University of Zimbabwe

Until 2012, The University of Zimbabwe (UoZ) was the only medical school in Zimbabwe. Initially, training was undertaken in collaboration with Birmingham University, UK, and the first medical students graduated in 1964. The associated teaching hospitals are Parirenyatwa Hospital and Harare Central Hospital, which together provide a broad range of health services to address the major needs of Harare and of most of the country.

The University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences (UZCHS) Research Support Centre was established in 2010 and receives funding from the Wellcome Trust, Southern African Consortium for Research Excellence, NIH (MEPI Zimbabwe program, NECTAR and ZiRIM), the Netherlands-African Partnership for Capacity Development and Clinical Interventions Against Poverty-Related Diseases (NACCAP), the Research Support and Training Centres Network (ARISE) project and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver NICHD support.

The Department of Medicine offers a five-year MBChB programme and a four-year postgraduate specialist programme. It aims to provide exemplary clinical service to all patients referred to medical wards and clinics at the central teaching hospitals in Harare, and to conduct relevant scientific research to the high standard required by national IRB committees.

UoZ AMBITION Team

Prof. Chiratidzo Ellen Ndhlovu: UoZ Principal Investigator

I am the Deputy Dean of the UoZ College of Health Sciences and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine. I have significant experience in internal and renal medicine as well as in care of HIV patients in resource-limited settings. I am a Principal Investigator in various HIV related research activities, in particular studying outcomes in cryptococcal meningitis and HIV, and adherence to antiretroviral therapy in adolescents.  I am the current Chairperson of the National Medicines and Therapeutics Policy Advisory Committee (NMTPAC), which advises the Secretary of Health & Child Welfare on all issues pertaining to pharmaceutical use in Zimbabwe, including co-ordinating the review of the Zimbabwe Essential Medicines List aand monitoring rational use of medicines in the country.

I am responsible for overall study oversight at the Harare site, and supervise our study team.

Dr. Admire Hlupeni: Study Doctor

I hold a BSc and MBChB from UZCHS and am studying for an MPhil investigating the immunology of cryptococcal infection reactivation in patients with advanced HIV infection. My interests lie in Public Health and Translational Medicine in HIV-related opportunistic infections, in particular Cryptococcus, with my main focus being the significant reduction in mortality and morbidity associated with cryptococcal disease in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to AMBITION, I was employed as the Medical Officer in the CryptoART study, which evaluated the impact of screen and treat intervention for asymptomatic cryptococcal disease in a cohort of HIV-infected participants with advanced immunosuppression. I have considerable experience in clinical inpatient management and follow-up of patients with HIV-associated Cryptococcal disease and other opportunistic infections.

I am responsible for outpatient management of the Zimbabwean cohort participants and for supervising, coordinating and supporting research nurses in all their clinical activities.

I will be taking a break from my duties as Study Doctor, to read for an MSc in Epidemiology at LSHTM during the 2019/20 academic year. 

Dr. Ephraim Kufa: Study Doctor

I attained my BSc in 2011, and proceeded to complete a degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) at the University of Zimbabwe, in 2015. I was fortunate enough to complete my medical internship at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, in Harare—during my time at which I rotated through a number of medical wards: including the department of HIV management and HIV-related conditions.

After successfully completing my internship, I joined a government rural district hospital in Mutoko: a small town in the Mashonaland East province of Zimbabwe. It was here I served as a Government Medical Officer for just under two years, before being appointed the Acting District Medical Officer in October 2018. During this period, I gained invaluable clinical experience in my role overseeing the management of a wide range of diseases. This position also proved significant in shaping my administrative and team working abilities.

I am very interested in Public Health research that brings about positive change in underprivileged communities suffering from a high burden of communicable diseases, such as HIV.

I joined the AMBITION study in August 2019. I am primarily responsible for the provision of clinical services to study participants.

Dr. Constantine Muatata: Study Doctor

I gained my MBChB degree before reading for a Masters degree in Public Health at the University of Zimbabwe. I worked as a Senior House Officer in the Paediatric Department at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals from 2014-2017, where I was responsible for overseeing patient care in the HIV clinic. It was here at Parirenyatwa, where I also worked as a Casualty Officer.

