Close this search box.
A Call to End Sexual Harassment in Institutions of Higher Learning

Sexual harassment (SH) is a complex issue, particularly in academic settings, where it includes requests for sexual favors and verbal or physical sexual activities that are used to manipulate academic or professional outcomes. The culture of silence surrounding SH, unequal power dynamics, fear of retaliation, and stigma, contribute to the underreporting of SH, making it a pervasive problem in institutions of higher education.

Breaking barriers and pioneering change, Boladale Mapayi, a CARTA graduate of cohort 4 from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) is a pivotal force in the fight against SH within Nigerian educational institutions. Through a re-entry grant awarded in 2022 as part of the CARTA postdoctoral program, Boladale is leading the implementation of a study project that aims to uncover the deep-seated issues of SR within higher education institutions in Nigeria. Dubbed SHINE Project (Sexual Harassment In Nigerian Educational Institutions), the grant commenced in July 2022, running up to October 2023. 

The SHINE project has sought to explore the complex perceptions driving both heterosexual and same-sex SH among students and staff, understand the social and mental health consequences faced by survivors, and assess the institutional mechanisms for preventing and responding to SH. Under Boladale’s steadfast leadership, the project is more than just an investigation; it is a call to action. 

The onset of the project was marked with stakeholders’ meetings (November 2022) to foster community engagement and include the helpful ideas of the campus community in the research process. Targeting staff and students of selected universities – OAU, the University of Ibadan, and the University of Lagos- the study employed a mixed methods design. This has comprised policy review, surveys, focused group discussions, in-depth interviews, and key informant interviews. 

Research conducted finds comprehensive but potentially flawed SH policies in the selected universities. Survivors reported various forms of harassment in locations like offices, lecture theaters, and libraries. Reasons for not reporting included stigma, lack of evidence, and fear of retaliation. Both same-sex and heterosexual harassment were prevalent, with male perpetrators. Participants often attributed harassment to indecent dressing. Many campus community members were unaware of their institution’s harassment policies and support resources. Generally, there is a need for increased SH awareness and training in higher education institutions. 

In August 2023, SHINE conducted three dissemination meetings, bringing together stakeholders, including student representatives, lecturers, researchers, and anti-sexual harassment committee members. These meetings allowed for open discussions about the study’s findings, addressing concerns surrounding dress codes, and encouraging further collaboration on institutional responses to SH.

As principal investigator, the re-entry grant has allowed Boladale to engage in several activities to further her opportunities for training and the agenda of the SHINE project. In June 2023, she visited Brown University in Rhode Island, USA, where she engaged in critical discussions with international mentors and faculty, laying the groundwork for future collaborations and partnerships. Additionally, a mentor from Brown University, Prof Abigail Harrison visited OAU, facilitating meaningful dialogues and collaborative initiatives between the institutions. These initiatives included training seminars, webinars, and discussions focused on the prevention and response to sexual harassment in Nigerian universities. Collectively, the activities involved over 100 participants drawn from the antisexual harassment committee, faculty gender focal persons, civil service organization representatives, researchers, staff, and students. 

The endeavors have not only expanded Boladale’s knowledge and network but have also forged crucial connections for future change-making in the fight against sexual harassment. Between July, September, and October 2023, she presented findings from the study at different national meetings in Nigeria and various international conferences. Some of the conferences include the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) International Congress, July 10 – 13, 2023 in Liverpool, UK; Australian Psychosis Conference, September 11 – 13, 2023; in  Sydney, Australia; and the 23rd World Congress of Psychiatry, September 28 – October 1, 2023, in Vienna, Austria. 

Boladale’s connection with CARTA and the SHINE Project reflects the transformative power of educational and capacity-strengthening programs. Before CARTA, Boladale was a dedicated scholar with 15 authored papers in need of a nurturing environment to build scholarly acumen and innovative teaching methodologies. Her academic trajectory underwent a profound transformation within the rich and diverse resource hub of CARTA. The program’s influence significantly enhanced her research expertise, a cornerstone for her academic elevation to the coveted rank of professorship (First Female Professor of Psychiatry at OAU). Also contributing to this milestone was her publication count, which surged to over 35 peer-reviewed papers. 

