27th June, 2022
The Management of the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) through the Sickle Cell Programme today has presented the proposal for establishing the Sickle Cell Institute at the Mloganzila Campus to the Former President of United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.
The presentation was made by the MUHAS Director of Postgraduate Studies who is also the Principal Investigator of Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO)-Tanzania, Dr. Emmanuel Balandya, at the Former President’s Office in Dar es Salaam.
In plans for establishing the Mloganzila Sickle Cell Institute, Dr. Balandya said the University’s vision is to establish a state-of-the-art institute that will be the National and Regional Hub for advanced care, training, research and advocacy for SCD. The Director explained the necessity of having such an Institute in Tanzania. The proposed Institute will reduce cost of bone marrow transplant (from approximately USD 100,000 for patients who receive treatment in India to USD 30,000 if the procedure is performed locally in Tanzania). It will also increase the number of healthcare workers with skills on SCD in the country (districts hospitals and above; hence strengthen the healthcare referral system). Through this centre, specialists in bone marrow transplant will be trained locally in Tanzania and will also participate in research on gene therapy for SCD.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Andrea Pembe, concluded by thanking the Former President for supporting MUHAS in the past especially in obtaining modern equipment for the School of Dentistry, acquiring the new Mloganzila campus and construction of the University Teaching Hospital at Mloganzila Campus. The Vice Chancellor then requested the Former President to assist the University in looking for collaborators who will be willing to partner with MUHAS in establishing the Mloganzila SCD Institute.
H.E. Dr. Jakaya Kikwete was pleased with the presentation and he congratulated MUHAS for its endeavor in strengthening its core functions of teaching, research and health care services in Tanzania. He further said that from the presentation made by MUHAS, it is clear that there are many people, especially children who are affected by SCD. He therefore said that as the country we need to continue strengthening health care services, including SCD. Therefore, the proposed Centre of Excellence in SCD is timely and it will provide the required human resource and facilities to support research and health care services for SCD patients. He promised to assist MUHAS in finding collaborators and organizations through his networks to assist the establishment of the Mloganzila SCD Institute.
Other members who participated in this visit were the MUHAS Deputy Vice Chancellor responsible for Academic, Research and Consultancy, Prof. Appolinary Kamuhabwa, the Director of Research and Publications, Prof. Bruno Sunguya, the Head of Administration and Operations in the Sickle Cell Programme and SPARCO Clinical Coordinating Center, Ms. Janeth Manongi, and the MUHAS Head of the Public Relations Unit, Ms. Helen Mtui.