UDSM-MCHAS and collaborators secure TZS 10 billion to fight neurocysticercosis

Thu, 30.Mar.2023 17.08

By Dotto Kuhenga, CMU

The Mbeya College of Health and Allied Sciences (MCHAS) of the University of Dar es Salaam in collaboration with various partners has secured a 4-year project worth 4.2 Million Euros (TZS 10.645 billion) to fight Taeniasis/Neurocysticercosis (NCC) disease in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In this project, which is funded by the European Commission (EU) and would begin on 1st April 2023, MCHAS has partnered with other four institutions namely Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro Tanzania; University of Zambia, Lusaka Zambia; R-evolution worldwide srl - Impresa Sociale, Italy; and Universiteit Ghent, Ghent Belgium. The total budget for all five institutions is 4.2 million Euros, while for UDSM-MCHAS is 1.62 million Euros (TZS 4.105 billion).

The intended expectations of the project, whose Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator are Dr Bernard J. Ngowi and Dr Mkunde S. Chachage respectively, include to improve health outcomes of NCC patients, provide a blueprint for meaningful implementation research and demonstrate to policy makers how research can strengthen healthcare systems.

“We will demonstrate and promote a methodological approach for conducting health research that leads to improved adoption into policy and clinical practice and validate the approach by investigating evaluation and implementation of an antiparasitic combination treatment and a serological test. The two health innovations that could make a major positive contribution to neurocysticercosis management”, said Dr. Ngowi.

Strengthening of clinical and research capacity

According to Dr. Ngowi, the project approaches would include strengthening of clinical and research capacity through training and mentoring of early career researchers, clinicians and frontline healthcare workers as well as upgrading infrastructure for surveillance and control; and demonstrating the improved pragmatic effectiveness of the combined treatment on quality of life.

“We will also evaluate the potential impact of serological testing on the patient outcomes and the wider health system through a simulation study and demonstrate the cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit of the proposed health technologies”, he said.

He further said that the project would develop and validate an implementation strategy that addresses identified barriers for uptake using the robust implementation frameworks and enhance research results uptake into national and international guidelines and health policy through engagement of relevant policy makers throughout the project period and beyond.

Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a fatal zoonotic disease following ingestion of eggs of the pork tapeworm, Taenia solium. The eggs develop to larval forms (cysticerci) in various tissues, including those of the central nervous system, leading to NCC, mainly characterized by epileptic seizures. Although NCC management guidelines have been published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is indicated that their uptake in national policies is very limited.