The program’s strategic interventions, spanning Joint Advanced Seminars (JASes), training workshops, and re-entry grants, nurtured Boladale’s growth as a researcher, educator, and advocate. Equipped with innovative teaching methodologies emphasizing critical thinking, Boladale now nurtures a generation of students who excel academically, fostering a more dynamic learning environment. Collaborating with mentors, she is an advocate for girls, women, and adolescent health, contributing to policy formulation and agenda setting at institutional, national, and regional levels. Her advocacy efforts led to the formation of a mentorship club, bridging the gender gap in research output and fostering a network of empowered female researchers across Africa. 

CARTA celebrates Boladale’s growth, potential to break barriers and pioneer change, and unwavering commitment to combat sexual harassment and safeguard the rights of girls and women. 


Informal caregivers (ICs), who are family members, relatives or friends of hospitalized patients are a regular sight around hospitals in Nigeria. ICs help inpatients to maintain emotional balance and assist with tasks like medicine administration, communicating with healthcare professionals, and navigating the health system. Some engage in specialized care tasks such as taking samples to the laboratory, emptying urine bags and defecation basins, and moving immobilized patients. They provide this unpaid care because a significant healthcare human resource vacuum exists in our hospitals.

Unfortunately, ICs face significant challenges, which can be worsened by the circumstances under which they support patients on admission. For example, professional care providers often view their presence as counterproductive. ICs are also exposed to vulnerabilities, illness, and decreased quality of life. They lack support and have unmet financial, social, training, and information needs, while also experiencing psychosocial issues.

In this piece, I draw the attention of policy actors in the health sectors of Nigeria to the challenges facing ICs in our hospitals and propose steps for action towards alleviating their plights. The suggestions are based on evidence from a study funded by the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) titled “The Lived Experiences of Migrating Informal Caregivers in a Tertiary Health Facility: Understanding and Action for Health Systems Improvement in Nigeria”. Specifically, the study’s Research Team (Dr. Kudus Oluwatoyin Adebayo, Dr. Mofeyisara Oluwatoyin Omobowale, Rukayat Usman, Funmilayo Omodara and Atinuke Olujimi) documented the experiences of people who travel far from home to care for hospitalized patients while stationed in/around an urban tertiary health facility in Southwestern Nigeria.

One of the issues we raised in our research is: why do relatives “hang around” and live in/around the hospital? To this question, we learned first of all that ICs are constrained to stay and hang around because care-seeking travels take them far from home to places where daily commuting is difficult, costly, inefficient, impractical or impossible. Second, we learned that ICs desire to be near in space, time, and relationship to hospitalized patients. Third, there is policy contradiction between established rules and everyday professional care practice. An IC is expected to be on the ground to help the patient, although the established rule is against it. Fourth, the hospital is using ICs to fill formal human resource vacuum and service inefficiencies. The labor of ICs is being co-opted to make up for health system problems and institutional failures, especially staff shortages. The fifth reason is the clinical status of inpatients. Patients clinically determined to be unstable or in critical or dire condition need supportive care that the hospital and patients themselves cannot fulfill alone.

Additionally, two philosophies of care influence the temporary residence of caregivers in the hospital. The first is based on the culture of care in Nigerian society, whereby relatives view that illness is not for the sick to bear alone. The second philosophy is the practice of holistic care, where health workers try to involve family members in the care process for optimal clinical outcomes for inpatients. Finally, hospitalization is costly for many low-income earners and poor people referred to tertiary hospitals for specialized care. The high cost of staying also applies to relatives who often engage in mobilizing resources needed for the care of an inpatient through the duration of hospitalization.

Apart from why they stay with hospitalized relatives, what challenges do ICs face, and how do these challenges impact their lives? Evidence from our research shows that ICs staying with sick relatives in the health facility experienced health and well-being challenges. These include stress, bodily breakdown, weakness, pain, sleeplessness, and poor feeding. They also experienced mental and psychological distress as they reported feeling sad, unhappy, angry, paranoid, and aggressive towards the situation. They are also at risk of infection and illness because of their presence and prolonged stay in the hospital.

Secondly, the hospital environment is not conducive for ICs. They have challenges navigating the facility while exposed to harsh weather, noise, and smell. The hospital staff reported that caregivers use hospital spaces indiscriminately because of limited access to accommodation and toilet facilities through how they use spaces and disrupt regular hospital operations. These have significant implications for both human and environmental health.

Thirdly, ICs experienced social and economic issues. Socially, ICs reported loss of livelihood, disruption of religious routines and commitments, and support fatigue. There were issues with patient abandonment, absenteeism, and social isolation due to prolonged stay in the hospital. Financial constraint is the most dominant dimension of economic challenges experienced by ICs. They reported accumulated indebtedness and perceived wastage of their limited resources while supporting hospitalization care.

