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12,472 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
(Can somebody make this a Stickey thread)

Made this thread for people to post news in their countries make great leaps in Health care for the masses, disease curing etc...

Researchers are close to producing a new malaria
vaccine that could see the number of deaths from
the disease drop significantly in Africa.
The vaccine, known simply as RTS,S, is expected
to be available for public use in 2014 subject to
approval by the Ministry of Public Health.
Results from the recent large-scale third stage of
trials show that the vaccine can protect infants
against the deadly disease.
The vaccine is to be administered to children in
three doses.
Speaking on Friday at a conference in Nairobi, the
scientists involved in the research said the
vaccine would give a lifeline to many families in
Tool kit
In Kenya, the research is being undertaken by
scientists based at the Centres for Disease Control
and Kenya Medical Research Institute.
“An effective malaria vaccine would be a welcome
addition to our tool kit, even as we record
significant progress in recent years,” a principal
investigator, Ms Patricia Njuguna, said.
“When administered along with standard
childhood vaccines, the efficacy of RTS,S in
infants aged six to 12 weeks at first vaccination
against clinical and severe malaria was 31 and 37
per cent respectively,” Mr Salim Abdulla, a
Tanzanian researcher, said.
He noted that the efficacy level observed with the
dosage last year among children aged five to 17
months against clinical and severe malaria
recorded 55 per cent and 47 per cent success
An estimated 655,000 people from sub-Saharan
Africa die of malaria annually with children below
five the worst hit, according the World Health
Organisation (WHO).
In Kenya, malaria is one of the top three killers
among infants along with pneumonia and
The 2010 Kenya Demographic Health Survey
results showed that at least 84 per cent of
children below 15, which translates to over six
million people, are at the risk of contracting
The survey also indicated that over 19,000
infants succumb to the disease annually in Kenya.
Though the current success rating is lower than
the one reported last year, Mr Abdulla said the
information will enable the team gather and
analyse more data from the vaccine trials.
“This will help to determine what factors might
influence efficacy against malaria and to better
understand the potential of RTS,S in our battle
against this devastating disease,” he said.
Ms Njuguna said they will provide more data for
analysis to enable the public to understand the
findings better.

12,472 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Kenya: Babies in a Pouch -
a Hopping Success

6 November 2012 , By Joan Barsulai and Lucy
Maroncha, Source: RNW Africa
A decade ago, Kenyatta National Hospital,
Kenya's largest referral hospital, was dealing with
escalating baby mortality rates - 50% of preterm
born infants did not survive. Since the cost of
increasing the number of incubators was
prohibitive, a new form of premature baby care
was implemented: Kangaroo.
Loise Nyakoa (26) delivered prematurely at a
time when all the incubators were occupied. "I
was very worried," says Nyakoa. "I feared for my
child's survival." Her son, Sidella, was born one
month premature and weighed only one
Like most low- to middle-income mothers giving
birth for the first time, Nyakoa's choices were
limited to Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
But new mothers such as Nyakoa can now
undergo another form of preterm babycare. In
2000, KNH began implementing the Kangaroo
mother care programme. First implemented in
1978 in Bogota, Colombia and since taking root
in many countries, Kangaroo involves placing the
infant in direct skin contact between the
mother's breasts for easy feeding access. The
infant is wrapped in a gown, tailored to resemble
a kangaroo's pouch, for 24 hours a day until it
comes to term.
Read more about this

12,472 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Africa: Major Malaria
Vaccine Less Effective Than
10 November 2012 , By Carey L. Biron, Source:
(Photo: Stuart Price/UN Photo) Washington
Researchers unveiling critical trial results of a
potentially major anti-malaria vaccine are
expressing disappointment that the drug's
efficacy levels have proved lower than they had
Following on decades of research, the third
phase of testing on a vaccine known as RTS,S
found that the drug reduced malaria rates
among infants (age six to 12 weeks) by about a
third, far lower than expected.
The study, funded largely by the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation, is part of the largest malaria
trial ever conducted, taking place in seven
African countries. Results were published Friday
in the New England Journal of Medicine, a U.S.
While still significant, the results were
disappointing in having followed surprisingly
positive findings last year, when a similar study
suggested that RTS,S was almost twice as
effective (47-56 percent) on slightly older
children, those five to 17 months old.
If this most recent phase could replicate that
level of efficacy among infants, researchers had
hoped that RTS,S doses could become
incorporated into the standard round of initial
vaccinations commonly given to newborns - an
approach that has now been proven safe.
"It's a little frustrating that we're seeing different
levels of protection in different age groups
compared to last year and this year," Andrew
Witty, the CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, a major drugs
manufacturer and one of the central partners in
developing RTS,S, told journalists Friday from
"As it turns out, this phase of study was not the
final step that I think many people might have
hoped. But it's an important step and takes us
further forward towards the goal we've been
working toward over the past 50 years ... this
remains the lead and most encouraging
candidate vaccine."
Indeed, the new research constitutes the first
time that scientists have found such high
efficacy for an anti-malarial vaccine for infants.
Witty notes that if the two rounds of study had
been reversed, the psychological impact would
be far different and the findings would
undoubtedly have been widely lauded.
Further, the higher efficacy among the slightly
older cohort remains extremely important, given
that scientists have found that this age category
has greater susceptibility to severe cases of
malaria than do infants. While the ease of a
single early vaccination would have been the
most efficient scenario, researchers say they will
now be looking into additional strengthening
options, such as giving toddlers a booster later
"Two things are very, very encouraging," Witty
says. "One, the trial is successful, despite the
fact that it doesn't achieve quite the high level
we would have hoped. Two, the benefit we've
seen is higher than bed nets, which themselves
deliver about 30 percent gain over nothing."
This last point is an important one, and hints
towards the approach that researchers appear to
be taking to continue moving forward. Although
there are still at least 12 months of additional
testing planned ahead of a 2015 projected
release date for RTS,S, it now seems clear that
the drug will need to play a more limited role
among a package of additional interventions.
This will include treated bed nets, which the
study reports 86 percent of children under
observation were using. Additional research will
now look into how to tweak the usage of RTS,S
based on age, location and other demographic
"In combating malaria, one size does not fit all,"
David Kaslow, director of the PATH Malaria
Vaccine Initiative, a U.S.-based non-profit that
has led the RTS,S research, said Friday from
Cape Town, South Africa.
"There is a need for new options for controlling
malaria, and we expect that different
combinations of tools will be appropriate in
different settings in Africa. So, to understand the
optimal use for RTS,S, it is critical that we get
input from African researchers, because they're
on the frontlines."
Kaslow notes that the wealth of information
coming out of the RTS,S-related studies will also
provide "a lasting legacy in Africa for the
capacity to develop solutions for malaria and
other infectious diseases for years to come."

12,472 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
'Traditional Medicine Has
Place in Health'

