A Chat with Boladale Mapayi: First Female Professor of Psychiatry at Obafemi Awolowo University

To commemorate International Women’s Day which is marked annually on March 8, CARTA Communication Assistant, Topistar Karani caught up with Boladale Mapayi (CARTA cohort 4 graduate) and they chatted about her recent promotion that saw her become the first female Professor of Psychiatry at Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. Here is what she had to say.  

Tell us about yourself and your research interests
I am a behavioral scientist with extensive experience in the study of the dynamics of human behavior and interpersonal violence. I practice as a Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Psychologist at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and OAU Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Beyond my practice, I consider myself a distinguished researcher and I am extremely passionate about women’s and adolescent mental health, gender-based violence, and sexuality issues. Over the years, I have participated in several agenda‐setting initiatives concerning gender, sexual minorities, sexual violence, adolescents, and young people as well as the development and reviews of multiple national and international technical reports. I have over 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and I have won and executed several research grants and collaborated with colleagues within and across institutions and countries to provide pertinent data to foster health and wellness.

Recently, you were appointed the first female Professor of Psychiatry at OAU. What does this milestone mean to you? 
Although I am the first female Professor of Psychiatry in my institution, I join a list of many other female professors in the institution from different disciplines. Personally and professionally, I am elated and proud of this milestone! I am grateful to the many great mentors in my institution and in my department who have inspired me along my journey. While a lot has been done to forge the success path for myself and other women in academia and top positions overall, I strongly feel that there is still a long way to go in ensuring gender parity, especially in the top positions. We have made giant strides in creating some balance for women but we should not rest on our oars. 

For me, this milestone means that the hard work, sleepless nights, and numerous tradeoffs were all worth it. The constant nagging of concerned friends and family members on the dangers of advancing in my career at the possible detriment to my home. It means that I can be a role model to my children so that they can be the best at what they want without missing out because they are female. If I can do it, so can anyone. It also means that I can keep more doors open for the people coming after me and I am super excited about that.

What advice can you give to women in “male-dominated” spaces?
Keep pushing and never give up! There will be tough days, the days when you curl up and cry, when it is just easy to give in and give up, throw in the towel. But if you keep pushing, you will get beyond that point. Do not let anyone make you small or keep you quiet. Ensure that your voice is heard, keep working hard and do find your tribe, your support gang, the people that will connect you to the right mentors. Remember, a tree does not make a forest.

You are passionate about women, gender, and sexuality issues. Are there initiatives you are currently involved in professionally or otherwise along these lines?
I am currently a gender specialist in my institution and a technical adviser/consultant and trainer to several development partners including WHO, Federal Ministry of Health and National Agency for the Control of AIDS on gender-based violence issues. I also volunteer with several CSOs that cater to the needs of survivors of GBV. My interest in women, gender, and sexuality issues stems from the harm that I encounter daily, experienced by some sections of our population because of unfair socially assigned roles that are based on unequal power relations. Intolerance fosters stigma and discrimination which further hampers access to support and worsens health outcomes. There are simple steps that we can take towards inclusivity, equity, fairness, and justice that will improve lives. It starts with raising awareness through community engagement in research. 

What do you hope to achieve in your current position in line with this year’s theme of the International Women’s Day #EmbraceEquity?
I hope to use my leadership position as the Head of Department in my institution and the affiliated teaching hospital to model embracing equity with policies that will improve access and agency for all colleagues and coworkers regardless of their different demographic and social characteristics. 


Kaitesi Batamuliza Mukara is an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon, Audiologist and Public Health Specialist. She is the Founding Chairperson of Hearing Health Rwanda, an organization that aims to raise awareness on ear health and prevention of ear and hearing problems. Kaitesi’s dream is to have no child face challenges in achieving their greatest academic potential on the grounds of hearing loss. In this feature, the cohort four graduate tells us about her efforts in enhancing hearing care through research and practice in Rwanda. We had a chat with her and this is what she had to say.


What do you enjoy most about being an ENT practitioner?
While my day-to-day work revolves around patient care, I derive priceless satisfaction in addressing patients’ issues related to their ears or hearing be it medically, surgically, or fitting them with hearing aids. Beyond practice, I also have an interest in research that revolves around policy, advocacy, and harnessing available resources at the primary healthcare level to improve early identification, management of ear diseases, and rehabilitation of those with disabling hearing loss. It is my dream that no child will face challenges in achieving their greatest academic potential on grounds of hearing loss.

Would you say your professional practice impacts society?
I am the founder and CEO of a rapidly growing clinic in the heart of Kigali, Rwanda which prides itself as being the only facility providing comprehensive services on ear and hearing care ranging from new-born hearing screening, diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment, dispensing hearing aids and speech and language therapy. I am an ardent advocate for ear and hearing care not only at the national level but also on the international platform where I am engaged in research, training, and policy engagement.