Fourthly, ICs were exposed to security and safety problems during their stay. Although security guards are available in the hospital, the perception of the hospital community as an open community, where entry-exit control is minimal, exposed them to risks, harassment, theft, and fraud. The security concerns and risks are higher for those who sleep outside with their belongings.

Fifthly, ICs experienced relational and attitudinal challenges. These include interpersonal conflicts shaped by information asymmetry, misunderstanding, and language barriers. These conflicts often take violent dimensions as ICs sometimes harass, fight, or beat health workers and other staff.

Finally, ICs have limited access to water, sanitary practices, and hygiene because of inadequate amenities and facilities in the hospital. In a few places with hygiene amenities, access control by the environmental health assistants makes access to them challenging for ICs, as the hospital workers sometimes lock up toilets when there is a shortage of water supply.

What should be done to address the challenges facing informal caregivers? There is need for managers of Nigeria’s health sector to prioritize ICs’ health and well-being as key actors in the Nigerian health system. Hospitals receiving ICs from long distances should design and implement interventions to improve facilities, provide leisure opportunities, support caregivers’ community, and promote their physical and mental well-being.

Education and sensitization, focused on hospitalization education with orientation and planning contents, should be provided by health workers to ICs at the point of referral and upon arrival in the tertiary health facilities. Hospital management should create awareness of supportive services, and encourage caregivers to subscribe to them, especially for those who can afford them. Special caregivers’ sensitivity training should also be offered to hospital staff.

Policymakers at all levels should formulate and implement policies and programs that acknowledge caregivers’ role in hospitalization care in Nigeria. Hospital managers should identify opportunities for creative synergies between ICs and the formal care workforce and invest in continuing process evaluation of service delivery with the aim of improving efficiency. Furthermore, hospitals should strengthen existing initiatives designed to reduce the presence of caregivers and lessen the burden of the ones still hanging around.

More importantly, the government should provide funds and support public health facilities to address institutional dysfunctions that make ICs’ presence a necessity, especially in tertiary health facilities. The government should also drastically reduce health inequalities while hospitals revamp health institutions by integrating disparate but interlinked services. Also, by leveraging on technology to improve efficiency in payment and pharmacy services, the dependency of tertiary health facilities on ICs will be reduced.

Informal caregivers are central to the care of hospitalized patients in Nigeria. Despite the limited acknowledgment of their indispensable roles and contributions, they will remain critical in the country’s health system until the factors creating the gap they are filling are addressed.

© Dr. Kudus Oluwatoyin Adebayo is of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, the School of Public Health, University of The Witwatersrand, South Africa, and a graduate of the CARTA Fellowship (cohort 6). You can reach him directly via email at: oluwatoyinkudus (at) gmail (dot) com.

This article has been published over 20 times by different media outlets. 


CARTA is proud to have had one of its graduates, Samuel Mwaniki (cohort 8 graduate, University of Nairobi) in the second cohort of the prestigious Kofi Annan Global Health Leadership Program. The fellowship supports aspirational public health leaders from Africa in acquiring advanced skills and competencies to strategize, manage, and lead public health programs that will transform public health in Africa. Hosted by Africa CDC and the Kofi Annan Foundation, the fellowship was launched in 2017 with the first cohort of 20 fellows from 14 countries.

Samuel joined the second cohort with 20 fellows from 17 different African countries in 2022 and graduated on May 12, 2023, at the African Union 20 headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His fellowship reflects not only his personal growth but also demonstrates how CARTA’s engagement goes beyond academia, guiding fellows toward impactful opportunities.

CARTA’s influence on Samuel’s journey was multifaceted. Through the CARTA monthly newsletter, he discovered the fellowship opportunity and drew upon the writing skills honed through ESE:O and continuous engagement within CARTA to craft a compelling application. His CARTA association served as a convincing point during the interview; showcasing his aptitude for securing funds and fostering his confidence to pursue the fellowship. Moreover, the leadership and implementation skills he acquired during his PhD journey primed him for the one-year leadership program.

CARTA’s flexibility, demonstrated by the leave of absence from JAS 4, provided him the opportunity to attend the residential training of the fellowship in Addis Ababa. Further, the program accommodated his absence from the fourth and final seminar with his cohort mates by ensuring he participated in cohort 10’s JAS 4, which took place from July 3 – August 18, 2023, at Makerere University.