4 November 2012 , By Masembe Tambwe,
Source: Daily News
Medical and nursing students have been urged
to incorporate traditional medicine in their
The Acting Assistant Director of Traditional and
Alternative Medicine Dr Paulo Peter Mhame at the
Ministry of Health and Social Welfare told the
'Sunday News' that in Africa the history of
traditional medicine went far beyond the
establishment of contacts with foreigners.
"The recent development and resurgence of
traditional medicine in Tanzania started in 1961,
it was felt the need to rediscover our socio-
cultural identity, and traditional medicine, an
integral part of our heritage, and benefited from
this return to the fountainhead," he said.
Dr Mhame said that the existence of traditional
healing methods for human and animal diseases
provides the opportunity in improving the health
conditions of communities by providing the
needed medicaments at affordable costs. He said
that in the 1980s the introduction of cost
sharing in health services led to an increase in
costs of health services and that the majority of
the population mostly in the rural areas is who
people depend on subsistence farming and
modern health services are too costly for them.
"These people therefore resorted to use
traditional medicine as their mainstay of primary
health care," he explained.
Traditional medicine is the mainstay of primary
health care for the majority of those in the rural
areas in Africa which is about 80 per cent of the
population. Dr Mhame said that people have
always relied on resources within their
environment to survive since the time of creation
and those plants, animals and minerals
constitute the major natural resources used by
man for promotive, preventive, curative and
rehabilitative health.
In Africa, like any other continent, these
resources have been used for over ten thousand
years by Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs)
who acquired their knowledge and skills through
observation, spiritual revelation, personal
experience, training and direct information from
their predecessors.
In 2002 the Traditional and Alternative Medicines
Act No. 23 was enacted by the Parliament and
the inclusion of traditional medicine into the
National Health Services Policy and later
Legislation fostered the establishment of
Traditional and Alternative Health Practice
Council in 2005.
"It was through this period when various Non
Governmental Organisations (NGOs) dealing with
traditional medicine were established, for
example Tanga AIDS Working Group (TAWG),
which provides health services through
traditional medicine to over 5,000 HIV/AIDS
clients," he explained.
He said that besides the provision of health
services in collaboration with modern health care
providers, they provide training to traditional
health practitioners on how the services can be
provided in the modern settings. Dr Mhame said
that the market of traditional medicines (herbal
medicines) was growing fast, and could be used
to fill the gap in our national economy.
He said that few individuals were involved in
growing medicinal resources for marketing, as
well as few THPs have established permanent
building for the services provisions. "In terms of
employment opportunities, traditional medicine
practice currently employs a good number of
people as healers and herbal medicines sellers.
With time it mighty employ more people in
agriculture (growing of medicinal resources),
industrial processing and in marketing,"

12,472 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Tanzania: Company Under
Fire for Selling Fake Drugs

31 October 2012 , By Ludovick Kazoka, Source:
Daily News
(Photo: The Daily News)
TANZANIA Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA)
broke its silence, saying that the suspended
Tanzania Pharmaceutical Industries (TPI) Ltd sold
fake ARVs (TT-VIR) to the Medical Stores
Department (MSD).
TFDA Director General, Mr Hiiti Sillo, told
journalists in Dar es Salaam that contrary to TPI's
denials, his authority has documents and
exhibits proving that the company was behind
the production of the ARVs. "The documents and
exhibits have been submitted to security organs
for further action," he stated.
He reassured the public that the company has
been suspended from manufacturing ARVs
through a letter with reference number CA/
C.80/222/01A/47 of October 4 this year, and that
the authority has suspended the supply of the
drugs through a letter with reference number
CA/C.80/222/01A/55 of October 10, this year.
"The letters were sent by dispatch to the TPI
headquarters at Mikocheni area in Dar es Salaam
and they (letters) were received on October 10,
2012," he stressed. Mr Sillo also denied reports
that TPI is continuing with production of the
drugs, noting that inspection conducted by TFDA
on October 23, 2012 confirmed that there was
no production of the drugs.
Investigations on the fake drugs by security
organs is in progress, he said, and added that
they would continue to keep a close eye on
drugs quality and safety to protect people's
health. "We want to assure that the ARVs which
are in the market are safe and the public should
keep on consuming them," he said.
The fake drugs saga took a new twist after the
owners of the Arusha based TPI distanced the
company from manufacturing and selling of the
same. "We would like to categorically distance
ourselves from the allegations. The said drugs did
not emanate from TPI and are made using
technology which we do not have in our factory,"
said TPI Executive Director, Mrs Zarina Madabida.
Mrs Madabida told a press conference recently
that TPI produces TT-VIR 30 with oval shaped
tablets whereas the fake drugs are round shaped
TT-VR 30. She said that while the TT-VIR 30
tablets they produce are white in colour and
marked TPI on one side and T 30 on the other
side, the fake TT-VR 30 are white on one side and
yellow on the other.
"We do not have the technology that can
produce tablets in a round shape and in two
colours, the product is simply not ours," she said.
When asked over the package, Mrs Madabida
said that TPI does not manufacture packages,
but orders the same from Nairobi, Kenya.
"Our bottles are special with slender and longer
neck but bottles that contained the fake drugs
have a different shape altogether. Those bottles
are not ours," she said. The reaction came a day
after the Minister for Health and Social Welfare,
Dr Hussein Mwinyi, suspended three top officials
at the Medical Stores Department (MSD) and
halted production at the TPI factory over
allegations of producing and distributing fake
Dr Mwinyi said that the government has also
stopped distribution of all drugs manufactured
by TPI, including those stored by pharmacists
and other outlets. Those suspended pending
investigations at the MSD are the Director
General, Mr Joseph Mgaya, the Quality Assurance
Manager, Mr Sadick Materu and the Quality
Assurance Officer, Mr David Masero.
Dr Mwinyi said investigations conducted in
August by his ministry through the Tanzania
Food and Drug Authority (TFDA), established the
presence of fake ARV drug type TT-VIR 30; batch
no OC.01.85 at Tarime District Hospital.
After laboratory tests were conducted, Dr
Hussein noted, the ARV drugs, manufactured in
March, 2011 with an expiry date of February
2013, were counterfeit with documentations
showing that TPI had sold them to MSD.
However, Ms Madabida denounced the
allegations, saying:
"We had our products submitted to MSD and all
quality assurance tests were done and it is about
15 months now since we distributed the drugs
and in between, two inspections have been
conducted and no fake drugs were found." Ms
Madabida also denied having received any formal
communication from the ministry informing her
of suspension of their company's production of
the said drugs.

12,472 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Kenya: New Health Scheme
Targets Nine Million

24 October 2012 , By Wambui Ndonga, Source:
Capital FM
(Photo: Lauren Everitt/AllAfrica) Nairobi
The government is planning to launch a new
health scheme dubbed the Indigent Fund that
will target nine million Kenyans who live below
the poverty line.
National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) Strategy
and Planning Manager Chacha Marwa told
journalists in Nairobi on Tuesday that the
government had already rolled out the pilot
phase randomly and would slowly expand it to
the national level beginning next year.
Chacha said the entire scheme would cost Sh23
billion to be funded by monies drawn from the
Exchequer. He however admitted that it was still
too early to determine how exactly the
government would raise the money.
"There are very many modalities and proposals
that have been put on the table on how we are
going to raise these funds. One of them is
targeting a portion of the Value Added Tax like it
happens in Ghana and the Philippines but we are
still in the infancy stage," he explained.
Chacha further argued that the poor needed an
exclusive scheme because they had been
historically delineated from the main healthcare
"The health conditions of poor people in this
country are worse than they are for everybody
else; there is that demand for them to get better
healthcare," he said. "So we need to start
gradually from something like five percent
coverage before eventually covering the entire
country by the end of the fifth or sixth year," he
Chacha explained that the National Social
Protection Framework identified criteria that
would be used for establishing who fell under this
"This framework has clearly identified the
targeting mechanisms and that means that we
are able to determine who the poor people are.
Databases are going to be developed together
with effective monitoring systems so that we
know who these people are," he explained.
The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) has
however cast doubt on the government's ability
to fund the plan saying it has been unable to
make significant contributions to the NHIF.
Head, Research and Policy Advocacy Lineth
Oyugi said the government should go back to
the drawing board.
"Those people who are poor cannot contribute to
this fund so who is going to fund it if the
government cannot put in money? The NHIF as it
is does not receive money from the government
so this scheme is neither here nor there," she
The federation also implored the government to
revise the new NHIF rates with Oyugi saying that
they were not fair.
She noted that Kenyans on the lower end were
contributing a higher proportion of their income
at about five percent while those on the opposite
end were contributing one percent of their
"These rates are punitive for the poor Kenyans so
the NHIF has to revise them again and revoke
the ones that were gazetted," she urged.
NHIF Chief Executive Officer Simeon ole Kirgotty
however dismissed the call saying there was
need to implement the new rates before any
revisions can be made.
Union of Kenya Civil Servants Secretary General
Tom Odege also challenged the government to
upgrade the services offered in public hospitals.
He further accused the government of being
high handed saying it should allow Kenyan
workers to manage the scheme.
"Public hospitals must be up to task because the
services we get are not commensurate to the
money pumped in," he pointed out.

