Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The Dar es Salaam team is led by Dr. Marina Njelekela of the Muhimbili University College of Health & Allied Science, and consists of researchers from the Sokoine University of Agriculture, the University of Dar es Salaam, Muhimbili National Hospital, the Ifakara Health Research
Development Center, and Mbeya Referral Hospital.


Tanzania at a Glance

Capital: Dar Es Salaam

Area: 947,300 sq km
Population: 44.9 million
Median age: 18
Urban population: 26% of total population
Life expectancy: male: 59.48 yr ; female: 62.09 yr
Per Capita GDP: $1,600

Language:   Kiswahili or Swahili (official), Kiunguja (name for Swahili in Zanzibar), English (official, primary language of commerce, administration, and higher education), Arabic (widely spoken in Zanzibar), many local languages.

Location:   Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique

Agriculture:   Coffee, sisal, tea, cotton, pyrethrum (insecticide made from chrysanthemums), cashew nuts, tobacco, cloves, corn, wheat, cassava (tapioca), bananas, fruits, vegetables; cattle, sheep, goats

Diet and culture:

The Portuguese dominated the region until the Arabs regained control in 1698.  The introduction of cassava, a root crop that has become an important staple in the Tanzanian diet, and groundnuts (peanuts) were probably their most significant contributions.
Meat is not widely consumed in comparison with other areas of the continent. Cattle are normally slaughtered only for very special occasions, such as a wedding or the birth of a baby. When meat is consumed, however, nyama choma (grilled meat) and ndayu (roasted, young goat) are most popular.

The Tanzanian diet is largely based on starches such as millet, sorghum, beans, pilaf, and cornmeal. A meal that could be considered the country’s national dish is ugali, a stiff dough made of cassava flour, cornmeal (maize), millet, or sorghum, and usually served with a sauce containing either meat, fish, beans, or cooked vegetables. It is typically eaten out of a large bowl that is shared by everyone at the table. Wali (rice) and various samaki (fish) cooked in coconut are the preferred staples for those living in coastal communities.

Chai (tea), the most widely consumed beverage, is typically consumed throughout the day, often while socializing and visiting with friends and family. Sweet fried breads called vitumbua (small rice cakes) are commonly eaten with chai in the mornings, or between meals as a snack. Chapatti (fried flat bread), also served with tea, is a popular snack among children. Street vendors commonly sell freshly ground black coffee in small porcelain cups, soft drinks, and fresh juices made of pineapple, oranges, or sugar cane. Adults enjoy a special banana beer called mbege made in the Kilimanjaro region (northeast Tanzania). Aside from the common serving of fresh fruits or pudding, desserts such as mandazi (deep-fried doughnut-like cakes) are sold by vendors.



Dr. Donna Spiegelman, Senior Biostatistician at the Harvard School of Public Health, with Dr. Marina Njelekela, Chair, Department of Physiology, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, and Dr. Dorothy Gimbi, Professor of Nutrition, meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to discuss the pilot diabetes prevention trial.

Drs. Michelle Coleman, Donna Spiegelman, and Hellen Siril