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Advancing Health Research, Enhancing Life

Institutional Mandates

The National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) is the largest public health research institution in Tanzania. It was established by the Parliamentary Act No. 23 of 1979 as a parastatal organization under the Ministry of Health. The establishment of NIMR was in recognition by the government of the need to generate scientific information required in the development of better methods and techniques of enhancing disease management, prevention and control in the country.

The National Institute for Medical Research was established with the following functions:

i) To carry out and promote the carrying out of medical research designed to alleviate disease among the people of Tanzania;

ii) To carry out and promote the carrying out of research into various aspects of local traditional medical practices for the purpose of facilitating the development and application of herbal medicine;

iii) To cooperate with the government or any person, or body of persons, in promoting or providing facilities for, the training of local personnel for carrying out scientific research into medical problems;

iv) To monitor, control and coordinate medical research carried out within Tanzania, or elsewhere on behalf of or for the benefit of the government of Tanzania, and to evaluate the findings of that research;

v) To establish a system of the registration of, and to register the findings of medical research carried out within Tanzania, and promote the practical application of those findings for the purpose of improving or advancing the health and general welfare of the people of Tanzania;

vi) To establish and operate systems of documentation and dissemination of information on any aspect of the medical research carried out by or on behalf of the institute


To be an institution of excellence for advancement of health research and development in Tanzania and beyond


To conduct, coordinate, regulate and promote scientifically and ethically sound, high quality health research and deliver evidence-based information that is responsive to the needs of human wellbeing

Organization Structure

The legislation establishing NIMR has vested its governance oversight in the Institute’s Council, which operates through four committees. The committees include the Appointments and Disciplinary Committee; the Planning and Finance Committee; the Audit Committee, and the Medical Research Coordination Committee (MRCC). The Council is made up of a Chairman and twelve members. The President of the United Republic of Tanzania appoints the Council Chairman, whereas the Minister for Health appoints other Council members.

The MRCC has a sub-committee known as the National Health Research Ethics Review Committee that oversees ethical issues on submitted health research proposals. The Director General (DG) is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and leads the management team composed of Coordinating Directors at the headquarters and Centre Directors. The Coordinating Directorate are Finance, Human Resources and Planning, Research Coordination and Promotion and Information Technology and Communication. Read more

Directorate of Research Coordination and Promotion

The directorate provides technical advice on matters related to research development and promotion. It is responsible for developing/up-dating and implementing strategies for research within the institute. The directorate registers, control, supports and promotes the development and conduct of health research for the entire country. It also facilitates collaboration and networking between researchers and their institutions within and outside the country. Read more

Directorate of Information Technology and Communication

The Directorate of Information Technologies and Communication is responsible for day to day coordination and management of the Institutional Library Services, Medical Museum, Publications, Health statistics and Informatics and Information Communication Technology. In addition, the Directorate coordinate activities related to Disease Surveillance and Geomatics as well as Policy Analysis and Advocacy. The Directorate is responsible for research knowledge translation including coordination of the Annual Joint Scientific Conferences and production of Tanzania Journal of Health Research and Annual Report. Read More

Directorate of Finance, Human Resources and Planning

The Directorate plans, directs and controls the financial accounting operations of the Institute; prepares and submit to the Director General reports on the working and audited accounts of the Institute. It is responsible for coordinating the preparation of budgets and assessment of the financial situation of the Institute; advise the Director General on all matters pertaining to finance accounting, administration, personnel and supplies services and staff development. It is the responsibility of the directorate to evaluate the current progress of the Institute so as to provide fundamental feedback for the preparation of future programmes and budget. Read more

Research Centres and Stations

The headquarters of the NIMR are in Dar es Salaam. The institute has established 14 centres and stations in seven regions of Tanzania. There are 8 Research Centres, namely:

1) Muhimbili Research Centre (Dar es Salaam)

2) Amani Research Centre (Tanga)

3) Tanga Research Centre (Tanga)

4) Tabora Research Centre (Tabora)

5) Mwanza Research Centre (Mwanza)

6) Tukuyu Research Centre (Mbeya)

7) Mbeya Research Centre (Mbeya)

8) Ngongongare Research Centre (Arusha)

There are 6 Research Stations

1) Amani Hill Research Station (Tanga)

2) Haydom Research Station (Manyara)

3) Gonja Research Station (Kilimanjaro)

4) Kilosa Research Station (Morogoro)

5) Handeni Field Station (Tanga)

6) Korogwe Research Station (Tanga)



Human resource: By January 2015, the National Institute for Medical Research had a total of 813 staff, of which 550 are on permanent terms of employment and 263 are on contractual terms. The institute has 142 research scientists. Of these, 41 (28.9%) are PhD, 78 (54.9%) Master and 23 (16.2%) Bachelor degree holders. In addition, there are 60 laboratory technologists and 9 Systems Analysts. The male:female ratio of the research scientists stands at 2.7:1. Currently, 40 research scientists are undertaking PhD programmes.

