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ENGAGEMENT: Ifakara’s data science team at workshops, forums in Dar

Feb. 24, 2023 From 8:00 hours EAT
ENGAGEMENT: Ifakara’s data science team at workshops, forums in Dar
A Research Scientist with the data science team Victor Mero presents at the NORHED II MATH4SDG workshop which took place on February 15 & 16, 2023 in Dar es Salaam. PHOTO | COURTESY/Victor Mero

The Data Science and Mathematical Modelling team at Ifakara Health Institute participates in a series of events including workshops and conferences in Dar es Salaam from February 13-25, 2023.

The events included the Tanzania Vector Control Activity (TVCA) Annual Vector Control Review Report workshop, Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) first STEMI conference, Tanzania Field Epidemiology training and NORHED II MATH4SDG workshop.

Vector control workshop
The team attended the Annual Vector Control Review Report workshop which was hosted by TVCA – a five-year project funded by USAID/PMI to distribute insecticide-treated mosquito nets in Tanzania and Zanzibar – from February 13 - 17.

As informed by Mr. Victor Mero, a Research Scientist with the team, members of the team attended the workshop with the aim of strengthening their commitment to combat vector-borne diseases adding that “working with other partners is crucial to achieving that.”

Mr. Mero, accompanied by his colleagues, engaged with other experts in the field and shared knowledge and insights on data analysis techniques. They were also involved in providing technical assistance during the training session.

“The workshop provided a great opportunity for our team to learn about the latest trends in vector control and disease prevention strategies,” he said about the workshop.

STEMI conference
At another event – the JKCI’s first STEMI Conference on February 17 & 18 – the Data Science and Mathematical Modelling team led by Prof. Samson Kiware, coordinated and gave a presentation on the critical role of data in cardiovascular disease. Prof. Kiware also joined the JKCI Director in a panel discussion during the event.

The team also showcased their expertise in data science and capacity building to which they were awarded a certification of appreciation for their efforts by the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr. Seif Shekalaghe.

“We look forward to continuing to collaborate with JKCI in promoting better heart health for all as our efforts to support the fight against NCDs based on various data science and modelling techniques,” the team said in a statement after getting the award.

The STEMI conference is the first to be hosted by JKCI and brought together medical staff from across the country and neighbouring regions with an aim to promote awareness and patient management. The conference was officially opened by Hon. Dr. Godwin Mollel, the Deputy Minister for Health.

Epidemiology training
For the Tanzania Field Epidemiology training (from February 13-25), the data science team represented by Mr. Mbaraka John, a Data Analyst with the team, participated in the training which aimed to equip health workers with the skills needed in surveillance, outbreak investigation, presentation, and data analysis of health-related data.

Mr. Mbaraka played a vital role as a data analysis facilitator in the Intermediate Field Epidemiology Training program, providing invaluable support in statistical analysis using different packages such as STATA, Excel, QGIS, and Epi Info.

“This program is an essential step in improving the health of communities across the region and a great opportunity for our team to support the Ministry of Health and other partners in the country.”

“Math for SDG” workshop
The team ended their week-long series of events by participating in the NORHED II MATH4SDG workshop on February 15 & 16. The workshop was themed: “Developing a critical mass of Data Scientists and Mathematical Modellers in Tanzania and Beyond.”

Mr. Victor Mero presented on behalf of the Data Science team during the workshop on the “Alignment of University Mathematics Research and Education with Industrial Needs.” The presentation was a valuable contribution to the discussion, highlighting the importance of building capacity in these areas to drive sustainable development in Tanzania and beyond.

“With a focus on bridging the gap between academia and industry, the workshop aimed to identify ways to develop the next generation of experts in data science and mathematical modelling. Our team continues to collaborate with the University of Dar es salaam - the department of mathematics in advancing data science and mathematical modelling skills in the country,” Mr. Mero said.