9th August, 2022
The Ministry of Health (MoH) in collaboration with Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Tanzania Diabetes Association (TDA) and other stakeholders launched the National Non-Communicable Diseases Research Agenda in Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania like the rest of the world is faced with alarming increase in the burden of non-communicable diseases especially hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Change in lifestyle to eating unhealthy diet, sedentarism, being physically inactive, and increased use and exposure to smokes, alcohol and other chemicals provide a clear explanation to these observations.
These diseases develop slowly but remain for lifetime and most are incurable. They are expensive to deal with, and sufferers often lose their jobs owing to the complications associated with these diseases. Consequently, families are driven to extreme poverty and the country’s economy is jeopardized. Stakeholders’ engagement and commitment is therefore vital in tackling these challenges.
The Ministry of Health, other ministries and stakeholders worked together to formulate NCDs strategic plans, launch NCDs Control and Prevention Program, establish diabetic clinics throughout the country, and strengthen the health systems responses to the rising burden of these diseases. Coordination and harmonization of NCDs initiatives have been made possible because of these.
Research is important in establishing the program’s effectiveness, and inform policies, strategies and plans. NCDs research are relatively few and for a long time, they are not streamlined to address issues of national interest. In realising this, the Ministry of Health collaborated with MUHAS, TDA and other stakeholders to develop the 1st National NCDs Research Agenda.
The Agenda was officially launched by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Aifello W. Sichalwe and the event was also attended by the Director of Curative Services MoH, Dr. Omary Ubuguyu, the Assistant Director of NCD Program (MoH), Dr. James Kiologwe, representing the Director of Health Services, Social Welfare and Nutrition from President’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government Tanzania (PO-RALG), Dr. James Kengia, the Director of Research and Publications MUHAS, Prof. Bruno Sunguya and the President of TDA, Prof Andrew Swai. There was also a representation of research and training institutions, development and implementing partners, health facilities, civil society organizations, NGOs, medias and other stakeholders whose activities are in a way focused on these diseases.
Alongside this event, awardees of the NCDs research and training grants were announced. These will conduct research and partake PhD trainings which are focused to address issues listed in the national agenda. Stakeholders were urged by the CMO to continue exploring opportunities which will finance and support research that can help them in planning, policies and strategies development.