Frequently Asked Questions

IHI is an abbreviation of the name: Ifakara Health Institute. The name is commonly shortened by some people to just ‘Ifakara’ – which is the name of a town, located in Morogoro Region, where it was born. IHI is a world-class name research organization in Africa, with a strong track record in developing, testing and validating innovations for health that save lives.

The Institute has a core strategic mandate for public health research, training and services. Historically, the origin of the name Ifakara refers to “a place you go to die”, a reflection of the historically high burden of disease in the area, before major control efforts started.

Our primary mission is developing and sustaining a district-focused health research institute capable of generating new knowledge and information for public health policy and action. Our vision is to be a center of excellence and innovation in health research and development, aiming at maximizing population health gains.

Our Core Values are: transparency, responsibility, integrity, respect, and initiative.

IHI was founded in 1956 by Swiss zoologist Dr. Rudolf Geigy. His first visit to Ifakara in 1949 marked the beginning of the over 60-year history of IHI. Geigy [1920-1995], a scientist from the Swiss Tropical Institute in Basel, sought a fieldwork location for researching on tropical diseases.

The first Tanzanian science director, Dr. Andrew Kitua, was appointed in 1993. His successors: Dr. Hassan Mshinda and later on Dr. Salim Abdulla, built strong teams that took the institute to a high level of excellence, extending operations to other regions. The sitting Chief Executive Director, Dr. Honorati Masanja, was appointed in 2016.

IHI is a trusteeship registered under the Trustees Incorporation Act Chapter 318 which was revised in 2002 and given a Certificate of Incorporation number 1487 on July 10, 2008.

IHI is governed by a Board of Governors (BOG) and Board of Trustees (BOT). Members of the two organs are drawn from the Tanzanian Commission of Science & Technology (COSTECH), Ministry of Health, National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Swiss Tropical & Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC), and Chief Executive Director of IHI, who is also the secretary of both BOT and BOG.

The BOT has two sub committees: Finance, Audit & Risk Committee (FARC), and Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). Our Management Committee consists of Chief Executive Director (Chair), Director of Science, Chief Finance & Systems Officer, and Chief Human Resource & Operations Officer.

We work across biomedical & ecological sciences, interventions & clinical trials, and health systems and policy.

IHI is best known for its work on malaria. However, we focus on all health challenges identified as important by the Tanzanian government and the people living in communities near each of IHI facilities. The institute’s scientists are working on a wide range of diseases and ensuring that research translates into tangible health outcomes.

IHI is best known for its work on malaria. However, we focus on all health challenges identified as important by the Tanzanian government and the people living in communities near each of the IHI facilities. The institute’s scientists are working on a wide range of diseases and ensuring that research translates into tangible health outcomes.

We also research on HIV, tuberculosis, and health systems.

In recent years, resurgent interests in neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) have provided the opportunity to revisit and build upon IHI’s historic engagement on schistomiasis, trypanosomiasis, onchocerciasis, filariasis, chikungunya and others.

We anticipate a growing body of work on the epidemiology of NTDs. Rapid demographic and lifestyle changes in developing countries, including Tanzania, also highlight the growing importance of understanding non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors – notably diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

We work with local and international partners in offering high-level expertise training, doctoral and post-doctoral training, short-courses, health professionals’ training, and internship programs. Our flagship high-level training, Master’s programme in Public Health Research (MScPHR), is run in partnership with the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST). This program and a range of short courses are offered at our Training Center at Kingani area in Bagamoyo District, Coast Region.

While IHI’s primary mission continues to be research, development of human capacity within and beyond the institute has always been valued and is recognized as an essential component of innovation and institutional growth.

This program is unique in the sense that the type of graduates it produces have a completely different set of skills compared to other Masters of Public Health (MPH) programs. Graduates are equipped with strong practical research skills and the ability to apply their skills at any level of the health system.

Applications for the Masters of Public Health (MPH) program are handled by the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology itself and all information about this particular program can be obtained from their website.

Applications for short course are handled directly by IHI in partnership with collaborating partners. Information about these are usually shared through the IHI website, its social media channels and the local mainstream media.

Information about training cost are found in the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology website. Please, click here [add link to the relevant page on Nelson Mandela website] for detailed information on the cost of attending our master’s program. And for short courses, the cost for attending each particular program are usually shared during calls for application.

IHI do not own hostels for students registered on its programs or those it runs in collaboration with partners. However, our Training and Capacity Building team usually advises prospective students on where they can get good and affordable accommodation in Bagamoyo for the duration of their studies. The team can be reached via this email:

No. IHI does not offer any academic certificates, diplomas or degrees. All academic certificates for its registered programs are offered with its collaborating partners who are registered by relevant authorities as certified training institutions.

Our training programs are designed to develop the next generation of innovative public health research scientists. Graduates from our programs work in the government public health systems, research institutions, and NGOs.

IHI offers a number of dedicated services to projects, staff, policy-makers and the general public. They range from archiving study data, rest houses, conference facilities, transport, and platforms that regularly share useful information that may affect the lives of the partners it works with. Learn more about a range of services that IHI offers on the IHI website here here

While our research platforms are designed to support our research work, we can also serve private firms and individuals under special arrangement. Send all private and individual inquiries here: [labs email]

No for individuals and Yes for private firms. Our fleet is primarily for supporting our research activities, however private firms can hire our vehicles for their official use if they agree to our terms and conditions.

Yes.

Yes.

Since 2000, malaria endemic countries and international partners have achieved significant gains constituting more than 50 per cent reduction in malaria prevalence and tenfold reduction in actual transmission. Improved living standards, overall reduction in childhood illnesses, urbanization, improved diagnosis, greater access to appropriate medicines, but most importantly the scaling up of effective vector control using insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS), are recognized as the major causes of this decline. IHI is proud to be part of this success and growing movements to end malaria for good. Learn more about our impact on public health locally and globally here: [add link to page on impact on public health]

Yes. IHI research work has influenced a number of policies locally. IHI took part in the bed net trials and uptake into national malaria control policy, its scientists were instrumental in the analysis of the drug-resistance patterns associated with chloroquine and then sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP), which was introduced after chloroquine resistance spread widely. Findings by IHI scientists were used to inform policy change in 2001 from cloroquine to SP and again in 2006 from SP to Artemisin Combination Therapy (ACT). Learn more on how IHI impacted on public health locally and globally here: [add link to page on impact on public health]

Yes. Until 2006, malaria control programs focused the distribution of mosquito nets by prioritizing pregnant women and children below the age of 5 years. Unfortunately, community level impacts achievable by targeting all people of all age-groups were largely ignored, and therefore it was difficult to ascertain equity.

Using demographic, epidemiologic and entomological data generated from several studies before, incorporated into mathematical models that simulate mosquito life cycle processes, IHI scientists and partners estimated coverage thresholds for entire populations at which individual protection obtained from bed nets matched community level protection, which was then considered reasonable target coverage.

The WHO considered the contribution and revised the policy of net use and began promoting wider coverage including mass distribution covering all bed spaces, while retaining a critical focus on pregnant women and children. Learn more on how IHI impacted on public health locally and globally here: [add link to page on impact on public health]