Sickle cell disease

Julie Makani is Associate Professor in the Department of Haematology and Blood Transfusion at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) (http://www.muhas.ac.tz), the main clinical, academic and research center in Tanzania.

Tanzania has recognized sickle cell disease (SCD), as a major public health problem and it has been included as a priority condition in the national strategy for Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health. With global partnerships, Muhimbili has developed a systematic framework for research, integrated into health, advocacy and education. With prospective surveillance (2004 – 2016) of over 5,000 SCD patients, this is one of the largest single-center, SCD research programs in the world. Tanzania is establishing networks at institutional, national, regional (REDAC), African (Sickle Pan-African Network - 17 countries), and global level (http://www.globalsicklecelldisease.org). In order to develop platforms for advocacy, Tanzania has supported the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania (2010 - 2018) and the Tanzania Sickle Cell Disease Alliance (Established 2016). Scientific themes include clinical research, biomedical research (including genomics) and public health [including ethics, social/behavioral science, population health and health policy]. The aim is to use SCD as a model to establish scientific and healthcare solutions in Africa that are locally relevant and globally significant.

Julie trained in Medicine (Tanzania) and Internal Medicine (UK), and completed her PhD in clinical epidemiology of SCD (UK). She has received several national and international awards for her academic and scientific achievements. She was a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow [Training (2003 – 2009), Intermediate (2012 - 2017)], Tutu Leadership Fellow (2009) www.alinstitute.org and Honorary Visiting Research Fellow, University of Oxford (2003- 2016). She received the 2011 Royal Society Pfizer Award for her work in using anemia in SCD as a model of translating genetic research into health benefit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd17odE1YLs . She is a Consultant Physician in Hematology and Blood Transfusion and Principal Investigator (PI) for Sickle Pan African Consortium (SPARCO)/ SickleInAfrica http://www.sickleinafrica.org/; Site PI for MUHAS for H3ABioNet https://www.h3abionet.org/ and Co-PI SickleGenAfrica http://sicklegenafrica.com/ She is a Fellow of Royal College of Physicians of United Kingdom and Tanzania Academy of Sciences.

Written by: Julie Makani / Janeth Manongi.