TANZANIA has beefed up its fight against malaria following launching of genomics laboratory for conducting molecular surveillance including research to monitor changes in parasites population and antimalarial drug resistance.
The new laboratory at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) is intended to support the 7th National Malaria Strategic Plan which aims to reduce malaria prevalence to less than 3.5 per cent by 2025, towards the National goal of eliminating the disease by 2030.
“The lab will not only be used for malaria but also for surveillance of other diseases,” Chief Medical officer (CMO) DrAifelloSichalwe said on Thursday during the launching event in Dar es Salaam.
He graced the launching event on behalf of Minister for Health UmmyMwalimu.
Chief Medical Officer said the Ministry has a key responsibility of ensuring good health to all Tanzanians through the provision of diagnostic, curative, preventive and rehabilitative services.
“The ministry implements its developments and monitoring of health policies as well as providing guidance and coordination to all stakeholders,” DrSichalwe said
Moreover, DrSichalweasked the Foundation to consider and support this project and the laboratory beyond the current funding which ends in October 2023.
The Chief Medical Officer further said the project will address key questions of practical relevance to the Ministry and will enable NIMR to support the National Malaria Control Programme(NMCP) by generating the data locally, analyzing, presenting, and sharing the findings for decision making.
For his part, the Acting NIMR Director General Dr Paul Kazyoba said the newly launched laboratory is in line with the NIMR strategy and vision which is to be a leading institution for the advancement of high-quality health research and innovations.
He also expressed his gratitude to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for funding the project as well as thanked the Ministry of health for the support and guidance in the execution of the vital and strategic project.
“The design of the MSMT project covers 100 health facilities in 13 regions of mainland Tanzania with different transmission intensities of malaria including Dar es Salaam, Kigoma, Ruvuma and Tanga,” Drkazyoba said
On the other hand, the programme officer, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,Dr Estee Torok mentioned the priority of the foundation like building the capacity of the Malaria Molecules surveillance and insisted that the newly NIMR laboratory is one of the flagship investments in the continent.