Results from this study highlight the importance of maintaining and increasing vaccine coverage to sustain gains made in reducing deaths related to infectious diseases in low-and middle-income countries.
In recent years, handwashing with soap has been gaining recognition as an important practice for maintaining good health. Many international organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), have taken part in promoting regular handwashing with soap. This is mainly because current scientific evidence shows that handwashing with soap reduces transmission of infectious agents and is an effective means to prevent infections.
Since the effectiveness of handwashing is well-established, the scientists at the Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU) are working to include this practice as part of a package of public interventions aiming to combat worm infections among primary school children in Kagera region, northwestern Tanzania. Recently, Dr. Kenneth Makata and his colleagues published an article in PlosOne that describes their work, which uses handwashing with soap as a tool to reduce the burden of common worm infections (namely Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura) in the study population. This article presents results of a survey which was conducted before the implementation of a large study aiming to assess the effectiveness of a range of measures, including handwashing with soap, in reducing the chance of getting new worm infections following mass treatment of school children.
It is interesting to note the innovation that goes into the design of this research project. Dr. Makata and his colleagues installed handwashing facilities close to the latrine building in 8 primary schools taking part in this study in 3 districts of Kagera region.
Each facility had replenishable pieces of soap to be used. The team also painted the pathways linking latrines and handwashing facilities to make them look friendly and to sub-consciously motivate the school children to use the facilities to wash hands. Teacher-led classroom teaching and sessions to involve parents were also provided as part of the package.
“We were very pleased to see school children highly motivated to use the facilities after their installations,” said Dr. Makata who coordinated all activities related to this study in Kagera. “Our study confirms that worm infections among school children are a major health problem in Kagera region”. Results of the main study have been submitted for publication.
Should lower income countries use higher blood pressure treatment targets?
Godfrey A Kisigo,Robert N Peck
The Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU) based at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) campus in Mwanza, Tanzania is a collaborative research unit of NIMR and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The mission of MITU is to contribute to improving health through the development and evaluation of interventions against infections and other health problems by conducting research, including clinical trials, to the highest international standards. MITU also aims to enhance the capacity to carry out such research in Tanzania and to contribute to the translation of research findings into health policy. The Unit is now inviting applications from motivated and suitably qualified candidates to fill the following position that will be based at NIMR campus, Mwanza.
Position: Senior Finance Officer
Ref. Number: MITU/FIN/01/21
We are seeking to appoint an ambitious and highly motivated senior finance officer with proven technical experience in accounting and financial management, who is capable of working under the supervision of the Associate Director of Finance and Administration as part of the finance team of MITU.
- Be responsible for managing all finance aspects of various projects, including preparing quarterly management accounts and providing day-to-day advice, guidance and support to MITU’s Principal Investigators (PI’s) and Project Co-ordinators (PC’s).
- Maintain and update MITU’s financial systems and controls, verifying and checking the financial records, reports, ledgers and statements.
- To support with the preparation of audit files during audits, liaise with staff and auditors during the process and help prepare supporting documentations and the production of audited annual accounts.
- To be responsible for the processing of sales invoices for grants and other income sources, thereby ensuring that all monies are received and banked accordingly.
- To maintain appropriate computerised and paper filing systems of financial information in accordance with MITU’s process and procedures.
- To manage the MITU fixed asset register in collaboration with the procurement team, thereby ensure that this is fully updated.
- To assist Investigators during proposal budget preparation and to also help with setting up of budgets within the MITU finance systems.
- To assist with the monthly payroll, including the reviewing of overtime claims forms and ensure that all overtime claims are accurate and in line with MITU’s processes and procedures.
- To provide financial information and advice to other MITU colleagues as and when required.
- To liaise with MITU senior staff and collaborating institutions on any administrative issues.
- Promote MITU, its core values and services, and play a positive role in the delivery of its day-to-day operations and strategic goals.
- To carry out other duties relevant to the post as and when requested.
Essential criteria for selection
- A relevant accounting qualification, degree in Accounting, Finance, Business Administration or a professional accounting qualification (CPA/ACCA or equivalent).
- A minimum of 5 years experience working within a similar organisation preparing management accounts using computerised software packages.
- Excellent financial software knowledge such as ERP Navision, SUN, QuickBooks.
- Excellent financial report-writing skills and the ability to communicate financial information easily to be understood and in a clear format.
- Proven experience of preparing and monitoring budgets and financial reports.
- Strong organisational skills with proven ability to work effectively within a team, assess priorities and manage workload with minimum supervision.
- Proven experience of good written and oral communication skills in English.
- Experience of managing restricted/unrestricted income and expenditure accounting and reporting.
- Experience of managing grants from international Donor such as DFID, ERC, MRC, USAID etc.
- Self-motivation and effective time management skills.
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Desirable criteria for selection
- Experience of working within the development sector e.g., Non-governmental Organisations (INGO’s or NGO).
- Experience of working within a Research Institution/Organisation.
MODE OF APPLICATION
E-mail applications to email@example.com with the following:
- Detailed supporting statement/letter – Whereby each section should set out how your qualifications, experience and skills meet each of the essential and desirable criteria within the person specification. Please provide one or more paragraphs addressing each criterion. The supporting statement is an essential part of the selection process and thus a failure to provide this information will mean that the application will not be considered. An answer to any of the criteria such as “Please see attached CV” will not be considered acceptable.
- Please include a daytime mobile telephone number and e-mail contact details.
