Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Bureau of Statistics Touts Use of Available Data

CITATION of the available statistical data can not only help sharpen skills and knowledge among decision makers but also help them draw timely and accurate conclusions, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has observed.

Addressing editors on the need for effective use of information from the Tanzania Socio-Economic Data Base (TSED) in Dar es Salaam recently, NBS Marketing and Communication Technology Manager, Ms Mwanaidi Maiza highlighted on the importance of data application as well as effective consultation with data experts among policy makers.

"A good number of statisticians have been trained and a majority of them are already deployed in different offices. Despite the effective coordination, it appears that experts are not effectively consulted before decisions are taken.

The role of statisticians cannot be overstated. "All are welcome to visit the website, www.nbs.go.tz which will lead to 'an ocean' of statistical data on different sectors like education, health, water, infrastructure, agriculture among others," Ms Maiza explained For example, efforts in the fight against malaria can easily be accessed from the web.

The information includes the 2011-12 Tanzania HIV/AIDS and Malaria Indicator Survey (THMIS) which was implemented by NBS in collaboration with the Office of the Chief Government Statistician (OCGS - Zanzibar) from December 16, 2011 to May 24, 2012. The Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and the Zanzibar AIDS Commission (ZAC) authorized the survey. As for children and pregnant mothers, the available data show that they are the most vulnerable to malaria.

In 2011- 12, at least 72 per cent of children under five and 75 per cent of expecting mothers slept under treated mosquito nets the night before the survey. Based on the given data, correct decisions can be made to fight malaria more efficiently.

Ms Edith Mbatia, a Specialist in Statistics Monitoring from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) challenged decision makers and other academicians to develop interest in data reference.

She said complicated functions of a newly acquired mobile phone handset for example, can easily be acquainted with but surprisingly no serious initiative shown by decision makers to access information from the data base www. devinfo.org/tanzania/libraries/aspx/ Home.aspx.

Asked whether NBS has any influence on the compulsory use of researched data by public offices, Ms Maiza said so far there is no legislation that pushes for data consultation by decision makers. "Once the Statistics Act of 2000 is amended as scheduled during the August Parliamentary session, NBS will have the authoritative voice to different institutions to inquire about the obligatory application of the necessary data for clear-cut decisions," she said.

The NBS office has finalized research preparations for data which will show the number of able-bodied persons for 2014. The research work which will last for one year officially started on February 17, 2014. Different households in all regions in Tanzania will be visited in the process of data collection.

The research aims at preparing indicators for the labour market, the seriousness of unemployment challenge, the labour force potential, the problem of child labour and time spent on economic activities among others. The results will pave way in policy formulation and preparations of various development programmes.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is the National Statistical Office of Tanzania, which as a government agency, was established from the former Central Bureau of Statistics to provide efficient services, giving increased value for money for the benefit of the government and the public in general.

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