In 2017, I conducted a study entitled: ’Evaluation of the adverse events following an immunization surveillance system in Guruve district, Mashonaland Central’, which was published in the Pan-African Medical Journal. I have considerable experience in statistical data analysis, report writing and in developing research protocols. My interests lie in HIV-related research, and the subsequent implications on health finance and economics.

My role in AMBITION includes the clinical management of study patients and other related activities

Takudzwa Mtisi: Study Co-ordinator

I am a Medical Research Scientist with ten years’ experience in laboratory diagnostics, laboratory quality management, HIV/AIDS research, project management and coordination. I hold a BSc in Medical Laboratory Sciences and an MSc in Medical Microbiology from UoZ, and a Masters in Public Health from Maseno University. I am also a Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology here at UoZ. My work has focused on HIV and has transitioned through fulltime clinical laboratory practice, research and implementation science, culminating in my role as Project Coordinator within the UoZ Department of Medicine/Research Support Centre. Prior to joining UZCHS in 2015 I worked at the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory, Ministry of Health and Child Care, and I have significant experience in developing project protocols and implementation tools.

My main role in AMBITION is to provide overall day-to-day management, and ensure successful study implementation.

Taddy Mwarumba: Study Nurse

I joined UoZ in 2015 as part of the CryptoArt team. I previously worked for the Ministry of Defence for nine years as a senior nursing officer, then as a research nurse with Zimbabwe’s Biomedical Research and Training Institute. I hold a BSc Degree in HIV/AIDS Management and Community Development from Chinhoyi University of Technology, a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Studies from the National University of Science and Technology, a Diploma in Community Nursing, a Diploma in Midwifery, a Diploma in Project Planning and Management, a Diploma in nursing, and a Certificate in Systemic Counselling. I have a passion for public health issues, especially HIV/AIDS and opportunistic infections, and I hope to enhance my skills by undertaking a Masters in Public Health in the future.

My responsibilities in AMBITION include recruitment of participants, administration of study drugs, informing participants of their laboratory results and advising the study team of any SAEs according to Protocol.

Edward Makaha: Study Nurse

I qualified as a Registered General Nurse in 2002. I also hold a Diploma in Personnel Management, and a Diploma in HIV/AIDS programming and community-based project management. Prior to joining the AMBITION team, I worked as a general nurse for the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health at a district hospital in Mashonaland East Province, and for Médecins Sans Frontières in Epworth as an opportunistic infections nurse. I then joined the UZCHS CryptoArt team from 2015-2017, where I furthered my interest in research and HIV/AIDS management.

My responsibilities in AMBITION include consenting, screening and recruiting participants, data collection, drug administration, and monitoring and follow-up of participants.

Kathryn Boyd: Laboratory Manager

I graduated from the University of Abertay-Dundee with an MSc in Biotechnology in 1999, and I have 18 years of clinical research experience in a laboratory setting. I have coordinated capacity building and training at a national level, have developed study protocols, and have extensive experience in laboratory management of study protocols. The bulk of my research activities and interests have centred on HIV and opportunistic infections. My scientific contributions have included helping to generate data that contributed to local and national prevalence estimates for HIV, TB, STIs and other OIs, as well as generating some of the data that led to the development of the FDA-approved, NICE and CDC-endorsed interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA, ELISpot and TB-SPOT). In 2013 I helped to establish the Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory (IDRL) within the Department of Medicine at UZ-CHS.

My role in AMBITION is to manage specimen processing activities and to ensure lab data quality.

Shepherd Mudzingwa: Study Pharmacist

I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Pharmacy from the University of Zimbabwe in 1997. I then worked in retail pharmacy for five years. I joined the University of Zimbabwe Clinical Research Centre as a Research Pharmacist in 2003. I have also worked as a Trial Pharmacist for the Development of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) in Africa study. I have conducted antiretroviral research for Watoto Europe, for the Africa Research Network for the evaluation of second-line therapy, for studies seeking the reduction of early mortality in HIV-infected adults and children starting ART,
and also for a study around the once daily Dolutegravir based ART in young people. I have also published and co-authored a number of research papers and abstracts since 2013.

My role within the AMBITION team is to oversee all dealings within the Pharmacy at UoZ.

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