SPARCo Tanzania

Members - Email addresses >>

SPARCo Tanzania Members

Dr. Balandya is a physician-scientist with expertise in biomedical sciences encompassing Physiology, Hematology, Immunology and Vaccinology. He obtained his Medical Degree at University of Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania. Doctorate Degree at Dartmouth College USA and Post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School USA. Following his return to Tanzania in 2014, he has researched on immunity and infections in Sickle Cell Disease (through the NIH-Fogarty/NHLBI/UCSF GloCal Fellowship) and is currently PI for the Sickle Pan African Research Consortium (SPARCO)-Tanzania a U01 grant funded by NHLBI with the goal to advance research as a strategy for improving health, advocacy and training for sickle cell disease in Tanzania as part of the larger Sub-Saharan Africa Network. He is also Co-Investigator in several ongoing health research and education capacity building projects. He is published and has presented his work at national and international platforms. Dr. Balandya is Member of the Organizing Committees for the MUHAS Scientific Conference and National NCD Conference. Dr. Balandya is Director of Postgraduate Studies at MUHAS Board Member of Young Scientists Tanzania (YST) a nation-wide Science Outreach Programme and consults with the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) on matters related to health research and education. He is a scientific reviewer for Tanzania Journal of Health Research (TJHR), Allergologia et Immunopathologia, Lancet Haematology, Journal of Community Genetics and PLOS ONE.

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

Having trained as haematologist in Italy and in the US (Columbia University), Lucio Luzzatto worked from 1964 to 1974 at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria; from 1974-1981 he was Director of the International Institute of Genetics and Biophysics, CNR, Napoli, Italy; in 1981 he succeeded Sir John Dacie as Professor of Haematology and Director of the Haematology Department at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, University of London, UK; in 1994 he became Professor and founding Chairman of the Department of Human Genetics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York; from 2000 to 2004 he was Scientific Director of the National Institute for Cancer Research, Genova, Italy; from 2005 to 2015 Scientific Director of the Istituto Toscano Tumori, Firenze, Italy; currently he is Professor of Haematology at the Muhimbili University for Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Lucio Luzzatto’s research has been focused on the genetic and molecular basis of blood disorders. Main contributions. (a) Glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD): this was the first human enzyme of which molecular cloning was achieved with M G Persico in 1986. (b) Genetics of haemoglobinopathies and inherited susceptibility to malaria. In 2000 Luzzatto collaborated with M Sadelain to obtain correction of thalassaemia by gene therapy in a pre-clinical mouse model. (c) Pathogenesis, molecular basis and clinical aspects of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). Lucio Luzzatto and collaborators first proved this was a clonal disorder; subsequently his group identified the underlying biochemical abnormality, and with Bruno Rotoli and others provided the currently accepted model to explain the expansion of PNH clones. Lucio Luzzatto has about 400 publications in learned journals, and several chapters in major textbooks.

Dr. Jonathan is a Master's student of Public Health at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Science (MUHAS) and holds a Degree of Medicine from Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCo). Her career objective is to demonstrate project management expertise with a focus on medical research both communicable and non-communicable diseases and the implementation of clinical studies with the goal of improving overall human health. She has experience in coordinating projects including management aspect, administration, financial management, budgeting and planning and monitoring and evaluation in ensuring project goals met. She is currently working as a Project Coordinator for the Sickle Pan African Research Consortium (SPARCO)-Tanzania 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.

Daniel Kandonga has a background in Computer Science and health informatics from St. Augustine University, Ruaha University College, Tanzania, and his Masters of Health Informatics at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM). A winner of research SPARCo research fellow award 2020 for a project that focuses on the migration of existing Sickle Cell Disease Data from Muhimbili National Hospital into an Upgraded Database for Easy Usability in Patient Care and Clinical Research. Currently, He is working with the SPARCo Tanzania site as a Database Coordinator. He has more than 4 years of experience working on Data Management particularly on multisite data collection from SPARCo sites Tanzania and SickleinAfrica Consortium in general. In 2019 He attended Big data analytics course online and face-to-face training in Cape Town-University-South Africa as part of SPARCo consortium capacity building at the site level coordinated by SADaCC, where he learns more on advanced computational tools for analyzing large data. Prior to this, He has experience in Computer Programming, Networking, System Analysis, and design as well as the REDCap databases.