Contributions from CARTA peers, mentors, and the program itself were complemented by Samuel’s workplace, family, and supervisor’s support. This network of support underscores the favorable environment required for individual growth and achievement. Samuel’s journey resonates with his institution as he now assumes leadership roles, leads committees, and is entrusted with writing important reports and speeches. His acquired problem-solving and leadership acumen fostered through CARTA, have empowered him to navigate diverse challenges and collaborate effectively with colleagues.


CARTA is celebrating the award of a grant from the second phase of the Developing Excellence in Leadership, Training and Science in Africa (DELTAS Africa) initiative, which the program formally launched in a vibrant webinar on July 19, 2023. The grant will support and expand CARTA’s work in line with the program’s five-year strategic plan, CARTA2025.

An African-based, African-led initiative, CARTA was conceptualized to strengthen the capacity of African universities to produce well-trained and skilled researchers and scholars. The program, now spanning over a decade, is dedicated to equipping a new generation of researchers with the necessary skills and knowledge to address Africa’s most pressing challenges.

Through a multi-faceted PhD training and capacity-strengthening program, CARTA has empowered numerous African scholars to engage in rigorous research, contributing to scientific advancements that benefit the continent. Its current phase aims to build a critical mass of well-trained and motivated researchers, supported by conducive environments, which can produce high-quality research to tackle common health and development challenges in Africa.

“DELTAS Africa II provides a unique opportunity to further strengthen the research ecosystem in Africa. It will facilitate greater collaboration, improved research infrastructure, and enhanced capacity building, advancing our collective efforts towards sustainable development,” states Dr. Catherine Kyobutungi, CARTA Co-Director and Executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC).

DELTAS Africa, a multimillion-dollar, long-term program, was launched in 2015 with the objective of supporting collaborative consortia, led by Africa-based scientists. The first phase of the program, implemented between 2015 and 2021, awarded grants to 11 consortia including CARTA, while the second phase will benefit 14 consortia across Africa. The second phase is implemented by the Science for Africa (SFA) Foundation with continued support from Wellcome and the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO).

Dr. Alphonsus Neba, Deputy Director of Programmes at SFA Foundation, notes that “We [SFA] exist to support African scientists in addressing the continent’s most pressing developmental needs…… All the DELTAS Africa programs are tactfully designed to be led by African researchers and in so doing African researchers lead the programs to develop a critical mass on the continent.”

At the virtual gathering, CARTA also awarded five successful research teams preparatory grants for the initial conceptualization of the CARTA Research Hubs. The grants will support the teams to develop extended concepts for the research hubs that will serve as centers of excellence in key priority areas and facilitate knowledge exchange and multi-disciplinary collaboration.

Elaborating on the vision of the CARTA research hubs, CARTA co-Director, Professor Sharon Fonn of the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa says, “A successful research hub is one that is doing research. But for us, what is important is that it is hosting the next generation of African researchers and provides a role model environment where research can happen and the researcher can grow…….. where we co-create research questions and methods and they are not being conceptualized from outside.”

CARTA remains committed to collaborating with partners across the continent to maximize the impact of its work and build a vibrant research landscape in Africa. Together, we envision a future where African researchers lead the change in addressing local and global challenges, driving sustainable development, and transforming lives.

Watch full recording of the launch here:


In this Q&A with CARTA Communications, Melvin Ojo Agunbiade, CARTA focal person for Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and cohort 3 graduate reflects on his academic journey, and the professional and personal milestones achieved, having been recently promoted to the position of Associate Professor at OAU. He also offers valuable insights to inspire the next generation of researchers and scholars. 

Professionally, how would you describe yourself, and what inspires you?
I am an academic, fully engaged in research and teaching in the areas of Sociology and Anthropology, and I am based at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Nigeria. My interest is in studying various aspects of sexual health, aging, gender and development, and African traditional medicine systems. These topics are important for understanding how to promote healthy aging and inclusivity in Nigeria and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. My research aims to gather knowledge that can be used to create policies based on evidence. As a lecturer, I endeavor to impart knowledge and skills that go beyond the acquisition of education for my students but also shape and equip them to be agents of change in society.

My journey at OAU began in September 2004 when I joined as a Graduate Assistant in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Over the years, I advanced through the ranks to my most recent appointment as an Associate Professor which was awarded in 2023 although backdated to 2019. My role at the university involves teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in sociological theory, research approaches and methods in sociology and anthropology, and health and medical sociology. I also supervise undergraduates and postgraduates within the department and coordinate postgraduate programs in Sociology and Anthropology for two academic sessions. 

