Mark Wainberg Fellowship Programme
Institution: Ifakara Health Institute
Country of work: Tanzania
What is your motivation for pursuing a career in HIV clinical service delivery?
I am a clinical researcher and I have been working at a rural HIV clinic within a referral hospital for more than two years. Since 2004, the clinic has run an HIV and AIDS cohort, which contains data of more than 11,000 people. I participate in several cohort-based research projects and coordinate an intervention study on the impact of stigma-related interventions on linkage to care. I have witnessed how psychosocial issues, such as stigma, depression, lack of disclosure and poor adherence, influence HIV outcomes, including late presentation, HIV drug resistance, premature mortality and preventable morbidities, especially in our resource-limited setting. To date, psychosocial issues remain understudied and underserved in Tanzania; there is an urgent need to design and implement cost-effective solutions to address these challenges. Becoming a trained HIV specialist is a key step for me to contribute to improving our healthcare system, making it patient centred, accessible and comprehensive for people with HIV.
How do you anticipate using the knowledge learned once back in your home country?
The Mark Wainberg Fellowship Programme will strengthen my aspiration to work as an academic clinician and become a public health expert leader who makes contributes eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030. It will make me familiar with different clinical settings and allow me to discuss client-related questions with different specialists. The exposure to and opportunity of collaborating with researchers from around the world will strengthen my knowledge and ability to tackle health challenges and reduce health disparities. The intensive and interactive modules offered through the programme, plus the hands-on training, will further solidify my experience in treating people living with HIV and conducting research. The engagement with colleagues from different parts of the world in the fellowship will broaden my understanding of interventions that have been successfully deployed in other settings and adapt them to improve healthcare in Tanzania.