Tanzania: GEIS

Since 2010, HJFMRI has served as the managing partner for the US Government-funded, Overseas Support Activities for the United States (U.S.) Army Medical Research Directorate – Africa’s (USAMRD-A) Infectious Disease Surveillance Program in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In light of the challenges of conducting military-relevant medical research and surveillance in Africa, HJFMRI has assembled an excellent team of scientists, technicians, administrative, and logistical experts recruited from the host nations.

This program has implemented surveillance research and outbreak response activities in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya and across other Sub-Saharan African nations in collaboration with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Makerere University–Walter Reed Project (MUWRP), and Stichting PharmAccess International (PAI).

Surveillance is performed using an extensive multi-site surveillance network in each country with clinicians and lab technicians trained on case recruitment and proper specimen handling.

The health information provided by these programs are shared with the Ministry of Health (MoH) in each country and other in-country partners to inform medical and public health practice.

This information also informs global health and soldier health by identifying health threats which may be encountered by visitors, as well as diseases which may be transmitted and spread outside these countries.

PAI and HJF/HJFMRI have partnered on the implementation of the USAMRD-A GEIS contract in Tanzania since inception in 2009 (with funds obligated in 2010). PAI was subcontracted by HJF/HJFMRI to implement GEIS influenza surveillance activities with the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) medical services.

Three TPDF medical treatment facilities in Morogoro, Mbeya, and Zanzibar, have been designated as influenza surveillance, to complement the existing MoH surveillance network. TPDF has a total of eight geographically well- distributed military hospitals and thirty-six satellite health facilities, some of which are sentinel surveillance sites for this program.

TPDF hospital clients are 80% civilian and 20% military, representative of the general population and thus making them ideal sentinel sites for influenza surveillance. In addition to protocol development across the pillars, PAI supports collaborative research programs on EID between TPDF and the USAMRD-A contract and conduct surveillance systems strengthening (primarily focusing on TPDF assets).