12,472 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
East African Health Care news is covered. North Africans, South Africans( not only SA but everybody else on the southern part of the continent) West Africans, and Central Africans and HOA states let's hear developments in your Heathcare fields

1,793 Posts
'Traditional Medicine Has
Place in Health'

4 November 2012 , By Masembe Tambwe,
Source: Daily News

Major achievements of the Institute

� The Institute has been able to do ethnobotanical studies in 16 out of 20 regions of Tanzania mainland.

� The Institute has a collection of over 2500 medicinal plant species collected from the different regions of Tanzania.

� Research on one plant, Phyllanthus amarus has been able to advance to stage 1 clinical trial. Further clinical work on the plant is being planned.

� Recipes for epilepsy and psychosis are currently undergoing Stage 1 clinical evaluation. Placebo controlled trials are expected to be done in the near future.

� The Institute has been able to organize and assist healers to set up a traditional medicine clinic in Mwanga, Kilimanjaro, which is run by the healers themselves. This clinic collaborates with modern health facilities in the area.

� The Institute has started to produce herbal medicines. Currently the Institute is producing preparations for the treatment of benign prostatic hypetrophy, liver cirrhosis, asthma, peptic ulcers and a cough mixture. Once standardized it is hoped to make these preparations widely available to the public.

Public Service Potential and Consultancy

The Institute can provide professional technical advice on:
� Traditional Medicine and cultural practices
� Use of plants for health and food
� Poisonous plants and toxic plant compounds
� Qualitative analysis of medicinal plants
� Pharmacological and toxicological screening of medicinal plants and traditional medicines
� Taxonomic work

Public Service Potential and Consultancy

The Institute can provide professional technical advice on:
� Traditional Medicine and cultural practices
� Use of plants for health and food
� Poisonous plants and toxic plant compounds
� Qualitative analysis of medicinal plants
� Pharmacological and toxicological screening of medicinal plants and traditional medicines
� Taxonomic work

Potential areas for joint venture and Investment

The Institute is interested in joint ventures with investors in the following areas: -

� Production and promotion of herbal or plant based medicinal products.

� Formulation of whole or partially separated extracts of known medicinal plants like Prunus africana, Centella asiatica, Artemisia annua, Zingiber officinalis (ginger), garlic, Senna and many others.

� Research for treatment of any general human ailments including diseases like Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, Cancer, Hypertension, Asthma, Epilepsy, Psychosis and other conditions

� Promotion of community based cultivation of medicinal plants

Existing partnerships with private entrepreneurs

The Institute recently signed a memorandum of understanding with seven traditional healers under the HIV/AIDS project for the development of their herbal medicines. The Institute is also seeking partnerships with local communities in the promotion of cultivation of medicinal plants.

Intellectual Property Rights

The Institute being a Research and Development Institution with the privilege and mandate to access knowledge from traditional healers is committed and duty bound to protect the knowledge they obtain from traditional healers and ensure that the healers and their communities become part and parcel of proceeds from discoveries resulting from their disclosures. We hope and expect that all our partners and collaborators shall uphold and share with us this commitment.

1,793 Posts
Posted by CHRISANTHI on 25/11/2011

A dynamic duo. Landmine detecting rat Salima and her trainer Abu Chongole
Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania: I’m sitting on a windowsill. It’s a nice windowsill and I like it here.

The terracotta red buildings with their timber-framed screen doors, the pink flowers, the palm trees, my big cousins, which my human friends call cows, are coming along the path, and to my left, in the distance, I can’t see them, because my eyesight is not great, but I can smell, my cousins the camel.

I’m glad we young rats get this time that the Apopo bosses call ‘socialisation’, before we begin our training and then our work.

I’m glad too that my friend Hannah is here and she is letting me lick her hand; this morning she was eating bananas.

I’ve learned so many things already in my life. I was born under the ground in a comfortable dirt place which one day was dug up and then we were introduced to the light.

My siblings and I were then given our names. I am Aaron, and at four weeks we were moved from our mother, we were put in a new cage with a brown clay pot to sleep in, wood to play on and we began to be properly introduced to the world of humans.

This is a place of important learning but it took me a long time to learn its name was Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) because everyone calls it ‘Soowa’. I have smelled the fresh cut grass on what is called a football field, the grass cut by young men with machetes, I have seen the different types of vehicles that the students move about in, the tired, beaten looking ones called taxis and the small bright coloured ones which have no windows and doors called tuk-tuks – my favourite being a red one with words in thick pretty writing that said ‘campus shuttle’.

I am an African giant pouched rat, when I start work I will become a Hero Rat. I wonder what role will be chosen for me.

Inside, this building some of my older brothers and sisters are already working. There is a long glass box with many different holes. One by one the holes are opened, inside each hole is a small tub of a clear substance which sick humans cough up when they are in a place I have never seen called a hospital.

At one time some of these little tubs of sputum would have been harmful, bearing the contagious disease with the tongue-tying name tuberculosis (TB), which I’ve heard kills many human beings in this world, especially when they are poor.

The sputum has been processed to make safe to handle but the strong smell of TB – which we with our long noses smell though our human friends cannot – remains.

As a Hero Rat my job could be to smell each hole and tell the humans, through scratching, when I sense the deadly disease. I know that each one of these pots has been checked by human heroes called lab technicians with a strange silver thing called a microscope – but they do not have our noses and sometimes they miss things.

Of course we are sometimes wrong too – that’s why two of us Hero Rats must identify the same sample which the humans have missed before it will be taken next door to the dark, cool, room where one of the two nice men in the white coats will look through the microscope to see the disease that we smelled.

The banana-eating Hannah Ford, whose job is to tell the world about us Hero Rats, is talking to a type of human called a journalist and I hear her say with pride, which I feel too: “A lab technician can view 20 to 30 samples a day with microscope, The World Health Organisation says that 40 is the maximum they can look at in day, our rats easily do that in under seven minutes – they’re just so much faster.

“In an average week our rats will check 600 to 700 samples and find 5 to 10 cases of tuberculosis which the hospitals missed. Before we started collecting these samples there was never any second-line screening done, the samples were simply thrown away.”

We walk inside, my long whiskers twitching excitedly at the change in atmosphere from the heat and packed dirt outside to the cool cleanness inside.

The journalists are shown how one day I may be trained, first with a smaller box with only three holes in it, and how when we correctly sniff out the tuberculosis we are rewarded with food. The training takes about six months but is slightly different for each of us.

Peter Luanda, who is 40 in human years, and one of the trainers for the 33 heroes who work in the TB lab, is holding Melitta – she is running around on his shoulders and Peter says she is “showing off for visitors” – I think Peter is right.

He describes how some of us rats will pass our test to become TB detectors more quickly than others. He also says: “Sometimes, just like you get a human that doesn’t like to work, so you can get a rat that doesn’t want to work, just lies down and starts sleeping. But most of the time they are passing their exams and that makes us happy.”

I am determined if I am chosen for TB work I will not be lazy, I will make Peter proud.

But, perhaps I will not be working in this lab; perhaps I will be working far away in a place called Mozambique where a new TB lab is to be built in the city of Maputo so that we can help Mozambicans as well as Tanzanians.

Or perhaps I will be in Mozambique sniffing the ground in fields and open countryside to find these things which humans put in the ground to kill other humans, even long after their quarrel has ended.

It is this work with landmines for which we Hero Rats are most famous. We rats are relatively newcomers and I hear that there are many humans who do this work, sometimes when there is a thing in the ground around these mines called oil, which must be very important indeed, big machines will be brought to the place by white humans who come from faraway places.

Then the mines will be exploded by the machines and the land quickly made safe. But when there is no oil there is no one to pay for these machines and the people must go on dying while farming for long years.

We Hero Rats aim to be most useful to those who are poorest and we are improving all the time. Recently we have doubled our speed.