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 hematologist at Temeke Regional Referral Hospital where she is the head of the Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion. She is also an honorary 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 and a member of the Standards of Care working group Sickle Pan African Research Consortium (SPARCO) Tanzania. She is interested in research on hemolytic anemia.

Dr. Tutuba is a Medical Doctor and master’s student working as a SPARCO-Tanzania Clinical Research Fellow within the Sickle Cell Program, Department of Hematology and Blood Transfusion, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. She is involved in research and clinical duties, also in providing health education to Sickle Cell patients at clinics and the community at large. Tutuba holds a 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 the Tanzania Red Cross Society as a clinician.


Dr. Mmbando is a Principal Research Scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in Tanzania since June 2000, currently stationed at Tanga Centre. He has also worked with the Muhimbili Sickle Cell Programme (MSP) affiliated to the Muhimbili University of Health Sciences as a Statistician since 2012. Also, He was a visiting lecturer at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College between 2002 and 2018. He holds a BSc. (Maths and Statistics, University of Dar es Salaam), an MSc. (Medical Statistics, Lancaster UK, 2003) and PhD (Health Sciences, Copenhagen DK, 2011). Some areas that he has worked on include malaria HIV Population studies sickle cell disease onchocerciasis and epilepsy. He has also worked on clinical trials (drugs and vaccines) in the development of a statistical analysis plan of one of the most advanced malaria vaccine trials (RTSS). For the past nine years I have been working partly with Muhimbili Sickle cell programme in hospital based studies looking at genetic markers associated with malaria clinical and hematological characteristics of patients with sickle cell disease and risk factors of hypertension in adolescents and adults with sickle cell disease from Muhimbili sickle cell programme.

Dr. Mmbando was one of the H3ABionet supported fellows in Bioinformatics and statistics from Muhimbili node. Currently he is involved in Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO) - Tanzania as Statistician a surveillance study assessing factors associated persistence of onchocerciasis and associated epilepsy in onchocerciasis endemic areas and trials assessing the effectiveness of seasonal malaria chemoprophylaxis in children below five years and the impact of intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in school aged children in Tanzania. For the past 10 years he has provided statistical guidance for ten (MSc and PhD) students who successfully completed their studies. He has authored and co-authored about 80 publications in peer reviewed Journals.

Dr. Ruggajo is a consultant nephrologist at Muhimbili National Hospital, a senior lecturer, head of department of Internal medicine and head of the renal research group at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Science (MUHAS). He teaches and mentors medical and graduate students in their research projects. He holds PhD in Clinical Epidemiology (Outcomes) - Low birth weight and chronic kidney disease. Currently, he is a post-doc research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA focusing on HIV and CKD. Has a solid background in medicine, nephrology and medical education for both undergraduate and graduate medical students. His competence areas include clinical epidemiology and research methods, study designs, patient registry development, data collection, management and analysis. In addition, he is capable of providing leadership in the grant application and grant management as well as building networks in research, healthcare and education. His research areas of interests encompass investigating the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) model, exploring the association between low birth weight and future kidney disease (Brenner’s Hypothesis), Sickle Cell Nephropathy, Diabetic Kidney Disease, Cardio-Renal Diseases and the epidemiological exploration on the impact of double burden of Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases in Tanzania and the sub-Saharan African region. Currently, he is working as a Research coordinator and Kidney Disease Study Lead for Sickle Pan African Research Consortium (SPARCO)-Tanzania, MUHAS.

Pages