Mwanza Medical Research Centre
The Mwanza Research Centre (MRC) is located in Mwanza City on the shores of Lake Victoria. For a number of years, the Centre has been involved with research on soil transmitted helminthiasis including schistosomiasis. There is a zonal reference laboratory for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Mwanza Research Centre incorporates the Mwanza Interventions Unit (MITU). MITU was established through a partnership between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the Tanzanian National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR). Scientists from LSHTM and NIMR have worked together in Mwanza for the past 20 years on research into the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. The Mwanza Centre has developed a reputation as one of the leading worldwide centres for HIV prevention research. The new Unit aims to develop as an East African centre of excellence in research on the control of HIV and related infections, with a special focus on rigorously-conducted intervention trials.
Over the period of 30 years, Mwanza Centre has expanded its research portfolio from research on schistosomiasis and intestinal helminth infections to research on the control of HIV and other STIs, Malaria, and Tuberculosis. The current research projects are categorized into four programmes, namely (i) Sexual and Reproductive Health; (ii) Parasitic Diseases; (iii) Clinical Trials; and (iv) Health Systems and Policy. During the past three decades, the number of research staff has expanded from 2 research scientists and 1 laboratory technician to 26 scientists and 19 laboratory technicians respectively. Over the period, 18 research scientists have acquired Masters degrees and 8 have acquired PhDs in fields ranging from epidemiology, microbiology, public health, parasitology, medical demography, biostatistics, medical anthropology and sociology just to mention a few.
Research infrastructure has expanded from a few laboratories housed in the main NIMR Mwanza building in Isamilo to a purpose-built state of art laboratory with the capability to perform high tech tests such as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Gene Sequencing, and Biochemistry analysis. Within the laboratory there is a section capable of conducting tests and research on highly infectious pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Furthermore, the centre has established a state of art data management system operated through a centralized server. In 2009, the Mwanza Interventions Trial Unit (MITU) was built within NIMR Mwanza campus through funding from the UK Medical Research Council. MITU comprises of purpose-built offices and conference and training facilities. MITU will enhance NIMR Mwanza’s capability to conduct cutting edge clinical trials.
NIMR Mwanza continues to conduct pioneering research in schistosomiasis, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, and malaria of national and international significance.