SPARCo Tanzania

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SPARCo Tanzania Members

Dr. Balandya is a physician-scientist with medical, doctoral and post-doctoral training. He obtained his MD at the University of Dar-es-salaam in Tanzania in 2005. Since 2007, he has been faculty at the School of Medicine, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Tanzania. He was awarded the prestigious NIH AITRP-Fogarty Fellowship in 2008 to purse Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) studies at Dartmouth College in the United States and graduated in 2012. He subsequently joined the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School as a post-doctoral research fellow between 2012-2014. With a Fogarty Global Health Fellowship supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Fogarty and the University of California Global Health Institute (UCGHI) he returned to MUHAS and focused his research on the role played by T and B lymphocytes in the immunity of children with sickle cell anemia in Tanzania.

Dr. Balandya has a solid background in immunology, vaccinology and advanced biomedical physiology, and has contributed in the fields of mucosal immunology, primary HIV transmission, HIV vaccine development and immunity in sickle cell anemia.

He is currently the Tanzanian PI for SPARCO and Acting Director, Directorate of Postgraduate studies at MUHAS.

Dr. Makubi is a Senior Lecturer in Medicine, Specialist Physician and Hematologist/Cardiologist.

Haematologist, Geneticist, Cancer Research

Dr. Agnes Jonathan holds a Degree of Medicine 2017 from Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCo) and finished her internship at Muhimbili National Hopsital (MNH). Her career objective is to demonstrate project management expertise with focus in medical research on non-communicable disease and implementation of clinical studies with the goal of improving overall human health. She is currently the Tanzania Site Coordinator for the Sickle Pan African Research Consortium work at Sickle Cell Programme, Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Science.

Dr. Irene Minja is a Senior lecturer in the department of Restorative Dentistry at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. She is a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), and holds master of Philosophy in Dentistry (MPhilDent) and doctoral (PhD) degrees in community dentistry, specializing in oral health and quality of life of the elderly.

Dr. Minja’s research interests are in oral health of the elderly and oral health related quality of life. She had an opportunity to conduct research on tooth loss, oral impacts on daily performances and satisfaction with chewing ability among older adults in Tanzania which led to PhD. She has, as well, supervised students in research on elderly people in Tanzania, which include oral conditions such as xerostomia, root caries and currently, analyzing data on oral impacts on daily performances among the aging population living with HIV/AIDS. As an instructor in dental biomaterials Dr. Irene is also interested in dental biomaterials research. In collaboration with faculty at the Turku Clinical Biomaterials Center, University of Turku, Finland, Dr. Irene conducted lab-based study to assess properties of different denture-base materials, the findings are currently under review for publication.

Dr. Irene has been at forefront in health research and education training. As an alumna of Fulbright African Senior Research Scholar – Program and Curriculum Development Award. Dr. Irene had an opportunity to visit the Department of Epidemiology and Health promotion in the College of Dentistry of the New York University – College of Dentistry, New York, U.S.A. During the four months at the NYU, she developed an evidence-based dentistry undergraduate curriculum, under the supervision, guidance and mentorship of Prof. Ralph Katz. As an Investigator, she has developed a proposal and have obtained an ethical clearance to conduct a Survey of knowledge, attitudes, skills and practice of evidence-based dentistry (EBD) among dental students and dentists in Tanzania. Correspondingly, in this survey she and her co-workers expect to find out the barriers and facilitators of EBD practice, so that it can be implemented appropriately in Tanzania. As a mentor of a Tanzanian Global Health Scholar in Oral Health, a curriculum was developed for training of primary health care nurses on oral health issues in Tanzania. The developed curriculum was adapted from ‘Smiles for Life; A National Oral Health Curriculum’ that is based in the United States, containing modules that are applicable for the culture and population of Tanzania.

Dr. Minja is currently a member of management team representing Tanzania in a NORPART-2018 funded project titled: Establishment of a joint research-based education in dentistry in Norway and East Africa. In collaboration with the University of Bergen, Norway, and other universities in East Africa, this project aims to develop and establish a standardized educational platform for global oral health discipline, related joint courses and research projects in the collaborating institutions. She is, as well a senior investigator at the Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO) contributing to the management and administration of different projects to ensure that program goals are achieved in line with the institutional policies and regulations of sponsored programs. Additionally, she is a member of the Skills Development working group – SPARCO Tanzania site, currently, developing fundable proposals in the areas of health research training; and oral health of patients with sickle cell disease. Dr. Irene is an author and co-author of more than 21 publications in peer review journals, and chapters in books. She had edited two books.

Mr Daniel Kandonga has a background in Computer Science and health informatics. He undertook his BSc in Computer Science at St. Augustine University, Ruaha University College, Tanzania and his Masters of Health Informatics at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). He has experience in Computer Programming, Networking, System Analysis and design as well as Database design. He has 5 years of work experience in the computer science arena and 1 year in Health Informatics as a trainee at University of Dar es Salaam Health Centre as part of his Masters degree.

Dr. Mwashungi holds a Degree of Medicine (2010) and a Master of Medicine in Haematology and Blood Transfusion (2017) from the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Tanzania. Currently, she is working as a haematologist at Temeke Regional Referral Hospital where she is the head of department of Internal Medicine. She is also a lecturer at MUHAS, teaching and supervising both undergraduates and postgraduates students in the department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion.

She is a research fellow in the Sickle Cell Programme where she is the co-chair of the Standards of Care working group, Sickle Pan African Research Consortium (SPARCO). She is interested in research on hemolytic anemia.

Dr. Hilda John Tutuba is a Medical Doctor working as a Research Fellow within the Sickle Cell Program at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Department of Hematology and Blood Transfusion. She is involved in research and clinical duties, also in providing health education to Sickle Cell patients at clinics also the community at large. Dr. Tutuba holds Doctor of Medicine degree from the Hubert Kairuki Memorial University and prior to joining the Sickle Cell Program she worked as an Intern Doctor at Muhimbili National Hospital where she acquired outstanding academic and clinical skills. Tutuba also served as a volunteer at the Nyarugusu Refugee Camp under Tanzania Red Cross Society as a clinician.