DAR ES SALAAM: THE Swedish Embassy has launched Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS)’s biorepository and an innovation incubation hub at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH)’s Mloganzila in order to boost research activities.
The launching event, as part of activities to celebrate 60 years of impactful development cooperation between Sweden and Tanzania, was held on Monday and it involved awarding winners of the Swedish International Development Agency’s (SIDA) seed (6th cohort) grant to 20 junior faculties worth over 279m/-, cutting across various research fields.
“We (Sweden) will continue to collaborate with MUHAS, particularly in the development of the much-needed research infrastructure that will contribute to the sustainability of the investment in human resource development so far and the research outcomes,” said Sweden Ambassador to Tanzania, Charlotta Ozaki Maciass.
She said the biorepository, where the biological samples will be kept for future research in an orderly and correct way, will make MUHAS a very attractive research university for all international research.
“At the same time, Tanzania, as the owner of the material, will be independent and will be able to find solutions to a variety of diseases present and coming in Tanzania,” she explained.
“The Embassy is preparing support for the next six-year phase, and it is hoped to start in January next year pending on funds set aside by the government of Sweden,” she said.
Detailing further, she said the MUHAS programme objective for a new phase of support from Sweden in 2024–2029 is to address health challenges through contextualised innovations, research and training of a quality workforce for sustainable development.
Speaking about the support, MUHAS Acting Vice Chancellor (VC) Prof Appolinary Kamuhabwa noted that the biorepository is dedicated to supporting research work, especially at the moment where the university is attracting more clinical trials.
He added that the innovation incubation hub will create a space to develop and support innovative ideas and solutions towards attaining SDG 3, “ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages by 2030.”
Elaborating, he said the hub is going to provide a dedicated space where innovators can explore, develop and refine their innovative concepts, as well as facilitate funding applications and linkages to other partners.
“It will be an avenue where innovators will regularly meet with fellow innovators and potential funders, as well as provide mentorship support to students to move their projects into the next steps,” he said.
The VC also commended SIDA for investing heavily in improving human and research capacity because, with the support of the majority of highly trained scientists at MUHAS, they are direct beneficiaries, while the rest are either indirect beneficiaries or implementers of the MUHAS’ projects.
According to him, the Swedish- MUHAS collaboration has been a string to a steady climb to MUHAS being among the first 500 bands within the World University ranking, the 3rd position among the Sub-Saharan University ranking, the 5th in the list of African best universities and the 2nd nationally.
Thus, he said, to ensure the successful implementation of the hub, there is a need to pull together all the different stakeholders at MUHAS who are currently either coordinating or developing innovations.
The Swedish MUHAS Collaboration dates as far back as 1986, approximately a few years after the establishment of the Swedish-Tanzania collaboration.