Currently, I play key administrative roles in the department, including being the examination officer, a role that involves coordinating examination activities. Outside the department, I co-supervise doctoral candidates in nursing science and the sociology of education. Since the 2019/2020 academic session, I have been the co-coordinator of a research methodology course at the postgraduate college of the university. The development of the course was supported by CARTA through a curriculum institutionalization grant that was awarded in 2017. The course is one of the CARTA success stories at OAU. So far, the research methodology course is the first of its kind, and all doctoral candidates across the 13 faculties of the university offer this credit course in the first year of their program

How does your recent promotion to Associate Professor shape your academic journey?
This promotion marks a pivotal point in my career. Achieving the rank of Associate Professor is an achievement of great joy and pride for me, my mentors, and students. It signifies the progress I have passionately strived for and worked towards for many years. The accomplishment not only validates my dedication to academia but also serves as a stepping stone for further milestones. I am eager to contribute more to knowledge-building, mentoring, and evidence generation for the betterment of society.

What would you say has been the catalyst behind your academic and professional advancement? 
Several factors have played pivotal roles in my academic and research growth including but not limited to the divine arrangements that led me into academia, the supportive environment provided by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at OAU, and financial support to realize my academic pursuits. I received my doctorate degree in Health Sociology in 2016 from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and the CARTA program fully supported this. I have also received other scholarships, such as the Commonwealth Scholarship for Distance Learning, that supported my second Master of Science Degree in Gerontology at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, which I completed in 2019. 

My interest in gerontology was born out of my professional development plan and research interests. I owe the professional development plan to CARTA because it is from the program’s Joint Advanced Seminar Series (JASes) that I got the idea and saw this as valuable to have as a scholar. Over the years, I have found the lessons learned from the JASes indispensable in my research and teaching activities, as well as community engagement. 

My progress would not have been possible without the support of my teachers as well as the mentors I have encountered along the way, including those from Author Aid and CARTA. I must also mention the encouragement I received from my undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as the unwavering love and support from my family. The network of relationships I have fostered has provided critical input for my progress and advancement. Without this holistic support, I am certain that my achievements would not have been possible.

You have highlighted CARTA’s contribution to your development. Elaborate on specific aspects of the program that have had impact.
The invaluable support I received from CARTA, starting from pre-fellowship to post-graduation, has been instrumental in my journey. The interventions and ongoing support from CARTA have been significant, particularly during my doctoral training, capacity to generate quality research outputs, and career progression. The impacts continue to evolve, and my story in academia cannot be told without acknowledging CARTA’s role. The four CARTA JASes and the program’s way of teaching have equipped me with essential skills that are challenging to quantify, yet their impact has been evident in my research approach, knowledge sharing, knowledge building, and community engagement. I cherish every component of the CARTA curriculum. The post-graduation phase of CARTA has significantly contributed to my success in securing research grants and fellowships. I have also been able to provide support and mentorship to graduate students, and I have taken up leadership positions at OAU. 

What do you hope to achieve and accomplish in your current position? 
I aspire to engage in cutting-edge research, provide extensive mentoring to those around me, and foster collaborations with researchers within and outside my discipline. I aim to make substantial contributions to knowledge creation and positively impact the lives of individuals and communities through evidence-based policies and interventions.

Any points of reflection that you can offer CARTA fellows and early career researchers in Africa? 
I encourage my fellow CARTA beneficiaries and early-career researchers in Africa to continuously seek opportunities to acquire new skills and collaborate with peers within and outside their discipline. Be pragmatic, persistent, and maintain a positive outlook while endeavoring to empower those around you as agents of positive change. By embracing these principles, you can navigate the challenges of academia and research, paving the way for personal growth and societal impact.


Felix Khuluza is a CARTA cohort 5 graduate from Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHeS) and was recently promoted to Associate Professor of Pharmacy, in the Pharmacy Department. In this personal account, he reflects on his academic and professional journey and his quest for quality and safe medicine in Malawi and beyond. 


A passion for pharmacy
As far as I can remember, I have always been resolute about contributing to better health outcomes in my country and beyond. I have therefore been deliberate in carving a path that allows me to be in a position to find solutions to health challenges particularly substandard and falsified medicines in low-and middle-income countries in order to contribute towards better health for the poor through higher education and a career in Pharmacy. 

