Outside the biomedical box of integrated care research. Meet some of our new INTE-AFRICA staff
The INTE-AFRICA consortium is made up of a range of diverse professionals from Europe and Africa. They are experts in unique activities that range from infectious disease care, non-communicable diseases care, project management, implementation, social science, or health economics. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be involved in a large multi-country randomised control trial? We have interviewed some of our new INTE-AFRICA hires who are both on the ground and behind the scenes to give you an idea. Follow along in our series documenting some of our INTE-AFRICA consortium members!
Interviewee name: Dr Samafilan Ainan
Role in INTE-AFRICA: Study Coordinator
Where they are based: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Past role/job: Humanitarian Project Manager
Who are you?
I’m a researcher and paediatrician from Tanzania working at the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR-Muhimbili). I’ve previously worked in various humanitarian settings managing health programs along with working as a hospital-based clinician.
How has your journey helped you lead to this point in your career?
I have a medical and public health background, having worked in both these areas I developed an interest in research and working towards evidence based solutions to health.
How did you initially get involved in research?
I first got involved in research during my Masters studies where I joined a group looking into malaria elimination in Sri Lanka. Thereafter during specialist training in paediatrics I developed further interest clinical research and worked alongside with NIMR looking at TB diagnostics in children.
How has the field of integrated care, especially in sub Saharan Africa, been changing?
Integrated care in sub-Saharan Africa has been changing with different models taken up, initially integration of high priority areas like maternal and child health. There has also been integration within vertical programmes such as HIV and TB and their integration within the primary care system. Currently, with rising demand from a growing population with chronic diseases, there has been more discussion and interest in integrating chronic care.
What areas of HIV and NCD research do you think are being neglected?
I would say mental health and substance abuse are one of the more neglected areas of NCD research, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV patients are living longer, and more research is needed in the areas of HIV and ageing, particularly in the prevention and care of multimorbidities.
What do you hope to do at the NIMR and as part of a member in the INTE-AFRICA consortium?
I’m hoping to contribute to research within NIMR and the INTE-AFRICA consortium as well as learn from the diverse group of experts on the team. I’m expecting that my contribution to this program will lead to policy change toward integration services for chronic diseases, in particular, HIV, Diabetes and Hypertension, at national and regional level.
Besides research and randomised control trials, what do you enjoy doing?
When not socializing with family and friends I’d probably be enjoying the outdoors swimming and hiking once in a while.