Infrastructure: The headquarters and all Centres except Muhimbili are housed in NIMR buildings. NIMR has in place laboratories (BSL-1 to 3) for microbiology, parasitology and protozoology in Korogwe, Tanga, Mwanza, Amani, Muhimbili and Tabora. Entomology laboratory facilities are available at Amani, Mwanza and Tukuyu. It has a high-tech Research and Public Health Laboratory with capacity for virology and quality assurance in Dar es Salaam. Most of these laboratories are equiped with up-to-date facilities such as HPLC, ELISA and PCR machines, and Haematology and Clinical chemistry analysers and Flowcytometers. The Muhimbili Centre operates as the National Central Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory. Other facilities include a dispensary, health centre, experimental huts, mosquito-spheres, animal houses, insectaries, libraries and training facilities.

Financial resources: According to the balance sheet of 30th June 2014, NIMR has current assets worth over TShs. 9 billion. The institute activities are funded from two major sources: Government of the United Republic of Tanzania (mainly for personnel emolument, administrative and programme activities) and Development Partners (core research activities). In the interests of greater transparency and accountability in the handling of public funds, the legislation establishing NIMR directs that the accounts of each financial year “shall be audited by the Controller and Auditor General”. The oversight of expenditure of Institutional public funds is with the Office of the Controller and Auditor General. The management of finances of the Institute is generally good. The assessment of cash ratio of cash and cash-equivalents divided by current liabilities shows that NIMR has significant liquidity, which is one of the indicators of sound financial management. Furthermore, financial management regulations, procedures and controls are in place. An internal audit system is in place and functional. Procurement activities are guided by the Public Procurement Act.


Since its inception in 1979 NIMR has evolved from a disease specific approach research to the current wider mandate that includes all health research at the local, regional, zonal and national levels. The current major research areas fall under three major themes: Biomedical, Social determinants of Health and Health Systems researches. Researches carried by the Institute are guided by the National Health Research Priorities.

The current research programme include:

1) Basic and Biomedical research

2) Capacity Strengthening Programme

3) Clinical and epidemiology research

4) Diagnostics and Laboratory Sciences

5) Health Statistics, Genomics, Bioinformatics, Information Technology

6) Health Systems and Policy Research

7) Communicable Diseases Research and Control

8) Non-Communicable Disease Research and Control

9) Ecohealth and One Health Research

10) Product Development and Evaluation

11) Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS

12) Urbanization and Environment health

13) Neglected Tropical Diseases

Coordination and Monitoring of Research

On the part of research coordination, the Medical Research Coordinating Committee (MRCC) National Health Research Ethics Committee (NatHREC) has strengthened its functions, where reseach proposal ethical review capacity has increased in recent years. Currently, about 17 research proposals are reviewed and receive certificates monthly. Copies of certificates of cleared research proposals are sent to respective District and Regional Medical Officers where research is to be carried out. In order to improve the ethical review process, Zonal Ethics Committees have been established in Mwanza and Mbeya. Read more

Strategic plan

From its establishment, NIMR started with five-year development planning. Since 1999, three plans have been implemented. The first medium range strategic plan (1999-2002) was developed in 1999. The second strategic plan covered the period from 2003 to 2008. The third Strategic Plan covered the period of 2008-2013. The current strategic plan has been prepared to cover the period of 2014-2019. The current Strategic Plan envisages to achieve the following Strategic Objectives:

1. Governance structures and systems for effective performance of the institute are in operation

2. Resources for effective implementation of NIMR strategic plan are made available

3. Health research regulatory capacity strengthened

4. Health Research and Development Carried Out

5. Utilization of research findings promoted

6. Training programs in health and allied sciences established and executed.

Collaboration and networking

NIMR has been very successful in implementing collaborative projects involving both internal and external partners. Internal partners include the Ministries of Health and Social Welfare (Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar), World Health Organization, United Nations Development Fund, International Development Research Centre, African Medical Research Foundation, Bugando Medical Centre, Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, Kilimanjaro Clinical Trial Institute, East African Community and Ifakara Health Institute. External partners includes: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Makerere University, Kigali Health Institute, Uganda Virus Research Institute, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (UK), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (UK), University of Oxford (UK), Sanger Institute (UK), University of Notre Dame (USA), Duke University (USA), University of Michigan (USA), Centre for International Health (Norway), Wageningen University and Research Centre (Netherlands) and University of Copenhagen (Denmark), Natural History Museum, UK, Cornell University, USA, Cambridge University and US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Research finding dissemination and utilisation

The Institute disseminates general information on health as generated from diverse research conducted in the country through its quarterly published Tanzania Journal of Health Research. The Journal was established in 1997 and became available on-line since 2007. In addition, NIMR has been since 1982, organising annual scientific conferences, which bring together research scientists, policy makers, practitioners, development partners and media both from within and outside Tanzania. Research Summaries in both English and Kiswahili are developed and made available at http://www.nimr.or.tz/ . Over 1063 journal articles have been published since 1980.


Director General

National Institute for Medical Research

3 Barack Obama Drive, P.O. Box 9653, 11101 Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Tel: +255 (0) 22-2121400; Telefax: +255 (0) 22-2121360

Email: hq@nimr.or.tz or mmalecela@nimr.or.tz

Website: www.nimr.or.tz