Tabora Research Centre

Tabora Medical Research Centre located in Tabora in western Tanzania was established in 1922 as a Sleeping Sickness Service Unit. The Unit was responsible for surveillance and treatment of sleeping sickness (Human Africa Trypanosomiasis, HAT). In 1963 the Sleeping Sickness Unit was completely taken by the Ministry of Health Tanzania. In 1976 after decentralization the Sleeping Sickness Unit was still charged with overall coordination and consultation pertaining to all matters concerning treatment, surveillance and control of sleeping sickness in the country.

Tabora Sleeping Sickness Unit was incorporated as one the Centres of National Institute for Medical Research in 1979. The Centre was mandated to carry out, coordinate, promote, and document research and control of human trypanosomiasis in Tanzania.

Tabora Research Centre two main buildings, one compartmented into offices and laboratory which can handle all parasitological routine activities such as diagnosis for malaria, trypanosomiasis and helminthiasis. The second building is  a recently constructed laboratory which when completed will accommodate all laboratory research activities such as in vitro cell culture for drug testing and molecular characterization of parasitic diseases.

New Tabora Centre Laboratory building, 2012

Tabora Centre has 22 staff of which 8 are Research Scientists (1 PhDs, 3 PhD Candidates, 3 MSc, and 1 MSc candidate. There are 2 Laboratory Technologists, 1 Assistant Accountants, 1 Assistant Supplies, 1 Office Supervisor and 9 other supporting staff.

Research programmes include the following: (i) Human African Trypanosomiasis; (ii) Other Neglected Tropical Diseases; (iii) Health Systems Research; and (iv) Biotechnology and Non-Communicable Diseases. During the past 10 year, the Centre has carried the following research projects:

  • Study to determine the prevalence of Sleeping sickness in National Parks in Tanzania
  • Studies on improved (new) treatment protocol with available drugs (Suramin and Melarsoprol).
  • Evaluating the magnitude and reduction of morbidity and mortality of HAT in Tanzania by setting up passive –active surveillance
  • Factors influencing Individual and Community participation in the Control of Tsetse flies and HAT in Urambo district, Tabora.
  • Drug sensitivity and Characterization of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense isolates Using SRA gene  in Tanzania.
  • Mixed methodology in the rapid appraisal of the HAT burden in a rural setting
  • WHO HAT Specimen Bank:  Tanzania contributes human infective trypanosomes to HAT specimen bank
  • Detection and monitoring of insecticide resistance in malaria vectors.
  • Assessment of Sexual practices and capacity building activities for HIV prevention among women  at higher risk for HIV infection at Tabora town
  • Uptake of HIV/AIDs care and treatment services and factors affecting adherence to ART among children adolescents in Tanzania
  • Exploring the bottlenecks influencing low utilization of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services in Tanzania
  • Trends and determinants of Sexual and Reproductive Behaviour of Adolescents in Magu HDSS