We are trained here at SUA for nine months with mines that can no longer injure people but which still smell of their deadly substance. Our trainers use a string to help us walk in straight lines carefully sniffing the ground. When we find a mine we are rewarded with food.

Once when I visited the field here I heard a man speaking. His name is John Mosha and in human years he is 37.

He was telling some visitors of his favourite Hero Rat named Glory. Like all the SUA trainers here in Tanzania John had the chance once to go to Mozambique and see us in action with our new Mozambican handlers. Glory had graduated and started her work sometime earlier but John said he recognised her at once “because of her size and body morphology”.

“Most of my friends find my job funny and says it needs a lot of imagination,” said John.

“Locals in Mozambique also found it very funny. When they saw them performing this most of them were surprised but when they saw them bringing in land mines they were happy because they were releasing tension from their community.

“After removing mines the land can be used for agriculture, grazing, a lot of economic activities.”

John said he has been working at Apopo since the very early days, since 2002, when there were only 90 of us heroes as opposed to the 300 we have in our family now.

We work only early in the morning as it is too hot for us rats to work later in the day and John has now completed his part-time studies in business administration at SUA and will be looking for a new job, although I know from the tone in his voice he will miss us.

I remember him also saying to the visitors: “I think the SUA community should learn from Apopo. By that I mean they should do research that has a positive impact on communities working here. Apopo gives a good salary.

“They should be not just academic but there should be more practical research like this that has an impact on the community.”

Glory is probably dead now, not from a landmine – we are too light to set them off – simply from old age as we African giant pouched rats live only 6-8 human years; they were both in Mozambique in 2003, but John still remembers her.

But perhaps I will not be in either of these roles. Sometimes when I am put on top of the radio in the office, but the radio is not too loud, I hear about new jobs being devised for us Hero Rats.

Perhaps I may be a land mine detector in Thailand or Angola. Or perhaps I may be a pioneer rat in the illegal tobacco trade or in detecting salmonella which is the cause of a lot of thoroughbred horse deaths in a faraway place called the US.

Recently there was a Tsunami. I can’t imagine what this thing could be but I know from the way my human friends talk about it that it was horrible. Research has begun to find out whether we Hero Rats could be used to help in searching for and rescuing humans who have been caught in these horrible disasters.

All these jobs may one day be mine – but for now my job is to sniff, scratch and whiskery feel everything around me here at Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania.

Please forgive a journalist her whimsy in channeling her inner rat (perhaps precipitated by the fact my school nickname for a time was ‘mouse’). All the speech in quotes and the facts and figures are reportage.
Apopo, founded in 2000, is a Belgian NGO headquartered in Tanzania which works on projects in Tanzania, Mozambique and Thailand. It has a policy of training and employing local people with 190 of its 200 staff coming from these developing countries.

1.7million people die from TB each year.
1 person left untreated is likely to spread the disease to 10 to 15 others.
Apopo works with 10 hospitals in Tanzania and, on average, has increased the detection rate by more than 40 percent.
In 2010, 26,665 sputum samples were examined by rats and 716 TB positive patients were detected only through Apopo.
Apopo will be replicating its ‘second-line’ screening lab in Maputo, Mozambique.
It is investigating using rats in the first instance instead of as second-line screening.

The UN estimates landmines kill up to 20,000 people per year and make agriculture a deadly pursuit for millions more.
2.1 million sq metres of land was cleared in Mozambique by the end of 2010, with 796,168 sq metres in 2010 alone.
New techniques developed in 2010 meant that Apopo was able to double its speed. As a result it aims to have cleared another 1.5-2 million sq metres of land by the end of 2011.
In 2010 36 Hero Rats, working with 14 locally trained handlers, found 861 landmines; 373 items of unexploded ordnance; 1 cluster bomb and 6,216 small arms and ammunitions.
The cost per square metre of clearing landmines can vary greatly per place and per organisation with reported costs ranging from 50 US cents to $5 (US). In Bosnia and Hertzegovna, in 2003, Landmine Monitor says the average for Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) was $2 (US). Apopo reports a cost of $1.50 (US) per square metre.–-never-fear-rats-are-here

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(Can somebody make this a Stickey thread)

Made this thread for people to post news in their countries make great leaps in Health care for the masses, disease curing etc...
Big hope for malaria vaccine in new study Send to a friend
Saturday, 10 November 2012 09:07

“An effective vaccine for use alongside other measures such as bed nets and anti-malarial medicines would represent a decisive advance in malaria control” New England Journal of Medicine

By Lucas Liganga
The Citizen Chief Reporter
Bagamoyo. Results from clinical malaria vaccine trials announced yesterday show that the vaccine RTS,S can protect African infants against the deadly disease.The results from trials categorised as Phase III, which were first released in Cape Town, South Africa, gives fresh hope in the fight against the scourge that kills about one million people yearly, mostly pregnant women and children under five years of age.

The results, published online yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that infants aged 6 to 12 weeks (at first vaccination) against clinical and severe malaria was successful between 31 and 37 per cent over 12 months of follow-up after the third vaccine dose.

Eleven research centres in seven African countries are conducting the trials, together with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), with grant funding courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The vaccine is being developed in partnership by GSK and MVI, together with prominent African research centres, including Tanzania’s Ifakara Health Institute and the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR).

Other African research centres are in Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique.
Dr Ali Mtoro and Dr Saumu Ahmed of the Bagamoyo branch of the Ifakara Health Institute said 1,700 children participated in the trial.

The Bagamoyo District Commissioner, Mr Ahmed Kipozi, thanked scientists who are involved in the malaria vaccine trials, saying the project would save many lives of Tanzanian children who are exposed to the killer disease.
Dr Mtoro, a specialist paeditrician, said the efficacy observed with RTS,S last year in children aged 5-17 months of age against clinical and severe malaria was 56 per cent.

He said insecticide-treated bed nets were used by 86 per cent of the trial participants, which demonstrated that RTS,S provided protection beyond other existing malaria control interventions.
Dr Mtoro said follow-up in Phase III trials would continue and is expected to provide more data for analyses to better understand the different findings between the age categories.
Announcing the results in Cape Town, Dr Salim Abdulla, a principal investigator for the trials at the Ifakara Health Institute in Bagamoyo, said:

“We’ve made significant progress in recent years in our battle against malaria, but the disease still kills 655,000 people a year—mainly children under five in sub-Saharan Africa.”
He added: “The efficacy is lower than what we saw last year with the older 5-17 month age category, which surprised some of us scientists at the African trial sites.”

Dr Abdulla, who is also the chief executive director for the Ifakara Health Institute, said the latest results made scientists more eager to gather and analyse more data from the trials to determine what factors might influence efficacy against malaria and to better understand the potential of RTS,S in the battle against this devastating disease.

“We were also glad to see that the study indicated that RTS,S could be administered to young infants along with standard childhood vaccines and that side effects were similar to what we would see with those vaccines,” he said.
More data on the longer-term efficacy of the vaccine during 30 months of follow-up after the third dose, and the impact of a booster dose are expected to be publicly available at the end of 2014.

The ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ says the data and analyses would inform the regulatory submission strategy and, if the required regulatory approvals are obtained and public health information, including safety and efficacy data from the Phase III programme, is deemed satisfactory, the WHO has indicated that a policy recommendation for the RTS,S malaria vaccine candidate would be possible as early as 2015.

The journal says this will pave the way for decisions by African nations regarding large-scale implementation of the vaccine through their national immunisation programmes.

“An effective vaccine for use alongside other measures such as bed nets and anti-malarial medicines would represent a decisive advance in malaria control,” said the journal.

With more than $200 million in grant money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, MVI contributes financial, scientific, managerial, and field expertise to the development of RTS,S.

