THE government has challenged local researchers to put more weight on studies that will give useful findings and generate appropriate interventions to control infections caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Joyce Ndalichako, made the call yesterday at the ninth Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) Scientific Conference in Dar es Salaam, adding: “To control and manage the pandemic, and respond to future epidemics researchers should work on knowledge gaps that need to be addressed in various fields, and a wide range of researches in basic sciences, clinical sciences and public health sciences are needed to fill these gaps.”
Prof Ndalichako said conducting research during health emergencies is an ethical responsibility for researchers, institutions and countries, to work on vaccine and pharmaceutical clinical trials do social research, getting scientific data to create guidelines, clarify or find risk factors and clinical symptoms, evaluate tests and generate interventions.
Speaking on the conference, Prof Ndalichako said such events help researchers to exchange knowledge that will aid them in providing solutions, and help the government to fight infectious and non-communicable diseases and save Tanzanians, many of whom have been living with these chronic diseases.
Presenting her paper on direct and indirect effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccine, Prof Anna Mia who works with Karolinska Institute in Sweden said Africa has recorded fewer cases compared to Europe, South America and the United states due to limited testing.
She said the pandemic had affected various areas including child and maternal health, where it led to rising in stillbirth’s maternal deaths and maternal mortality has been up by one-third.
Prof Mia said 27.3 per cent of the world population has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and 13.8 per cent are vaccinated. According to her, only 1.1 per cent of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.
MUHAS Council Chairman, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, said as the world grapples with various chronic diseases the research institute has a responsibility to conduct studies that will bring solutions to communities in the world. MUHAS Vice Chancellor, Prof Andrea Pembe said the university has been organizing scientific conferences that provide avenues for disseminating research findings among different stakeholders within Tanzania and outside.
He said they carried this year forum under the theme ‘Opportunities and challenges for tracking emerging and re-emerging health challenges’ with the aim to discuss and learn the challenges that face human health and the solutions.
“This is among few international conferences in Africa to connect junior, seniors and future researchers and policymakers from around the continent to further their learning and discuss present and future challenges and opportunities in the healthcare sector,” he said