In collaboration with the Tanzania National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

Mapping of fishing communities and of health services currently available in fishing communities, situated on the shores of Lake Victoria in Tanzania

Principal investigator: Saidi Kapiga (MITU)

Project coordinator: Aika Mongi (MITU)

Funder: IAVI

Background: Recent research has shown that the prevalence of HIV infection is very high in fishing communities on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda and Tanzania, reaching 35% in some places. Various factors contribute to this situation, but health services which have poor infrastructure or are absent from some communities altogether, a youthful mobile population and a high level of risk behaviour all seem to be of particular significance.  

Lake Victoria has coast lines and islands in 3 East African countries: Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
Tanzania has the longest coast line, bordering the Lake to the West, South and East, and there are various islands, many with fishing communities. It has been estimated that more than 2 million people live in the fishing communities around Lake Victoria (without counting major towns and cities such as Entebbe, Kisumu and Mwanza), with about half of this population residing in Tanzania. Accurate data about the exact geographical location, the population size and the health services available at fishing communities have not been systematically compiled in Tanzania and from many areas are not at all available. However, such accurate data are required to facilitate research and health service planning.

 In January 2013, a consortium was formed by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), the MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS and the Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU), based at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in Mwanza, Tanzania. This collaboration aims to generate reliable planning data and to implement and evaluate effective health interventions around the Lake.

Planned activities:  The purpose of this project is to conduct a systematic mapping of fishing communities in Tanzania where available data are most incomplete and least reliable. Standardised data collection tools, consist of structured data collection tables, brief structured questionnaires and some brief open-ended questions, have been developed. Tanzania has 5 administrative regions situated along the coast of Lake Victoria, each of which is comprised of a number of districts. Some districts have a comparatively short coastline; others have a long coastline or include islands that are home to fishing communities. We have included in this study Mwanza and Kagera region.  Within each region, we have selected 3 districts with the largest number of fishing communities and in each district we are planning to collect data in two purposefully selected fishing communities.