at KCMC – the need to “be prepared and not to scramble.”   The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Hazel Mccoullough from LSHTM who has a wealth of experience in such collaborative efforts amongst these institutions, most notably working on the MCDC, Wellcome Trust grant.

This was a highly interactive workshop was driven by the participating staff members who, not only set the agenda and shaped the workshop outputs, but also engaged in three-days of lively and interesting group discussion, and tireless group work that involved collaborative gaining of consensus and action planning.

The success of this workshop was down to the participants, who developed a research agenda, with seven identified research priority areas that align with national, international and institutional priorities, and established research groups to enhance and promote multi and interdisciplinary research and support student learning.  There are now seven working groups whose members are linked through an online platform to connect, engage and support each other’s research interests, as well as providing platforms to support students and faculty level research projects.

Teaching and learning opportunities

Clinical Trials in KCMU college

KCMU college is keen on developing and improving their MSc courses in Moshi, Tanzania.  They are looking to LSHTM collaboration under the THRiVE consortium, to help with the revision of the current Clinical Research MSc.  The long term vision is to develop this into a MSc in Clinical Trials, incorporating some of the existing curriculum, but developing new modules in Clinical Trials.  These would be offered after the current Foundation course which covers the necessary components of Epidemiology, Statistics and Research Methods. The step would be to develop two modules on an Introduction to Clinical Trials, similar to those offered in the School. We are looking for volunteers for anyone willing and able to help develop these modules.  If so please contact Dr Michael Mahande jmmahande@gmail.com and copy in Jim Todd (jim.todd@lshtm.ac.uk).  

Research Methods in MITU/NIMR

The well acclaimed Research Methods course will be run in MITU/NIMR next year for 2 weeks starting from 28th February to 10th March 2017.  This offers excellent basic practical training in all medical research methods, covering epidemiology, statistics, lab methods, qualitative methods, field work, ethics, and clinical trials.  It is a useful course for MSc students, PhD researchers, research assistants, and experienced researchers who want to find out about other disciplines. Please advertise this to your colleagues.  Applicants are invited to apply to Fabian Mashauri mashauri@hotmail.com

About the LSHTM-Tanzania network

 Our overall aim is to improve public health research in Tanzania through joint research and capacity-building, including through better communications and networking for LSHTM staff, students and alumni in Tanzania.

Membership is open to LSHTM and collaborative site staff and research degree students whose work involves Tanzania; MSc students, both distance learning and face to face, who are Tanzanian or resident in Tanzania; and actively interested alumni linked to Tanzania.

Who's who

  • Leadership group: Christian Hansen, Saidi Kapiga, David Mabey, Alphaxard Manjurano, Dominic Mikulski, Michelle Remme, Donat Shamba, Joanna Schellenberg, Natacha Protopopoff, Florida Muro, Jim Todd.
  • Administrative support: Amina Farah.

We’d like to hear from you! Please send your news items and other contributions to: Amina Farah, amina.farah@lshtm.ac.uk

Subscribing and unsubscribing

Website: http://lshtmintanzania.wix.com/lshtmintanzania

LSHTM Tanzania Network Newsletter - Issue 9: May 2017

Edited by Dominic Mikulski in Mwanza

In this 9th issue of the newsletter, we’re covering new research initiatives that have been funded by RNLI UK, recent and upcoming meetings & conferences and providing an update on research funding awards & training opportunities.

DRIFT – A new study into the burden of drowning and possible prevention strategies

Earlier this year the Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU) was awarded a one-year grant from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), a UK charity, to conduct research into the burden of drowning on Lake Victoria. Our study is called DRIFT – Informing drowning intervention strategies among fishing communities in Tanzania.

Founded in 1824, the RNLI saves people from drowning through rescue lifeboat services, provision of lifeguards and flood rescue response and by educating people about water safety. Traditionally, the focus of the RNLI has been on drowning prevention at home in the UK, however in recent years the institution has broadened its focus to also work internationally with partners world-wide with the aim of placing drowning on the global agenda, and to provide equipment, skills and knowledge to prevent drowning in at-risk communities around the world.