GSK takes the lead in the overall development of RTS,S and has invested more than $300 million to date and expects to invest more than $200million before the completion of the project.

see the difference btn those two reports :lol:

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Malaria vaccine trial results: NIMR says more data needed to explain differences in old and new findings
posted 12 Nov 2012 04:54 by IHI Webmaster [ updated 12 Nov 2012 04:59 ]
The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) has said the recently announced results of the RTS,S malaria candidate vaccine call for more data collection and analyses to better understand the different findings between the age categories. Dr. Samuel Gesase of NIMR Korogwe told stakeholders at the national dissemination workshop held in Dar es Salaam on Monday November 12, 2012 that the efficacy observed with RTS,S last year in children aged 5-17 months of age against clinical and severe malaria was 56% and 47%, respectively. "When administered along with standard childhood vaccines, the efficacy of RTS,S in infants aged 6 to 12 weeks (at first vaccination) against clinical and severe malaria was 31% and 37%, respectively, over 12 months of follow-up after the third vaccine dose," he said. The dissemination meeting was organized by NIMR in collaboration with Ifakara Health Institute. For more information, read the press releases in English and Swahili version.

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Published on ANH Campaign (
Home > News > Traditional medicine offers a “revolution” in Tanzanian healthcare > Content
Traditional medicine offers a “revolution” in Tanzanian healthcare

By Sophie
Created 22/12/2011 - 11:49

Updated on:
22 Dec 2011
Published on::
22 Dec 2011
While other semi-industrialised countries, like India [1] or Brazil [2], are pinning considerable hope for their economic futures on their booming generic (unbranded) pharmaceutical industries, a different option is about to be explored in one part of Africa. Tanzania’s National Institute for Medical Research [3] (NIMR) recently announced that several unique remedies based on traditional herbal medicines are about to enter [4] the approvals system – and could be in mass production within 6 months.

Harnessing ancient knowledge to fight modern diseases

The Tanzanian programme superficially appears most similar to the ‘phytopharmaceutical’ method of herbal medicine production, which emerged from Germany 50 or more years ago. At this stage, we do not know whether the new Tanzanian herbal remedies are based on purified extracts of herbs, as is the case with phytopharmaceuticals, or on whole-herb material. What we do know is that 11 years of research by NIMR, beginning in 2000, has resulted in a range of ‘modernised’ traditional medicines, all based on indigenous Tanzanian herbs and available in various formulations: from Persican for control of diabetes and cholesterol, to Warburgistat for opportunistic infections in HIV/AIDS patients and TMS 2001 for malaria and fever. (Note that these trade names may change before the products come to market.)

Dr Julius Massanga, NIMR’s director for research co-ordination and promotion, is hopeful that the new range will begin mass production soon. “After registration by the TFDA [Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority], which I hope will happen soon, the next step will be to invite prospective investors followed by construction of a factory.”

A medical model for the masses

Dr Massanga passionately believes that ordinary Tanzanians should have the opportunity to choose between Western, orthodox allopathic medicine and forms of traditional healing. In a situation that rings bells for many of us, traditional medicine has been portrayed as outdated and ineffective in Tanzania since its independence, when Western medicine came to the forefront. Yet more evidence that the anti-natural healthcare crusade [5] has tentacles everywhere [6]!

One of the most important aspects of the new treatments will be their relatively low cost compared with orthodox medicines, Dr Massaga told ANH-Intl. A process of collaboration and research, led by the NIMR, has resulted in medicines that combine herbs used by traditional healers for centuries with other medicinally useful plants identified by the research programme. Indigenous herbs mean minimal production costs, which will be passed on to patients. For Dr Massaga, the new treatments maintain herbal medicine as the medicine of the people, while updating it for the 21st century.

The spectre of sustainability

According to Dr Massaga, all the herbs used in the new products will be collected from the wild. Such ‘wildcrafting’ ensures that the herbs are growing in their natural habitat, and can ensure optimum product quality if done correctly – but it also brings its own set of problems [7]. Perhaps most pressingly, it’s very easy to over-harvest a habitat unless great care is taken, raising significant questions around long-term sustainability. It is, therefore, vital for sustainability issues to remain firmly on the agenda and to be central for any prospective investors. In the past, when other African countries tried to strike out on their own traditional medicinal road, Big Pharma eventually got in on the act: either because it saw a potential market disappearing, or worse still, identified the potential for a major ‘natural health’ success story. For the sake of Tanzania’s delicate ecosystem and its cultural heritage, we hope that new investment partners see the opportunity to do something different and positive for the country’s healthcare, and support the programme without imposing any tainted agenda of their own.

Tanzania shows another way forward

It’s early stages, but it seems to us that Tanzania’s commitment to try something a little different from the norm is to be applauded and supported. We can only hope that the new medicines are successful in giving the Tanzanian people a cheaper, effective alternative to the medical orthodoxy and its pathological desire for a worldwide monopoly on healthcare.

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Discussion Starter #13
Kenya is among the six African countries that
have recorded a sharp drop in new HIV infections
among children, a global report released ahead of
the World Aids Day shows.
The number of children newly infected with HIV
has decreased by 40 per cent in the last two
years between 2009 and 2011.
The report by the Joint United Nations
Programme on HIV/Aids (Unaids) hails Burundi,
Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Togo and Zambia
as countries where most progress has been made
in reducing new HIV infections in children.
While releasing the report on Thursday, Unaids
executive director Michel Sidibe said half of the
global reductions in new HIV infections in the last
two years have been among newborn children.
“It is becoming evident that achieving zero new
HIV infections in children is possible, I am excited
that far fewer babies are being born with HIV. We
are moving from despair to hope,” he said.
The report indicates that antiretroviral therapy is
a powerful force for saving lives. In the last 24
months the number of people accessing
treatment has increased by 63 percent globally.
In sub-Saharan Africa, a record 2.3 million people
had access to ARVs; they were more than half a
million fewer deaths in 2011 than in 2005.
The largest drop in AIDS-related deaths is being
seen in countries where HIV prevalence is
relatively high. Kenya had 71,000 fewer deaths,
South Africa 100,000, Zimbabwe nearly 90,000,
and Ethiopia 48,000.

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Ifakara health institute impresses Equatorial Guinea
By In2EastAfrica Reporter

Equatorial Guinea has commended the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) for transforming itself from a field laboratory into one of the world’s leading research centres on malaria and other diseases.

The compliment was given by the country’s Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Mr Tomas Mecheba Galilea, during a visit to the IHI facilities in Bagamoyo earlier this week. The minister, who led a twelve-man delegation from Equatorial Guinea, said it was impressive to see how IHI was helping policy makers to make evidence-based decisions and expressed his country’s interest to work with the Institute in a number of areas.

Equatorial Guinea is located in west central Africa. The country consists of a mainland territory, R’o Muni, which is bordered by Cameroon to the north and Gabon to the east and south, and five small islands, Bioko, Corisco, Annobón, Small Elobey, and Great Elobey.

The petrol-rich country is one of the smallest countries in continental Africa but has one of the highest per capita incomes. One of the areas which interested the minister was findings shared by IHI in a presentation that the behaviour of malaria transmitting mosquitoes was changing.

The mosquitoes are increasingly biting humans outdoors instead of indoors. The minister urged IHI to share that kind of knowledge and experience saying malaria was a global problem. In response, IHI Chief Executive Director, Dr Salim Abdulla, said the institution’s scientists have published their works widely in international journals and most of its information was available. He advised Equatorial Guinea to build capacity to have people who can translate the scientific knowledge to have local relevance.

On malaria vaccine development in which IHI is one of the key players, the minister was concerned on how Africa could benefit in terms of patent when the vaccine becomes commercially available. Dr Salim said the priority was in transforming knowledge kept in the shelves to something useful for the people, adding there were many products which have been developed in the world but were not relevant to African needs.

The IHI chief said the focus should be more on developing strategic partnerships. “We may not own the patent at the end of the day, but people can get products at affordable prices.” Results from malaria vaccine trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine recently revealed that infants aged 6 to 12 weeks (at first vaccination) against clinical and severe malaria was successful between 31 and 37 per cent over 12 months of follow-up after the third vaccine dose.

