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Collaborative Efforts to Combat Malaria in Tanzania

March 10, 2011
A collaborative program between MHRP’s site in Tanzania and WRAIR’s malaria program is building capacity and infrastructure within Tanzania to strengthen malaria diagnostic capabilities.

Quality diagnostic capabilities are critical to malaria control efforts in Tanzania. There is an urgent need to improve diagnostic infrastructure and develop local technical capacity for malaria microscopy and rapid diagnostic tests (mRDT’s) diagnosis.

WRAIR’s HIV site in Tanzania, Walter Reed Program-Tanzania (WRP-T), is working closely with the Malaria Program at WRAIR to build much needed capacity within Tanzania to strengthen malaria diagnostic capabilities. This collaborative program leverages WRP-T’s established infrastructure, strong local relationships and experience in capacity building with WRAIR’s expertise in malaria diagnostics and quality assurance and control. This program is part of the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).

WRP-T is working with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the National Malaria Control Programme on the mainland as well as the Zanzibar Malaria Control Programme in conducting activities to improve basic infrastructure and diagnostic procedures.

Using new diagnostics strengthening and quality management protocol and assessment tools developed by Amethyst and WRAIR, WRP-T and its local counterparts are conducting site assessments and implementing improvement plans in three regions on the Tanzania mainland and at facilities on Zanzibar.

WRP-T and WRAIR are also providing technical support in developing the training capacity of the National Health Laboratory and Quality Assurance Training Centre in Dar es Salaam to help increase the number of qualified expert and clinical microscopists through out the country. Through these activities, WRAIR is building a sustainable platform by generating qualified trainers and establishing quality control standards for both microscopy and mRDT’s.

In addition to supporting the PMI initiative in Tanzania, WRAIR’s malaria and HIV programs are conducting similar site assessments and laboratory strengthening initiatives within the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF).  Scientists at WRAIR are also planning to conduct research with the TPDF and other local partners, such as the Tanzania National Institute for Medical Research, to estimate the malaria attack rate in specific communities for potential execution of malaria prophylaxis studies.

WRP-T is committed to sustained strengthening of its long-standing collaboration in HIV prevention and treatment in Tanzania, as well as supporting relevant research on malaria and other infectious disease threats.

Photo credit: COL Colin Ohrt