It is estimated that around 370,000 people drown each year globally, many of whom are children, but for large parts of the world very little robust evidence exists on the burden of drowning and effective prevention strategies. Recognising the need for research, our one-year RNLI-funded study will generate evidence on the incidence and burden of drowning in high-risk populations around Lake Victoria in Tanzania, and evidence to support development of drowning prevention strategies. The study will investigate who is most at risk, and why, and will assess the emotional, social and economic impact of death due to drowning. In keeping with MITU’s research interests around STI/HIV prevention, the study will also evaluate potential effects of perceived drowning risk, particularly among fishermen, on other health-related risk behaviours, focusing on sexual behaviour and HIV. Finally, the study will generate evidence on perceived feasibility and acceptability towards potential drowning prevention interventions. Study activities will commence over the next few months in seven lake-side communities along the southern shoreline.

During the first session representatives from each of the collaborating institutions gave a brief overview of their institution’s work and collaboration with LSHTM. The second session highlighted the network’s research on WASH and was followed by presentations on a range of research projects on HIV, maternal and child health, and health financing. The fourth session focused on the use and analysis of routinely collected surveillance data. The meeting closed on presentations highlighting teaching and capacity building across institutions. The minutes of this meeting is attached.

Report from the THRiVE AGM

The THRiVE consortium is funded by the Wellcome Trust through the Nairobi based AESA (Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa) under the African Academy of Sciences.  Two Tanzanian institutions – KCMC and NIMR, Mwanza – are part of THRiVE.  The annual general meeting (AGM) was held in Sagana Gateway Resort, Murang’a, Kenya on 12th and 13th May, and included representatives from both KCMC and NIMR Mwanza. The AGM followed 2 days when new PhD and post-docs were selected for THRiVE fellowships.  Two PhD fellows, Dr Rune Philemon (KCMC), and Dr Denna Mkwashapi (NIMR, Mwanza) were selected from Tanzania, and two post-docs, Dr Irene Kiwelu and Dr Jovin Kitau (both KCMC).

The AGM concentrated on how to build on the systems that were initiated in the first THRiVE consortium.  The main area discussed was how to streamline and improve the PhD programs to ensure that PhD studies are completed in three to four years, and produced innovative results that would impact health policy makers, and implementation programmes.

Training & Development

East African Clinical Trials Short Course

The Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU) is committed to conducting research that will evaluate promising public health interventions by using randomized controlled trials, and the capacity to undertake such trials in Tanzania.  Part of that remit is to develop a course on the application of clinical trials in the East African region. The objective is to make the course collaborative across universities and research institutions interested in clinical trials methods.  The course development is close to completion now, with participation from KCMC, Makerere and Nairobi universities, and from NIMR, UVRI and KEMRI research institutions. With funding from the THRiVE consortium, the first East African Clinical Trials course is scheduled to take place during the last half of October 2017, and will build on expertise from across East Africa.

The course objectives are to increase understanding of the issues involved in the design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of randomised clinical trials (RCTs). Students attending the course will acquire deeper theoretical knowledge of key concepts in the design and interpretation of trials.  They will also develop practical knowledge, and skills, on how to plan and implement trials in African settings.  The full program will be posted on the MITU website along with information on how to apply to attend the course.

Mwanza research methods course still going strong in THRiVE 2!

The Mwanza research methods course runs annually by the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in Mwanza, Tanzania continues to be popular among early career researchers in the East African region. The course was designed to cater for the needs of researchers in the early stages of their careers.  It complements what is offered in formal training institutions (such as universities) by focussing on both theoretical and practical training covering the key stages in the research process i.e. project design, implementation and analysis of data.

Since its inception in 2011, the course has been delivered consistently with the same high quality. The course tutors are expert researchers at NIMR, MITU and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who ensure quality teaching and suggest practical solutions to problems that the participants present from their projects. The costs for attending the course has also been kept down in order to offer the opportunity to attend to as many participants as possible from Tanzania as well as other countries in the East African region and beyond.

The course was one of the highlight achievements of THRiVE-1 having trained 123 researchers between 2011 and 2016. Course graduates have utilised their knowledge and skills in different ways, some to complement their post graduate training at Masters, PhD and post-doctoral level. Efforts to establish alumni of the course are underway to enhance networking – another objective of THRiVE.