The vaccine is being developed in partnership by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and MVI, together with prominent African research centres, including the IHI and the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR). Dr Salim Abdulla is a principal investigator for the trials.

On how African countries benefit from taking part in the vaccine research, of which the delegates wanted to know, Dr Abdulla said participation helps to ensure that the vaccine is tailored to the needs of “our people.” On the envisaged collaboration between Equatorial Guinea and IHI, one of the delegates said it would be one of the classic examples of South-South cooperation.

The Equatorial Guinea delegation included Secretary General of Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Victor Sima; Director of the National Malaria Control Programme, Gloria Nseng; Director of Laboratory Services, Máximo Miko Ondo Obono; Director General of Public Health, Jose Raso Bijeri and Angela Katherine Seone, the WHO Representative in Equatorial Guinea.

Source Tanzania Daily News

Do you have a story or an article to publish? Please email us to [email protected].

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KCMC clinical research unit grows steadly

RESEARCHERS at work at the biotechnology laboratory, KCMC.
ESTABLISHED in 2006, Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (KCRI), which is one of the three pillars that constitute the mission statement of the Good Samaritan Foundation (GSF) of providing health services, delivers training and conducting research.
Health services have been provided since the inauguration of the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) in 1971. The centre serves as the tertiary health care facility for the northern zone of Tanzania, providing health services for approximately 38 per cent of the population of Tanzania as well as patients from neighbouring countries.
According to GSF and KCMC Executive Director, Dr Moshi Ntabaye, since 1971 health services provided by KCMC have grown significantly along with a reputation for excellence and over the years, the centre, which is a referral hospital, has become one of the most reputable consultant hospitals in the region.
“As part of the development and expansion of services, several units, sub-specialties and departments have been established to improve health services provisions,” he said.
He mentioned the units, sub-specialties and departments as clinics for infectious diseases; child-centred family care; occupational therapy; paediatric neurology and orthopaedic care; laparoscopic surgery and endoscopic services have been developed as well as the Regional Dermatology Training Centre (RDTC) and community-based eye care.
Dr Ntabaye revealed that a few years after the official opening of KCMC, training started under the umbrella of the Allied Health Schools, offering certificates, diploma and advanced diploma courses. He added that the programmes were run jointly by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and KCMC with some programmes awarding academic qualifications offered by the University of Dar es Salaam.
“There are now over 14 Allied Health Schools at KCMC which offer academic qualifications at different levels, namely School of Dermatology, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Physiotherapy, Orthpaedic Technology, Nursing, Medical Records and Assistant Medical Officer,” the GSF Executive Secretary further revealed.
In 1997, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College (KCMCollege) was established by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania (ELCT) as a constituent college of the ELCT-owned Tumaini University. KCM-College is under its current Provost, Prof Engebert Kessi.
Tumaini University awards under-graduate and post-graduate degrees, including Doctor of Medicine, Master of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy. Research is the third pillar of the mission statement of the GSF and in this pillar significant development has been attained over the years as the KCRI is well positioned research facility whose main building hosts the clinical trial unit with facilities to allow continuous monitoring of participants.
According to KCRI Director, Prof Dr Gibson Kibiti, KCRI biotechnology and research laboratories contain high-tech equipment and the research field sites, which are along tarmac roads covering a stretch of land from the Indian Ocean to the one of the World’s Heritage Sites at Ngorongoro Crater, all of which are in strategic locations.
He said past research and the current portfolio of research activities at KCRI have provided evidence-based research findings which have contributed to the body of knowledge on public health issues and health policy.
“Over the years, research activity at KCMC has produced competent research professionals able to lead on the development, planning and implementation of important clinical trials,” Dr Ntabaye further revealed, saying research achievement at KCMC have been significant but in order to achieve the greatest impact, there was a need to establish KCRI to coordinate research activities.
He said in the context of an increasing burden of diseases, establishing a research institute would support the effective and efficient allocation of resources, create a critical mass of competent researchers and ensure the ethical implementation of research activity.
“In addition, coordinated research activities contribute to the two other pillars of the GSF mission statement, that is patient care at the hospital will improve further as patients benefit directly from research findings and training programmes will be enriched as researchers pass on their direct experience from gathering data in the field and analysing findings,” Dr Ntabaye pointed out.
He noted that KCRI was set up by GSF to oversee research activities at KCMC where health services, training and research are interlinked and members of the staff contribute to the general success of the centre, adding that expertise and resources are shared while a complementary relationship exists between each component enhancing and contributing to the success of each activity separately as well as contributing to the overall vision of GSF.
KCRI came into being through generous support from the Dutch government through the Netherlands-African Partnership for Capacity Development and Clinical Interventions against Poverty-Related Diseases (NCCAP) and later from European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) through VITA Study and East African Consortium for Clinical Research (EACCR), all of which provided resources that were used for physical infrastructure and capacity development for the members of the staff and in March, 2009, KCRI was operational.
Prof Dr Kibiki said the vision of KCRI by creation of a critical mass of researchers embedded in an academic setting that is rooted in a region with specific health problems, is a powerful tool to develop evidence for medical interventions and health policies. It is a pre-requisite for developing a research agenda which is suitable for the recipient population in an endeavor of improving its health status.
The mission of KCRI, he said, was to be an internationally recognized centre of excellence in health research which is integrated in the medical academic setting of KCMC, the Tanzania health care system and international research networks.
According to Prof Dr Kibiki, that implies that the current practice of medicine could be greatly improved in the Northern Eastern region of Tanzania and KCMC as an university medical centre in which care, education and research are embedded, can play an important role in the development and implementation of medical interventions, adding...
“The health situation in the Northern Eastern region in Tanzania is dynamic and new medical interventions and health policies need to be designed and implemented constantly and research at KCMC is the tool to provide evidence for this,” said Prof Dr Kibiki.
He explained that there was a general knowledge on health systems and pathogenesis of diseases but through research activities that insight will not only further progress but can be translated to Tanzanian condition as well. Research will thereby offer locally adapted tools for improvement.
He said a critical mass of Tanzanian researchers with different expertise, embedded in an academic environment and with good communication with local stakeholders is needed so that Tanzania can define its own research agenda and function as a full professional partner in international networks.
Prof Kibiki mentioned on-going clinical research activities at KCRI as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, pathogenesis of diarrhea, etiology of febrile, HPV prevalence and cancer of the cervix.

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The first agreement took the form of an affiliation agreement formalizing the relationship between Weill Cornell, BUCHS, New York Presbyterian Hospital and BMC. The affiliation was described in a recent Weill Cornell commencement address by Hunter R. Rawlings III, President Emeritus of Cornell University, as ‘… an unprecedented cooperative effort to improve health care in one of the most under-served nations in the world’.

Exchanges between the four institutions have already begun. Dr. Warren Johnson, chief of infectious diseases in the Department of Medicine, and Dr. Jeff Perlman, chief of pediatric neonatology, both visited Bugando within the last three months to assess needs and provide the dean of Weill Cornell, Tony Gotto, with recommendations on how Weill Cornell can be most helpful. Upcoming visits are scheduled for this fall, with a view to developing a plan for a permanent exchange program.

In the second agreement, the leadership of BMC and BUCHS embraced an official partnership that will be critical to the success of both institutions. The two institutions share a common chairman, Bishop Balina of Shinyanga, and have always worked together since the founding of the school in 2003. As the school grew, a formal agreement became necessary to create a structure that reflected the spirit of cooperation between the two institutions. Under the new agreement, all staff, equipment, facilities, and other resources will be shared without charge by both institutions – a marked difference from other institutions, where in one case students and staff must pass through security to move between the hospital and the medical school.

Each document was read out to the audience, translated to Kiswahili in the process, by Dr. Majinge and Professor Shija. Bugando chairman Bishop Balina said, in a heartfelt speech, that these agreements represented a reward for patience and a great step forward. ‘If you are patient, great things can happen,’ he said. Touch COO Angus O’Shea said that Touch is ‘...fortunate to work with such talented and motivated people at both BUCHS and BMC. We are pleased to see your two institutions supporting each other and growing together as evidenced by today’s ceremony’.

