Tanga Medical Research Centre Profile
Tanga Medical Research Centre is one of the seven centres of the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) which is strategically situated adjacent to the Tanga Regional Referral Hospital (Bombo Hospital) in Tanga City, north-eastern Tanzania. Its history dates back to the mid 1970s when a Helminthiasis Research Unit was established by the Medical Research Council of UK within the premises of Bombo Hospital. However, after the establishment of NIMR in 1980, Helminthiasis Research Unit was incorporated in the NIMR and renamed Bombo Research Station under the umbrella of Amani Research Centre located at Amani Hills, in Muheza district, Tanga. Following the expansion of its multipronged research activities that attracted different partners from Tanzania and beyond, in 2003 a state-of the art biomedical laboratory which was named Amani Biomedical Research Laboratory (AMBRELA) was constructed with support from the Gates Malaria Partnership funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2005, Bombo Research Station was upgraded to Tanga Medical Research Centre and received majority of staff from Amani Research Centre who relocated from the Amani Hills.
: The centre has two modern laboratories that are Good Clinical and Laboratory Practice (GCLP) compliant for research and training with its facilities located adjacent to Bombo hospital, the AMBRELA in Tanga and at Korogwe Town Hospital (Magunga Hospital); the Korogwe Research Laboratory in Korogwe. The NIMR Korogwe Research Laboratory (NIMR-KRL) started at Magunga Hospital in 2004 with malaria research. Between 2006 and 2008, a modern state-of-art laboratory was constructed with funds from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through PATH-Malaria Vaccine Initiative. The two laboratories (AMBRELA and NIMR-KRL) have specialized techniques and expertise available for: Malaria microscopy (with expert microscopists), quantitative real-time-PCR, conventional PCR, Oxford Nanopore (ONT) Technologies sequencing services, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), tissue and parasite culture, molecular identification of bacteria, flow cytometry, biochemistry, microbiology, haematology, CAP-CTM 9600 PCR machine for HIV Viral Load and Early Infant Diagnosis (HEID), facilities for cryopreservation of specimens ranging from – 20 to -120 ºC to mention only a few. Additionally, the centre has a well-established Data Management and Financial Management Units,
The mission of NIMR Tanga Centre is to conduct high quality health research and the vision is to be a Centre of Excellence in Clinical and Biomedical Research in Tanzania. Henceforth, the Centre contributes to its mission and vision by strengthening the capacity of the institute to conduct clinical and biomedical research by utilizing the close proximity to Bombo and Magunga hospitals.
Currently, the Centre has 74 staff of whom 48 are permanent employees while 26 are project staff. Of the 48 permanent staff, 16 are research scientists (7 PhD, 7 Masters, and 2 Bachelors). The Centre has five units and Korogwe Research Station. The units include; 1) Clinical Sciences, 2) Biomedical sciences, 3) Public health, Biostatistics and Information Technology,4) Human Resource and 5) Finance and Accounts.
Capacity in Research Activities
Tanga Centre in collaboration with research partners and other stakeholders has contributed a lot in disease surveillance, prevention and patient management through policy change. Among the activities implemented by the centre includes:
– Generation and provision of efficacy data for reviewing National Antimalarial Drug Policy in mainland Tanzania (CQ to SP and SP to ALu), also for Zanzibar (CQ to AQ/AS).
– Participated in phase 2 and 3 Malaria vaccine trial (RTS,S /AS01) and MSP3.
– Contributed in the change of policy of Injectable Artesunate for treatment of Severe malaria.
– Intermittent Malaria Preventive Treatment in school children (IPTsc). Which is at the stage of policy development and adoption by the Tanzania NMCP.
– Intermittent Preventive Treatment during Pregnancy (IPTp) with added values towards review of strategies in the control of malaria in pregnancy (MIP)
– Cross sectional malaria surveys done during long and short rain seasons with the endpoint of knowing the malaria trend over time in the selected areas of Muheza and Korogwe villages.
– Studies of Non-communicable diseases (Epilepsy) and Neglected Tropical diseases (Onchocerciasis) are going on in Mahenge district Morogoro with the aim of increasing community awareness and diseases management.
– Community involvement in early malaria diagnosis and management through capacity building of the Community Owned resource persons (CORPs).
– Demographic Surveillance System (DSS) platform for cohort and other studies.
– PCR genotyping and identifying molecular markers for ACT resistance to support antimalarial efficacy at NMCP sentinel sites
– HIV Viral Load and Early Infant Diagnosis to support NACP
– Ov16 RDTs and OV16 CDC AP ELISA to support NTDCP
– The Centre also supports undergraduate and postgraduate attachments to candidates from Tanzanian and overseas universities.