- Curriculum vitae (CV) including names and addresses of two referees (one must be from your most recent employer or training institution).
CLOSING DATE FOR APPLICATION
- Applications received later than 26th February 2021 will not be considered.
- You will be informed by email if selected for interview and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
- Interviews will be held in the following weeks at the NIMR Mwanza Centre, Isamilo, Mwanza or remotely through zoom or other online platform.
Hand hygiene intervention to optimize helminth infection control: Design and baseline results of Mikono Safi-An ongoing school-based cluster-randomised controlled trial in NW Tanzania.
Makata K, Kinung’hi S, Hansen C, Ayieko P, Sichalwe S, Mcharo O, Ensink J, Dreibelbis R, Rockowitz S, Okello E, Grosskurth H, Kapiga S.
According to studies, intimate partner violence – defined as physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse – is the most common form of violence experienced by women in relationships throughout the world. It is estimated that about one in every three women worldwide will experience physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner during their lifetime.
This high rate of violence against women needs special attention, and it can’t be ignored. Luckily, Dr. Shelley Lees and her colleagues at Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU) and the London School of Hygiene over the past 10 years have been working to find a solution to this common problem among women. This involves women attending in groups ten gender training sessions which were held in a convenient location within their community. This training was aimed to help them gain skills and knowledge to challenge physical and/or sexual violence from their male partners.
Recently, Dr. Lees and colleagues published part of their continuing work in the Journal of Culture, Health & Sexuality. This report provides information which helps to understand how gender training is helping women to change their attitudes and overcome violence. The study interviewed a subset of women who participated in a large trial implemented by MITU (called the MAISHA trial) to find out if it is possible to reduce violence among women in Mwanza city, Tanzania. From women’s views, gender training, which seeks to develop political awareness and transformation, can promote change amongst participants through a collective learning process. And this change brings a sense of confidence, worth, and power among women who participated in gender training to enable them to challenge violence.
The findings from this study bring hope to the fight to end violence against women in Tanzania.
Menstruation – the monthly genital bleeding experienced by women after reaching puberty – is a big problem among school girls in many parts of the world. Girls generally feel shame when the bleeding leaks on their school uniforms, get laughed at or teased by boys, lack soap, water or private places to change, clean or dry menstrual pads, or lack ways to reduce pains while at school. These problems have been reported to limit girl‘s participation in some school activities that require to stand or walk to the front of the class to answer a question or demonstrate something. They also cause girls to leave school early, miss some classes, stay at home during the days they are bleeding or leave school for good before the end of their school years.
MITU has received funds from the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) to carry out this study that will help address the problems related to menstruation and contribute in improved reproductive health.
Dr Elialilia Okello, a senior MITU research scientist, is leading this three-year study which will take place in eight secondary schools in Mwanza and Kilimanjaro regions. MITU will be implementing this study together with Femme International, a local non-governmental organisation working in Tanzania; the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK; and local government leaders in the two regions.
The study has three main stages. The first stage is the review of a health education programme implemented by Femme International and develop a plan to bring on board boys and local government leaders in the programme. This will help the boys and the leaders to understand issues related to menstruation and offer their support to girls during that period instead of laughing or teasing them. The study will recommend ways of giving out reusable sanitary pads at school and improving school water supply, toilet and hand washing facilities to help girls have the menstrual products, safe and private places to change or clean and dry the pads. The first stage will also include looking for ways to relief girls from pain during menstruation.
The second stage will involve researchers working with local government leaders and school teachers, to look at ways of including the improved health education programme in the routine school activities. The third stage will involve the assessment of the improved health education programme to see if it can be delivered in a long-term at lower cost, and is accepted by students, teachers and local government leaders. The programme will also be evaluated to see if it helps to change what girls do during their menstruation period and how they think about it.
Although the focus of this study is on problems related to menstruation among girls, it is expected that the boys will get a chance to understand issues related to menstruation as well as benefit from improved water supply, toilet and handwashing facilities at school. Apart from boys, the results are expected to benefit teachers, school officials and the general community. The study will also contribute in improved school participation and performance among school girls.
“During menstruation, girls are usually worried about the blood leaking into clothes while in class. A girl who stains her clothes in class is laughed at. Some girls experience severe pain and may need pain killers. Due to these problems girls may not be comfortable to attend a school with poor facilities or services to support them during this period” Dr Okello says. “Many times they miss attending school for several days each month and their performance may go down“
Dr Okello feels this study came at the right time. “In July 2017 I joined MITU to work in a research that was trying to assess if washing hands with soap every time school children used the toilet will help to reduce worm infection” she says. “The project gave me a chance to work within the schools. It is during this time that I realised that we needed to do more to help adolescent girls gain knowledge, skills and basic resources to manage their menstruation”
Kapiga S, Hansen CH, Downs JA, Sichalwe S, Hashim R, Mngara J, van Dam GJ, Corstjens PLAM, Kingery JR, Peck RN, Grosskurth H.
Trop Med Int Health. 2020 Nov 7.
Mchome Z, Mshana G, Aloyce D, Peter E, Malibwa D, Dwarumpudi A, Kapiga S, Stöckl H.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Oct 29;17(21):E7937.
Abramsky T, Kapinga I, Mshana G, Lees S, Hansen CH, Hashim R, Stöckl H, Kapiga S, Harvey S.
PLoS One. 2020 Oct 2;15(10):e0240112.