Both agreements were signed by Chairman Bishop Balina, Dr. Charles Majinge, Director of BMC and Professor Joseph Shija, Principal of BUCHS.

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NIMR underscores quality research
By In2EastAfrica Reporter

The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) has underscored the need to harmonize research and policy making, to ensure the country reaps maximum benefits from various scientific studies.

NIMR Director General Dr. Mwele Malecela

NIMR Director General Dr Mwele Malecela, noted in Dar es Salaam that getting research to influence policy making was among the challenges the research institute was working hard to address.

Dr Malecela noted this in her presentation showcasing the Tanzanian experience to representatives from West and Southern Africa countries, the NEPAD Agency and West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) who are on a study visit under the Council on Health Research and Development (COHRED).

The countries include Botswana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Zambia. Dr Malecela noted that translating research into policy is one area they are grappling with, noting that NIMR continues using bulletins, media and lobbying.

“Getting the stakeholders involved to the end of the research is a big challenge we’re facing despite political will and governments commitment on research. It improves the situation a little but it is not enough,” she explained. She added that there is a need to develop a clear mechanism that can help push to have research influence policy making.

“This is a challenge not only for Tanzania alone, but we can all work together to address,” she explained noting that the key is to engage policy makers from the onset of the research to the end. Dr Malecela explained over the years NIMR has evolved in such that priority areas for research are set through engaging different stakeholders including communities and vulnerable groups to get information before setting the priorities.

“The idea is to ensure that the priority areas for research address the needs of the public,” she explained. NIMR is also gearing up for mass production of its newly developed natural/herbal based medicine, with the launch of a factory later in this year. Dr Malecela noted that once the factory is in operation, the amount of money from selling the natural products can help keep run the operation and research activities of the Institute.

“It is important for the government to look at these institutions as income generating as well as providing services. Once in operation, the government subside will decrease because the idea in the long run is to decrease dependence on government,” she explained.

Some of the herbal medicine includes Hepacure for treatment of herbal disorders, Persivin for treatment of prostate hypertrophy in men, Persican for treatment of diabetes, Mundex for treatment of erectile dysfunction in men and Nimrex for treatment of chests, cold and cough.

She explained that NIMR being a public institution, they are considering starting a foundation that will be focused on selling products innovated by the institution. This she explained will protect the credibility of the research institute. COHRED Programme Manager Dr Katy Douglas is working with Tanzania, Senegal and Mozambique focusing on various aspects of strengthening the governance of research for health, in areas such as priority settings and establishing a web based management systems where policy makers can easily get access.

Dr Douglas said Tanzania is advanced and has something that very few countries have, which is president commitment in research and working well with other sectors. “This is one of few countries with president’s support for research and many countries would want to learn from the Tanzania experience. Research and Innovation is the key driver to development anywhere in the world,” she explained.

By ROSE ATHUMANI, Tanzania Daily News

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Dr Julie Makani wins the 2011 Royal Society Pfizer Award for Sickle Cell Disease research
27 October 2011 - 9:54am

Tanzanian research scientist, Dr Julie Makani, has been awarded the 2011 Royal Society Pfizer Award. Dr Makani, was awarded for her outstanding research into using Anaemia in Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) as a model for translating genetic research into health benefits.

The Royal Society Pfizer Award is an annual award designed to recognize research scientists based in Africa who are at an early stage of their research careers and who are making an innovative contribution to the biological sciences, including basic medical science, which contributes significantly to capacity building in Africa.

The Award consists of a grant of £60,000 to carry out a research project that is linked to an African centre of scientific excellence, which would normally be a University, or equivalent research centre. The grant is intended to cover the costs of the research project except from the awardees own salary. A further £5,000 is given as a prize to the recipient.

Dr Makani, who is based in the Haematology Department at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, has provided evidence that anaemia is a common cause of Morbidity and mortality in SCD in Tanzania. She has also developed a framework to conduct a clinical trial of Hydroxyurea - a chemotherapy agent with potent effects on the bone marrow – in the treatment of anaemia in SCD.

Hydroxyurea increases foetal haemoglobin (HbF) levels but it has a direct effect on haematopoiesis - blood cell formation - through poorly understood mechanisms. The award money, provided through a grant from Pfizer Inc., will allow Makani to extend the clinical trial to include a description of the haematopoietic response to Hydroxyurea. It will also allow her to explore genetic and environmental factors (socioeconomic status, education and access to health care) associated with the haematopoietic response to hydroxyurea. Dr Makani hopes that the research will lead to improved diagnosis and treatment thereby reducing the burden of anaemia to individuals, the health system and local community. See Short Film on Dr Makani's award here

On receiving the news of the award, Dr Makani said “It is an honour for our work to receive this recognition. I hope that this award will help change the perception about science and technology in Africa, as it provides validation that it is possible to conduct Genomic research in Africa.”

Dr Makani further added that “The recognition of our work by the Royal Society and Pfizer will serve to show that is possible to develop excellence in science, while integrating this into improving healthcare and building expertise in sickle cell anaemia.”

In 2001, Dr Makani started collaborating with the KEMRI-Wellcome programme when conducting clinical studies on adult malaria in Dar-es-Salaam. Following this study, she identified haematology as an interesting clinical area and sickle cell disease (SCD) as a major but neglected problem. Due to its molecular basis, SCD presents great opportunities for integrating clinical, epidemiological, patho-physiological and genetic research. She further received a Training fellowship from the Wellcome Trust to establish a systematic framework for comprehensive research and care, with one of the largest single-centre cohorts of SCD patients in the world. SCD presents great opportunities for integrating clinical, epidemiological, patho-physiological and genetic research and to test the paradigm of translation of research in genomic medicine into improvement in health.

Commending Dr Makani for her award and her work, the Scientific Director at the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Prof Kevin Marsh, said “I am delighted, this is a very prestigious award and the programme is very proud of its association with Julie and her work”

Senior Scientist at the Programme, Dr Tom Williams, who has worked with Julie on several projects, added "I am absolutely delighted to hear that the Royal Society / Pfizer have chosen Julie for this year’s award. This is not only fantastic news for Julie but for the Programme as a whole.” "This is a hugely prestigious award and sends a strong signal that the Royal Society not only recognizes the importance of Julie's work but also the importance of sickle cell disease as a serious health problem in desperate need of further research." He said.

Julie Makani is the second research scientist associated with the programme to receive this prestigious Award. Dr Alex Nzila was the first recipient of the Royal Society Pfizer Award in 2006 for his work on the mechanisms of anti-malaria drug action. See short film on Dr Nzila, s award in 2006 here.

News type: News event
Status: Archive

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Tanzania: Traditional Medicine Needs New Marketing Strategy

Mwanza — EXPERTS think that one of the challenges facing traditional healers is a lack of public awareness on the significance and merits of such medicines.

The opinion was raised by several participants during the just ended East African Community exhibitions that took place in Mwanza city. Ugandan National Union of Natural Products Development head of Technical, Mr Wamfuko Henry told the 'Daily News on Saturday' that more research and support is needed to support traditional medicines as, "The support should be in terms of packaging, labelling, filtering and ingredient where labelling should be on the bottles permitting customers to know the product's expiry date," Mr Henry said.

Expert says labelling, packaging, key ingredient and a batch number are very important for a manufacturer to promote their products in the market in order to maintain products existence in the market competition. Sometimes the potential buyers are discouraged by poor packaging methods used by the locals, says Mr Henry. Experts say in Tanzania over 70 per cent of the rural population heavily relies on traditional medicines for treating various diseases.

