Global Health Issues
Dr. Terry McElwain and Allen School colleagues are working on a project funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to develop a disease surveillance system plan in Tanzania. On March 9 he sent this field report:
Dr. Ernest E. Mjinga explains the history of the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) laboratory in the Serengeti National Park to Felix Lankester and Barb Martin. Also pictured is Dr. Robert Fyumagwa, Laboratory Director.
We (myself, Felix Lankester, Barb Martin, and Tim Baszler) spent 4 weeks traveling the length and breadth of Tanzania visiting a total of 11 different animal health laboratory and epidemiology units, and two educational institutions, to gather factual data about the capability and capacity for disease surveillance. A separate team headed by colleagues from PATH (Seattle) were doing the same for the human health sector. After initial meetings at the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development with the Directorate of Veterinary Services and Tanzania Veterinary Laboratory Agency, we conducted surveys at the Central Veterinary Laboratory and Center for Infectious Diseases and Biotechnology in Dar es Salaam. The team then traveled to Iringa, Tabora, Mtwara, Mwanza, and Arusha Zonal Veterinary Centers and TVLA laboratories to administer the same surveys. We also conducted surveys at Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism laboratories at the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) headquarters laboratory in Arusha, the TAWIRI and Tanzanian National Parks Association laboratories in the Serengeti National Park, and the Ngorongoro Crater Area Authority laboratory at the Ngorongoro Crater. Meetings with the administration and faculty in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Sokoine University of Agriculture in Morogoro, and the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Arusha were held to discuss their curricula in infectious diseases and epidemiology. The dataset that was obtained will be used to fill in gaps in a baseline report that will be provided to Tanzania Ministries, and as a basis for developing a country-wide disease surveillance system plan.
The CDC and U.S. Department of Defense have this year committed a combined $40 million to the new Global Health Security Agenda for work in 10 countries, and are joined in the effort by other U.S. agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of State, USDA and USAID, as well as international partners including the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. For more information on the Global Health Security Agenda, see Global Health Security at GlobalHealth.gov.