This year the course ran from the 27th of February to the 3rd of March 2017. Demand for the course is increasing – evident by the record number of applications received for this year’s course. A total of 84 applications was received and we were able to accommodate 41 of these on the course. Aside from Tanzanian participants, course attendees came from a range of countries: 9 were from Uganda, and one each from Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Ethiopia. Of these, 11 were PhD students some from the recently recruited THRiVE cohort and others with different sources of sponsorship.

Due to the increasing demand for the course, NIMR Mwanza is considering running it twice a year. Moreover, discussions are ongoing with universities in the East Africa region and the UK to explore the possibility of accrediting the course as a module within their institutions.

Practical Skills for Clinical Research – A new module in London

For the first time this academic year, the London School’s in-house version of the NIMR Research Methods course was offered to LSHTM students on the Tropical Medicine and International Health master’s programme. The module, which covers much the same content as the Mwanza-based course, is called Practical Skills for Clinical Research and has a very applied focus equipping students with the practical skills needed to conduct field research. The module content covers formulation of research questions, reviewing and appraising literature, study design and budgeting, governance and ethics, lab methods, questionnaire and database development, statistical analysis and interpretation, and presentation of findings. Almost all of this year’s TMIH students took the new module which ran in January and February 2017, and one student will be visiting MITU next month to conduct her summer project on the topic of maternal health in Mwanza. Unlike the Mwanza course which uses Epi Info, the LSHTM module teaches Epi Data for database development, data entry and analysis, primarily because the software works on both PCs and Mac computers. Working towards accreditation of the Mwanza-based course, there are plans to align the two modules further in future, and possibly offer the Mwanza-based course as part of an East African Master’s degree in Tropical Medicine and International Health.

SHAPE Scientific Symposium

On 26th May, 2017, the SHAPE project (see below for details) co-organised a scientific symposium in partnership with Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) and the Global health institute, Duke. The meeting took place in Moshi, Tanzania.  The symposium entitled “Implementing the Option B+ PMTCT Guidelines in the Kilimanjaro Region” brought together scientists and health practioners working on PMTCT related activities to share experiences, to discuss preliminary research findings and new upcoming studies as well as to identify areas of synergy and opportunities for strengthening collaborations.  Within the KCMC community various research groups, students and implementers are involved in aspects related to PMTCT, in particular Option B+.  It is our hope that this symposium provides a platform from which we can foster collaborations and learn lessons in order to strengthen PMTCT research and implementation within the Region.  A full morning of activities took place, convening current and potential local, national and international researchers, implementers and policy makers. 

Background on SHAPE

The Strengthening Health Systems for the Application of Policy to Enable Universal Test and Treat (SHAPE UTT) Study was funded by the MRC/Wellcome from January 2017 through to December 2020.  This project aims to address a critical evidence gap by ascertaining heath systems preparedness for delivering UTT in Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa.  Alison Wringe (PI), Jenny Renju (Co-PI) and Jim Todd (Co-PI) will be working alongside Alpha network partners in Karonga (Mia Crampin), Ifakara (Eveline Geubbels) and uMhanyakude (Mosa Moshabela).

Recent Research Funding Awards

IHI success in the African Research Leadership (ARL) awards

The Medical Research Council (MRC) which administers the African Research Award (ARL) in collaboration with the Department for International Development (DFID) has confirmed Ifakara Health Institute Research Scientist Dr Ally Olotu as recipient of the prestigious prize. In confirming Dr Olotu to the award, the ARL panel took into consideration his written application, the reviewer’s comments, his presentation and the discussions during the interview. Applications were assessed according to the criteria laid out in the call text for the scheme. Overall his proposal scored median of 8 points. The grant will be made to the administering authority at the University of Oxford as the UK PI’s institution, which will be responsible for the administration of funds to the Ifakara Health Institute.

IHI scientist wins global research prize

Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) Science Director, Dr Fredros Okumu, is among 41 "exceptional early-career scientists poised to advance biomedical research across the globe." Dr Okumu and other scientists from 16 countries have been chosen as International Research Scholars by global philanthropies. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has teamed up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to develop scientific talent around the world, and will award a total of nearly $26.7 million to this group of scholars. Each researcher will receive a total of $650,000 over five years. A list of winners and their projects issued along with the press release announcing the awards, shows Dr. Okumu’s research focus will be on eliminating dominant malaria vectors in rural Tanzania. The award is a big boon for scientists early in their careers, and offers the freedom to pursue new research directions and creative projects that could develop into top-notch scientific programs.

