Blair Research Laboratory renamed

The famous Zimbabwean Blair Research Laboratory has been renamed the National Institute of Health Research, The Zimbabwean can reveal.

The institution is named after Dr. Dyson Blair, the Secretary of Health who encouraged a young Zimbabwean-born scientist to address rural water and sanitation problems in the 1970s. This led to the development of the Blair toilet (or pit latrine) which revolutionised sanitation in many African countries.

The institution is a national centre for research, training and service in the fields of disease control, biomedicine and public health. World-trained medical practitioners have, over the years, been seconded to the institute, making it one of the most prestigious facilities in Zimbabwe.

The NIHR was established in 1939 and comprises the Health Systems Research Unit, which was established in 1981 in Harare and the De Beers Research Laboratory established in 1965 in Chiredzi. These three units form the Research Department of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare. The NIHR is an affiliate institution of the University of Zimbabwe which also runs the nation's School of Medical.

Despite the change in title, senior officials from the NIHR spoke of the embarrassment of showing visitors around the institution which still uses outdated stamps bearing the ‘Blair Research Laboratory’ title.

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