How has your engagement with CARTA been?
When I first heard about CARTA in 2013, I was immediately drawn to the program. After a competitive application and selection process, I was enrolled in 2014 and pursued a PhD in Public health at Makerere University, Uganda. I graduated in 2021. While the journey was long, tortuous, and turbulent, it was worth every moment and energy spent. With CARTA, I have learnt to look at the world beyond the “tunnel view” perspective of diagnosis and treatment on an individual basis and instead engage with communities and institutions. This approach has proven to be far-reaching and impactful. It is through my engagement with CARTA that I found a window to amplify the plight of those with hearing impairments in my country, Rwanda. 

What makes the CARTA program stand out?
I have been fortunate to attend educational facilities in different countries but none of them offer the “aftercare” that CARTA does. The program provides its affiliates opportunities right from enrolment and this continues long after graduation. Nevertheless, there are areas for improvement and room for further growth too. For instance, PhD students face many challenges on a personal level stemming from their phase in life as well as the pressures of pursuing a doctoral degree. Some of these go unnoticed and at times, some students could be left behind or even drop off in a bid to stay afloat. Platforms for social peer support should be availed to support students in their academic journey especially because resources to do so are available. 

While I am not actively engaged with CARTA at the moment due to changes in my landscape of practice, every milestone I have and continue to achieve can trace origin in the CARTA spirit of growth, excellence, and the ability to brave new ventures, be it academia or other enterprises.



CARTA seeks to create CARTA research hubs at our partner institutions as we progress through the third phase of the CARTA strategy (2021-2025) dubbed CARTA2025.

CARTA2025 aims to strengthen our proven CARTA approach to research capacity strengthening by establishing research hubs aimed at providing research knowledge, training and expertise in specific thematic areas. From the existing network of CARTA scientists, we seek to identify areas of expertise that will lay the foundation for research in areas of strategic interest for CARTA partners and the countries where they sit in line with regional and continental development agendas. The research hubs will build on and consolidate the research expertise existing in the CARTA network and will bring in new collaborators as needed to strengthen a research hub.

CARTA will provide small-scale support for the initial conceptualization and to facilitate the establishment of the research hubs. A core objective of the hubs is to attain their own long-term sustainability Selection process The selection will take place in two steps: 1) Expression of Interest, and 2) submission of Extended Concept for the establishment of a research hub. Submission of the Expression of Interest is open to all CARTA African partner institutions while submission of the Extended Concept is by invitation only after positive evaluation of the EoI. For more details on the evaluation process see the document “How the CARTA Research Hubs will be evaluated”.

This is the Call for Expressions of Interest (EoI).


  • The lead applicant must be academic research staff of a CARTA African partner university.
  • The team must include at least one other CARTA African partner institution and one CARTA non-African partner institution.
  • The teams can include external collaborators to bring in expertise and skills not available within the Consortium.
  • The team must include and build on the expertise of CARTA graduates.
  • The work must include elements of the CARTA interventions to strengthen research, research training and research management capacities.

How to apply
Submissions will be submitted via e-mail to carta@aphrc.org with CC to mvicente-crespo@aphrc.org with subject SUBMISSION OF EoI FOR CARTA RESEARCH HUB before February 28, 2023 at 5pm EAT.

Important downloads



The CARTA Evidence Website is an interactive platform that aims to demonstrate the impact of the CARTA network by timeously tracking, collating, analyzing, displaying, and enabling the uptake of empirical and theoretical evidence produced. The development of the website commenced in 2021, driven by PhD candidates producing research findings that could have an impact on society thus the need to make their findings available and accessible to various audiences.

On December 2, 2022, the platform was officially launched after months of rigorous and critical work in a webinar titled, ‘Increasing visibility of African research and researchers’. The webinar featured a live demonstration and site tour by the CARTA Evidence Project Lead, Prof. Jude Igumbor, and presentations by Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi – Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) and CARTA Co-Director, and Dr. Marta Vicente-Crespo – CARTA Program Manager.

CARTA Evidence seeks to identify and showcase human capacity and synergies within and outside the network to drive opportunities and research operational efficiencies. It will create a collaborative environment for African scientists and evidence users working in communities of practice and across boundaries and disciplines. Building on available information technology, the end goal is increased access to data and speed of discovery and scientific advancement. 

The platform will offer a comprehensive list of research evidence and publicly funded published data to promote accurate monitoring of population health and inform the precision of healthcare policy, innovations, and the betterment of population health.

The mission and vision of the evidence website will be achieved by fostering – human capital development; visibility of evidence; knowledge translation; open science; responsive policies; knowledge management and impact optimization; tracking and curating the structure of evidence; and cross-border and cross-disciplinary collaboration. The website is envisioned to:

  • Enable data findability and possible analysis
  • Enable human capital development
  • Contribute to policy and planning
  • Evidence management

CARTA Evidence is a collaborative effort between the University of the Witwatersrand and the African Population and Health Research Center led by Prof. Jude Igumbor – Associate Professor and CARTA focal person at the University of the Witwatersrand. CARTA has funded the innovative platform thanks to the generosity and flexibility of funding that the Carnegie Corporation NY and the Swedish International Cooperation Agency (Sida) provide to the program. 

