Directorate of Research Information Technology and Communication

THE DIRECTORATE OF RESEARCH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATION (DITC)

STRUCTURE AND MAIN FUNCTIONS

The Directorate of Research Information Technology and Communication (DITC) was established in October 2002. The Directorate has five (5) departments which are (i) Library and Publications; (ii) Health Statistics; (iii) Health Informatics and Communication Technologies; (iv) Disease Surveillance and Geographical Information Systems; and (v) Policy Analysis and Advocacy.

 

The United Republic of Tanzania Parliamentary Act No. 23 of 1979 mandates the National Institute for Medical Research to: (i) 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; and (ii) 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. These functions are coordinated through the DITC.

 

The directorate maintains computerized database of registered researchers and health research information. It promotes and advances information technology within NIMR and maintains the NIMR website.

 

NIMR has provided GIS technological support to develop and maintain the Ministry of health master list of all health facilities in the country. This database includes information such as name of health facility, its district and ward; type of health facility (dispensary, health centre, hospital) and health facility ownership (Public, Private, Parastatal and Voluntary agency). These health facilities and their location have been geo-mapped. Mapping of the geographic locations is useful for defining true geographical catchments areas as well as modelling the percentage of the population served with a specific health service.

 

The Directorate publishes the Tanzania Journal of Health Research which has been in circulation since 1997 and coordinates the NIMR Annual Joint Scientific Conference established in 1983. The Directorate promotes and advocates for policy engagement. Various trainings have been carried out over the years to journalists as a measure to improve coverage and quality of health research reporting. Trainings have also been carried out to scientists and health personnel on how to write policy briefs.

 

The Directorate coordinated the East African Integrated Disease Surveillance Network (EAIDSNet) covering Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania from 2002- 2004.  DITC has coordinated the institute’s support in responding to various disease outbreaks to include Rift Valley Fever (2007), Dengue (2014, 2015) and Cholera (2016).

DEPARTMENTS

1.Library and Publications

The roles and responsibilities of the Department are to:

  • Coordinate and supervise Institutional library activities.
  • Compile and publish Institutional Annual Report.
  • Collect and establish an effective management, preservation and accessioning of records of health research in Tanzania.
  • Publish and distribute to targeted users Tanzania Journal of Health Research.
  • Coordinates and facilitates permissions to publish health research findings.

2.Department of Health Statistics

The roles and responsibilities of the Department are to:

  • Design and develop research data collection tools.
  • Creation, updating, maintenance and validation of research databases and provision of computerized reports of these data.
  • Coordinate and support research and administrative programmes on data management.
  • Coordinate and support data mining in various research programmes.
  • Strengthen capacity of researchers on data management.
  • Carry out Statistics Monitoring and Evaluation.
  • Develop, establish and maintain national health research data repository.
  • Establish and up-date Institutional data management costs.

3.Department of Health Informatics and Communication Technologies

The roles and responsibilities of the Department are to:

  • Promote and advance Information and Communication Technology in health research and care.
  • Establish and maintain computer networks.
  • Coordinate and conduct health informatics research.
  • Design and implement of Health Information Systems.
  • Strengthen capacity of NIMR Staff on computer trainings and information management.
  • Maintenance of NIMR website.
  • Develop databases and software tools for health research.
  • Effective provisioning, installation/configuration, operation, and maintenance of systems hardware and software and related infrastructure.
  • Ensures that system hardware, operating systems, software systems, and related procedures adhere to Institutional values.

4.Department of Health Disease Surveillance and Geographical Information Systems

The roles and responsibilities of the Department are to:

  • Liaise with National, Regional and Global Infectious Disease Surveillance Networks.
  • Coordinate and carry out research on disease surveillance and early warning systems.
  • Development of Web GIS technology for health data for different health problems.
  • Establishment and maintenance of a geo-database of national health facilities.
  • Development and maintenance of Geo-database of priority diseases.
  • Conducting training on GIS, remote sensing and GIS database.
  • Processing, analysing, and sharing of spatial and temporal health data from different programs/projects.
  • Hosting central GIS Web portals for information discovery and use.

5.Department of Policy and Analysis Advocacy

The roles and responsibilities of the Department are to:

  • Strengthen capacities of researchers in policy analysis.
  • Facilitate dialogues between researchers, decision and policy makers.
  • Promote NIMR image both nationally and internationally.
  • Coordinate the organisation of NIMR Annual Joint Scientific Conference and other national and international scientific conferences and exhibitions.
  • Liaise with national, regional and global initiatives in Science to Policy networks.
  • Coordinate and carry out policy analysis.
  • Develop facts sheets on research findings for decision makers and public consumption