MITU funded to develop an alcohol-focused intervention package among HIV-infected patients in Tanzania and South Africa

The UK Medical Research Council (MRC) recently funded MITU to carry out a two-year study to collect information required for preparing future research among people living with HIV (PLWH). The long-term plan is to conduct a trial to help increase ART usage among PLWH who use alcohol excessively with a goal of improving their health in Tanzania and South Africa. The lead investigator of the study is Dr Saidi Kapiga, Professor of Epidemiology and International Health at LSHTM and Scientific Director of MITU. The study will help to collect information to (a) determine the extent of excessive alcohol use among PLWH in Tanzania where this information is lacking, (b) develop and adapt strategies to reduce excessive alcohol use, and (c) find out if the strategies are feasible and acceptable in the two countries. This is a collaborative effort including MITU, Tanzania National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), South African Medical Research Council, Stellenbosch University and LSHTM.

Excessive use of alcohol is common in eastern and southern Africa, including among those PLWH and using antiretroviral therapy (ART). Using alcohol among PLWH is associated with poor usage of ART drugs and being lost to care and treatment programmes. This suggests that strategies that reduce alcohol use when implemented at HIV clinics may improve PLWH’s ART drug usage and health.

Other Meetings & Opportunities to Network

Over the next few months, there are several meetings and opportunities to network taking place.  Some of these are focussed on disciplines (such as biostatistics) but please tell us of these opportunities, so that we can maximise the attendance and their impact.

Sub-Saharan African Network Conference, 22 - 25 August 2017

The Sub-Saharan African Network within the International Biometrics Society will take place in Lilongwe, Malawi (https://www.ibssusanconference.org/).  Abstracts to present at the conference are open until 15th June, and travel scholarships are available to IBS members.

Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene Meeting, 29 September – 1 October 2017

The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene is holding its first research in progress meeting in Moshi, Tanzania (https://rstmh.org/events/african-research-progress-abstract-submission-now-open).  The call for abstracts is currently open until 24th July, with abstracts being sought particularly from early career scientists and clinicians.

Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association Conference, 20 - 23 November 2017

The Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association (http://samsa-math.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/SAMSA-2017-2nd-Call.pdf) is holding its annual conference in Lush Garden Hotel in Arusha, and will be an ideal conference for those with statistical as well as mathematical results.  Abstracts are open until mid-September.

LSHTM-Tanzania Network Meeting, 18 - 22 September 2017 (LSHTM Week)

The Network will also plan to hold a meeting during this year’s LSHTM Week, for all those who would like to attend.  Further details for the meeting will be circulated in advance, and as part of the programme for LSHTM Week.

Opportunities for an additional meeting in Tanzania are being considered, and details of this will be shared with network members in due course.

About the LSHTM-Tanzania network

Our overall aim is to improve public health research in Tanzania through joint research and capacity-building, including through better communications and networking for LSHTM staff, students and alumni in Tanzania.

Membership is open to LSHTM and collaborative site staff and research degree students whose work involves Tanzania; MSc students, both distance learning and face to face, who are Tanzanian or resident in Tanzania; and actively interested alumni linked to Tanzania.

Who's who

· Leadership group: Christian Hansen, Saidi Kapiga, David Mabey, Alphaxard Manjurano, Dominic Mikulski, Michelle Remme, Donat Shamba, Joanna Schellenberg, Natacha Protopopoff, Florida Muro, Jim Todd, Hilary Whitworth.

Administrative support: Amina Farah.

We’d like to hear from you! Please send your news items and other contributions to: Amina Farah, amina.farah@lshtm.ac.uk

Subscribing and unsubscribing

 

Get in touch
Get in touch LSHTM Tanzania

LSHTM Tanzania Network

c/o JMP Building
Moshi, Tanzania
jmp@gmail.com

Tel: 058795225
Fax: 39-952-652

Location

https://www.google.com/maps/@-3.316392,37.327281,14z