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.
SPARCo Tanzania Members
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. 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.
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.
Mr. Msangawale is a holder of Bachelor of engineering in information systems and network engineering from the St Joseph University in Tanzania College of Engineering and Technology. He works as Data officer at Sickle Cell Program which is under the department of Hematology of Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Science (MUHAS). As a Data Officer He provides assistance for on data verification, uploading in REDCap and provide training to data entry to different SPARCO site such as Bugando, MNH Mloganzila, Bagamoyo, Amana, Temeke and Mwananyamala Regional Hospitals. As part of SPARCO he is involved in a number of activities such as helping data coordinators developing proposed Collection Tool for SPARCO 2, responding to different data requests form in the data section. Add new or modify existing data elements in REDCap Database, Developing R script for extracting information from our Data set and Perform Visualization. As part of his data officer, he also provides assistance in areas such as statistical analysis by using R programming and Microsoft Excel, research design and manuscript development. He supports Tanzania SPARCO Research fellow in the project of Data Migration. He has strong skills in software such as R, SQL , SPSS, REDCap and Python. Also he has number of certificates such GCP Course for Clinical Trials Involving Investigational Drugs (international / ICH focus) from CITI and wcg IRB (The Do’s and Don’ts of Compensating Research Participants: Guidance for Clinical Research Stakeholders).
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.
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.
Ms. Emanuela Marco holds a bachelor of science in nursing from Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences. She currently works as data clerk for MUHAS Tanzania SPARCO project, as well as doing some clinical activities. Previously she worked as clinical research nurse under SickleGenAfrica project at MUHAS sickle cell program.
Dr. Chirande is a consultant Pediatric Hematologist and Oncologist at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) and Lecturer at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania. She supervises both postgraduate and undergraduate and provides clinical care to SCD and oncology patients at MNH. Her passion is to improve patient care through training and research. She is a member of International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP). She did a fellowship training under the African Development Bank scholarship in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Makerere University, Uganda. During her fellowship, she realized the burden of SCD to health care services and individual families and its contribution to child mortality. In addition, she observed the difference made by early diagnosis and use of Hydroxyurea to the few families that could access such services which led her to desire for change and a lasting sense of responsibility towards SCD patients and their families. Her focus is on Newborn Screening (NBS) and early intervention including timely and consistent provision of Hydroxyurea to children with SCD. She is a Country Coordinator for the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Newborn Screening and Early Intervention Program aimed at proving the concept of screening and early intervention in Tanzanian settings and demonstrating reduction in morbidity and mortality. She is working with the team in Tanzania and other partners until proven cost-effective interventions such as newborn screening (NBS) and Hydroxyurea become a standard of care. Currently, she is a Newborn Screening (NBS) Coordinator and NBS implementation Study Lead for Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO) Tanzania.
Ms. Winifrida holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with marketing from Mzumbe University, Morogoro, Tanzania. She is working with Bugando Medical Center (BMC) as Account Clerk. She has experience in data management of both new patients and follow-up patients. She is also working as Satellite Data Clerk with Tanzania Sickle Pan Africa Research Consortium (SPARCO).