"We have so many tree plants in our local areas in the region, but the communities around EAC lack information on the usage of the trees, owing to lack of knowledge; otherwise they would have planted enough trees to produce herbal medicine for future export," he said. Mr Henry pointed out that lack of useful and relevant information on usage of traditional medicines is also a stumbling block towards promoting traditional healing in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

Mr Henry cited an example as saying China, France and India use herbal medicine in treating its people rather than chemical medicine, alleged to have more poison and not purely remedial, but often do fail to heal. The existence of herbal medicine helps to treat diseases. It is, however, proper to avoid fanaticism that one kind of a herbal medicine cures 30 diseases.

The issue here is to teach people about nutritional supplement because food is supplement. The education is about disseminating herbal medicine knowledge of how to use natural medicine. The expert established that Uganda has achieved use of herbal Medicine because of its importance. Their herbal medicines are well packaged in addition to helping its people to travel abroad for more information on the herbs.

Mr Henry confirmed that, saying he has been to Germany and France to share information about herbal medicine and others associated to this kind of stuff. The challenge was the same to the government, which ought to support herbal medicine manufacturers in the areas of research and manufacturers of herbal medicine.

He called on the EAC governments to come and support local herbal medicine manufacturers and take immediate action to stop importing chemical medicine and promote the small scale and medium manufacturers to alleviate poverty. Mrs Lucia Christopher, a herbalist in Mwanza city is of the opinion that there is a need to intensify public awareness because: "We are seeing a slight increase in public awareness, but I think more needs to be done to promote our medicines."

According to her, a vast population has already started to distinguish between various types of herbs. Some people still hate traditional medicines as they associate them with superstitions and witchcrafts, she claimed. It is important for people to understand that there is a huge difference between witchcrafts and traditional medicines.

Mrs Lucia insisted that a herbal medicine cures provided the user believes the medicine will cure them. She said that it is true that herbal medicine eliminates poison from the body and cures different diseases because those, who have tried a herbal medicine thank God because a chemical medicine had failed to heal them.

Mrs Lucia advised the community and Mwanza 7th East Africa Trade fair to continue with herbal medicine, calling it a healing redemption. She said that the government recognizes herbal medicines, conducts awareness programmes on the importance of herbal medicines. Manufacturing herbal medicine would add value for the EAC member states in terms of export and earn revenues for that would help people in the region to be also healthier after the use of herbal medicine because it would benefit EAC countries both in health and economy.

She said that this will reduce medicine expenses by exporting more medicines than importing. African Power herbalist Co. Ltd's Director, Dr Ibrahim Kisule, an exhibitor from Dar es Salaam, said that the main problem concerning herbal medicine is that many people did not believe in them. Such false concept stunted the growth of herbal medicine. "Our old men lived longer due to the use of herbal medicine.

That is why many people today resort to the use of herbal medicines. The Chinese and Indians have for centuries used herbal medicines and achieved much through the medicines employment. The Mwanza 7th East African Trade fair will end on Sunday this week. Many exhibitors and visitors have bought and sold products skills and education about the products available in the region.

1,793 Posts
The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)
Tanzania: More Research On Arvs Could Change Babies' Lives
Syriacus Buguzi
10 December 2011

Dar es Salaam — About a century ago, American President Abraham Lincoln made an inspiring statement whose meaning is still relevant today, especially to people living with HIV across the world.

"In the end, it's not the number of years in your life that count. It's the quality of life in your years", remarked the 16th US president, who is known by, among other things, ending slavery, and successfully leading his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis - the American Civil War.

In Tanzania today, those words of wisdom have meant a lot to 16-year-old Ramadhan Ally, an orphan who hasn't lost his ambition of making it to university, although he was born with HIV, the virus that causes Aids.

Ally admits that without life-saving medications, ARVs, and living a positive life, he wouldn't have made it to the sagacious-experienced-mature person he is now - a personality he has acquired through learning how to cope with the disease.

"I had lost hope in my studies but through the wonders of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and financial support from my aunt, I see myself becoming an economist in the future," noted Ally, a resident of Dar es Salaam's Gongo la Mboto suburb, and a Form Two student at Majoe Secondary School in the city.

In a move to boost the quality of life of teenagers like Ally and children, coupled with the growing momentum to reduce new HIV infections to zero, scientists are capitalizing on the potency of ARVs as a treatment for Aids and a preventive intervention.

A good testimony of the curiosity and effort to exploit the potentials of ARVs is the recent publication of findings of the HPTN (HIV Prevention Trials Network) 046 study, which was conducted in Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. This has revealed yet another life-changing potential of Nevirapine, one of the ARVs.

After many years of clinical trials at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (Muhas), researchers have established yet another potential of the drug. According to them, giving an infant a daily dose of Nevirapine (ARV) for six months, instead of the usual daily dose of six weeks, halves the risk of HIV transmission from HIV-positive breast-feeding mothers to their infants.

"The longer Nevirapine regimen achieved a 75 per cent reduction in HIV transmission risk through breast milk," the study, whose undertaking began in February 2007 and was concluded this year, reads in part.The new findings constitute a blessing to mothers and infants in developing nations, where infectious diseases such as gastroenteritis and pneumonia often pose a life-threatening risk to very young children.

Commenting on the development, the principal investigator in the clinical trials, Prof Karim Manji from Muhas, said a milestone in dealing with the pandemic has been attained."These are scientific, evidence-based findings which show a relatively simple intervention in saving lives and empowering women," he told Insight.

During the study, more than 1,500 'mother-infant pairs' from the four African countries enrolled for the clinical trials co-funded by agencies under the National Institute of Health (NIH) - a US- based research institution.

Before this study was undertaken, the benefits of extending infant Nevirapine doze from six weeks had not been directly evaluated.

With the latest breakthrough in hand, Prof Karim is hopeful that the new findings on extended duration of Nevirapine doze will be incorporated in the coming Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission(PMTCT) guidelines. "In the existing 2006 guidelines, only the maternal Highly Active ARVs and single dose is mentioned. Extended Nevirapine is not mentioned. In the ongoing revision, they shall incorporate this, since it reinforces the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines," Prof Karim emphasised.

Last year, the United Nation's Anti-Aids Agency (Unaids) estimated that 200,000 under-15 children are living with HIV in Tanzania, and that 90 per cent may have acquired the infection through their mothers. The infants get infected while still in the womb, during delivery and during breast-feeding.

That reality makes the issue of addressing the HIV/Aids scourge in the context of women empowerment and PMTCT an important health and medical aspect.

As men continue to choose young partners and vice-versa, the infection rate will keep on going up, so that, as each new generation reaches reproductive age, another wave of HIV infections looms large.

The legal secretary at Tanzania Commission for Aids (Tacaids), Mr Sam Komba, argues that gender responsiveness is needed in addressing the understanding that women are relatively more at risk of contracting HIV. He further notes that laws, by-laws and policies, should address the concerns of women and men simultaneously.

"The legal aspect of HIV/Aids prevention needs to take root among the public and the law enforcers. The question of gender also needs to be addressed seriously by the law," he told Insight last week shortly after presenting a paper on 'HIV/Aids and The Law' at a World Aids Day conference in Dar es Salaam.

Speaking at the same gathering that was organized by Youths' United Nations Association (Yuna), the Director of Unaids in Tanzania, Dr Luc Constantine Barriere, urged the authorities to take necessary steps to ensure access to medication for people living with HIV/Aids. "Strong political will is needed to demand and offer medical services to those who need them," said Dr Barriere in a speech at the conference whose theme was 'Zero New Infections, Zero Aids Deaths and Zero Discrimination'.

However, public health pundits argue that as HIV-infected people live longer and require more costly treatments, the cost of treatment will continue to skyrocket.

In a new report, the Centre for Global Development (CGD) points out that in today's austere economic times, donor commitments to provide Aids treatment to all those in need are increasingly becoming unrealistic.To counter that challenge, the report suggests that health policymakers and practitioners need to re-organise their efforts around a single goal of fighting new infections.

That, as the report further reveals, would change assistance policy and practice at every level from donor agencies to recipient governments and health practitioners.

The author is a medical student at Muhimbili University of Health Sciences (Muhas) and a freelance journalist
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