By Vibeke Quaade, Dar es Salaam
Danish Ambassador Einar Hebogård Jensen opened the meeting. In his welcoming remarks, he emphasized how important evidence based research finding are in decision-making processes for both the government, health technicians and also development partners
“Policy makers require evidence-based data that will guide them on making informed decisions including allocation of additional resources in the health sector. Health technicians need the data to address needs and make relevant plans, and development partners use the data to convince their countries on approval of financial support from their tax payers contribution”, said Ambassador Einar Hebogård Jensen.
He specifically called for evidence based data that can be used to reduce the high maternal death in Tanzania, which is increasing despite the efforts being undertaken in different interventions. He also talked about the need to explore the causes and effects of Non-Communicable diseases like cancer in Tanzania.
Among the scientists that presented their findings were Prof. Elia John Mmbaga, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Science who presented his findings on related to access to health services for key populations such as sex worker, men who have sex with men (MSM) and women injecting drugs while Dr Brenda Wilfred Kitilya talked about diabetes and complications in HIV patients.
The day concluded with a discussion on Women’s Health issues – a priority of Tanzania’s health sector and an area where the collaboration between Danish and Tanzanian researchers may be further strengthened soon.
The Government of Denmark has supported Tanzania’s health sector since 1996. The support is provided as a long-term Health Sector Programme Support. It is now in phase five and runs from 2014 to 2019 with a total budget of 550 million Danish Kroner. Other Danish support is provided to the private health institutions to recognize their role on provision of quality health services in Tanzania. In addition, Denmark supports a number of researchers through Danida Fellowship Centre and the Building Stronger University programme that include collaboration between Tanzanian and Danish universities. The thematic meeting on the health sector findings by Danida funded health researchers was coordinated by COSTECH in partnership with Danida Fellowship Centre.