Watch the full webinar recording: 



In Kenya, the Oral Health Policy 2022-2030 developed by the Oral Health Department within the Ministry of Health identifies the promotion of the eco-friendly practice of dentistry as one of its objectives. A priority action area is to develop a national plan to phase down usage of dental amalgam while promoting mercury-free alternatives. To achieve this objective within the specified timeframe, the first five strategies have been adopted. 

With support from CARTA through its post-doctoral awards (re-entry grant), Dr. Olivia Osiro (cohort 6 graduate, University of Nairobi) is implementing a research project that aligns with the fourth dental amalgam phase down strategy – to promote research on affordable mercury-free alternative dental filling materials. Her project is titled Development of low-cost glass ionomer cements for dental restorations’. 

With support to the tune of USD 50,000, Olivia intends to complete pending work from her PhD project ‘Development of a prototype for a restorative dental cement in Kenya’. Between August and November 2022, Olivia attended a short research visit as an Honorary Lecturer at the Dental Physical Sciences Unit and Barts and the London School of Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London, where she refined the proof of concept and conducted the required experiments that included synthesis and material tests according to ISO standards for dental cements. 

She is currently investigating the use of highly reactive aluminosilicate glasses mixed with soda-lime-silicate glass (bottle glass) to produce low-cost ionomer glasses. By reducing the ratio of the aluminosilicate glasses, and replacing it with bottle glass, the cost of production can be lowered by up to 60 – 80%. 

The rationale behind this is that only up to 20% of the ionomer glass is involved in the setting reaction on mixing with poly (acrylic acid). Bottle glass is thought to act as a cheap filler and is readily available in all aspects of day-to-day life. The present research has so far produced working formulations of mixtures of two types of highly reactive ionomer glasses and bottle glass with reasonable working and setting times for dental applications. She is optimistic about her research project and its potential to promote the eco-friendly practice of dentistry in Kenya.

On the research project, Olivia is working with Prof David Kariuki, Department of Chemistry, University of Nairobi, Kenya as the internal collaborator, and external collaborators – Prof Robert Hill, Dr. Saroash Shahid, Dr. Natalia Karpukhina of the Dental Physical Sciences Unit, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK. The research visit enabled close interaction with the external mentors as well as an opportunity to lead a research project as a postdoc, with potential to generate a couple of master’s projects.

The CARTA re-entry grants seek to support CARTA graduates returning to, or remaining at their institutions, to undertake a research project, receive strong mentoring and learn the demands of community and public engagement. Within 2022, CARTA awarded nine re-entry grants to its graduates from a total of fifteen post-doctoral opportunities. The other six were awarded as post-doctoral fellowships.



Dubbed LEMIC, the ‘Lived Experiences of Migrating Informal Caregivers in a Tertiary Health Facility: Understanding and action for health systems improvement in Nigeria’ project is a research study that is funded by CARTA through the program’s re-entry grants. The funding, awarded to CARTA graduate, Dr. Kudus Oluwatoyin Adebayo is to the tune of $50,000 and is among 15 postdoctoral fellowships that were awarded to CARTA graduates in mid-2022.

On October 17, 2022, the LEMIC project was officially flagged off with an inception and familiarisation meeting. The meeting was held at the Oladele Ajose Building, Faculty of Public Health, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. During the meeting, the project team engaged the university and hospital stakeholders on the overall aim of the project and garnered feedback on the research which seeks to explore how internally migrating caregivers experience hospital facilities while providing support to hospitalized patients.

Some of the attendees included Dr. Funke Fayehun (Chair of the CARTA Board, co-Focal Person of CARTA at the University of Ibadan, and current Head of the Department of Sociology); Dr. Molatokunbo Olutayo (Director of the Institute of African Studies); Prof Adesola Olumide (Researcher and Consultant Community Physician, Institute of Child Health and Director of the College of Medicine, Research and Innovation Management – CRIM); Dr. Oludayo Tade (Department of Sociology); Dr. Obaro Michael (Deputy Chairman – Research, Medical Advisory Committee – CMAC, University College Hospital), and Dr. Isaiah Ojo from the Office of the Director of Administration, University College Hospital.

In her remarks during the meeting, Dr. Fayehun discussed the work of CARTA at Ibadan, particularly the contributions of the Consortium towards building advanced research capacity of doctoral researchers, staff training, institutionalization of innovations, collaborations, research, infrastructural supports, and many others. She explained that being a highly competitive grant, CARTA’s re-entry grant supports innovative ideas with potential to impact public and population health and quality health systems functioning and effectiveness.

Other participants praised the team for sharing their proposal but offered critical comments and recommendations, largely on methodological plans and ethical considerations. The project team promised to reflect on and integrate as much of the input as possible.

The implementation of the LEMIC project will be led by Kudus as the PI. He will have support from the co-PI, Dr. Mofeyisara Omobowale of the Institute of Child Health, Prof Ayodele Samuel Jegede of the Department of Sociology – the internal mentor and Prof Sharon Fonn (CARTA Co-Director) of the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa – the external mentor. Rukayat Usman, a graduate student at the Institute of African Studies, is the Project Assistant.