I was among an inaugural group that enrolled for a Diploma in Pharmacy at the Malawi College of Health Sciences when it was introduced as a direct course. I was also in the first group for an honors degree in Pharmacy when it was introduced at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (KUHES), formerly the College of Medicine, University of Malawi. I graduated with a first-class Bachelor’s Degree and immediately joined KUHeS as an Assistant Lecturer in April 2010. With a scholarship from the Australian Awards Scholarship in 2012, I proceeded to undertake a Master’s Degree in Health Economics at the University of Queensland. I came back to Malawi in August 2013 having completed the degree and assumed a Lecturer position. 

Between 2014 and 2015, with the guidance and collaboration with Prof. Lutz Heide (University of Malawi and University of Tubingen Germany), we won a grant from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) to study the quality of antimalarial and antibiotic medicines in Malawi. This was followed by a CARTA scholarship and with the two grants, I enrolled in a PhD program at KUHeS. Professors – Lutz Heide and Ulrike Holzgrabe (Institute of Pharmacy and Food Chemistry and University of Würzburg, Germany) were both my primary and secondary supervisors, respectively. I successfully completed the program in 2018 and graduated with a PhD in Pharmacy (specializing in Pharmaceutical Analysis). 

While advancing my academic pursuits, I developed passion for research and appreciated the role it can play in realizing impact and the common good. As a researcher, I have particular interest in the quality of medicines and their relationship with pharmaceutical supply chains and logistics and associated public health impact. This has been my passion since my undergraduate studies in 2006. 

The passion has grown, as in most cases whenever there is treatment failure, we assume either the patient was not complying or is resistant to the medicine. What we forget is that in some cases it would be that the patient was under-dosed due to poor-quality medicines which is often ignored in the medical circle. There is also a growing concern with the administering of poor-quality antibiotics which is contributing to antimicrobial resistance. For us to combat these problems, there is need to assure the quality and safety of medicine given to patients. And it is my endeavor to do this and potentially aid Malawi’s Pharmacy and Medicines Regulatory Authority in routine testing of medicines that are on the market.

Great milestone
For any academician, professorship is a status we all aspire to achieve, being the highest rank. My recent promotion to the rank of Associate Professor is one step toward this coveted position. It is therefore an achievement I am extremely proud of in my career as well as for the pharmacy professional in Malawi. I am very happy because Malawi has very few pharmacy professionals who have attained such a rank and to join the hopefully growing number is encouraging. Additionally, in the Department of Pharmacy at KUHeS, I am the first local person to attain Associate Professorship.

Supportive environment
There are several components that have contributed to my growth including strong mentorship and training, and supportive family and friends. Various academicians including Professors – Lutz Heide, Victor Mwapasa (KUHeS), and Adamson Muula (KUHeS) have rendered such mentorship and guidance at different stages of my journey. Additionally, administrative support from KUHeS has enabled the implementation of various research on the quality of medicines. 

The CARTA program has particularly played a huge role in advancing my career and research aspirations. During my fellowship, CARTA was a unique platform that allowed me to acquire advanced research and grant writing skills through the Joint Advanced Seminars (JASes). I would say the biggest contribution of CARTA has been the sharpening of my academic writing skills. This has resulted in me being among the prolific researchers, able to competitively win grants as well as publish in high-impact journals. The program has exposed me to networks that have been of great personal and professional benefit. Further, the CARTA reentry grant (awarded in 2019) and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership II (EDCTP II) early career grant (awarded in 2020) have both enriched my academic and research profile. The CARTA re-entry grant specifically provided a platform where I was able to partner with Prof. Victor Mwapasa who has been key in mentoring my academic journey.

Moving forward
An inadequate number of senior academicians is one concern at the Department of Pharmacy at KUHeS,  and this has been cited as a challenge by several external examiners and assessors. My promotion will hopefully bridge this gap and reduce some of the shortfalls that the Department has been experiencing. A priority in my role will be to intensify mentorship to more junior researchers and quality supervision to graduate and postgraduate students. I also intend to continuously compete for more grants that can support my work toward ensuring that there is quality medicine in Malawi. As I aspire to be a full professor over hopefully the next three years, I plan to work to meet the criteria and realize this achievement.

Reflecting on my own journey and the R&D ecosystem in Africa, I wish to tell early career researchers in Africa to have a goal and aim to achieve that goal. When you have something you are working towards, then you have the drive to work hard, be persistent and focused. In this academic journey, there will be several distractions and one needs to stay focused towards the goal!

Skip to content