The Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU) based at the National Institute for Medical Research campus in Mwanza, Tanzania is a collaborative research unit of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the National Institute for Medical Research. The mission of the Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit is to contribute to improving health through the development and evaluation of interventions against HIV and other health problems by conducting research, including clinical trials, to the highest international standards; to enhance the capacity to carry out such research in Tanzania and the East African region; and to contribute to the translation of research findings into health policy.
MITU is currently collaborating with other international research partners to implement a 5 year clinical trial to test dose reductions, safety and immunogenicity of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to prevent cervical cancer. The study is being conducted with approximately 900 healthy female volunteers. The Unit is now inviting applications from motivated and suitably qualified candidates to fill the position of clinical trial pharmacist. Other HPV vaccine research studies may commence in the next year.
Job Position: Pharmacist
- To ensure proper preparation, handling, cold chain maintenance and storage of vaccines according to the study protocol, standard operating procedures and Good Clinical Practice.
- To manage temperature monitoring and deal with temperature out of range (TOR) events.
- To perform dispensing and accurate, timely accountability of study vaccines and provide reports as needed to the study investigators, sponsor, monitors or regulatory authority. (this may involve travel to study sites within Mwanza region as well as the study clinic).
- To ensure that all pharmacy-related activities are implemented according to the study protocol and good clinical practice.
- To ensure compliance with all aspects of pharmaco-vigilance for the clinical trial, including liaison with the regulatory authorities where required.
- To prepare and update trial pharmacy manuals, standard operating procedures and tally sheets for vaccine handling, vaccine accountability and other tasks as required in conjunction with the trial sponsor, investigators and trial manager.
- To ensure correct pharmacy waste disposal procedures are in place and to organise and supervise disposal of unused or expired vaccines and drugs when required.
- To stocktake and ensure other medications prescribed by study clinicians for study participants are stored and dispensed appropriately.
- To advise on purchase of locally available medications
- To assist with procurement of pharmacy-related equipment (such as temperature monitoring equipment) and its installation.
- To carry out registration tasks at the study clinic when required.
- To carry out Quality Control and Quality Assurance on study procedures and documents as per the quality plan.
- To assist with maintenance of the trial Investigator Site File when required.
- To assist with communications relating to the health costing study.
- To report to the trial manager and study investigators, work with the wider clinical trial team and attend team meetings.
- To perform any other trial-related activities as may be requested by the investigators.
- A degree in pharmacy from a recognized University.
- At least two years practical working experience as a pharmacist.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills in English.
- Experience in pharmacy activities for clinical research studies.
- Experience in vaccine handling, maintenance of cold chain and managing temperature excursions.
- Excellent numeracy skills and attention to detail.
- Computer literacy including demonstrable proficiency with Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
- Willingness to work outside of normal working hours on occasions as the work demands.
- Willingness to undertake other research activities within the team as required.
- Substantial experience in clinical trials or other clinical research, particularly studies/trials of vaccines.
- Knowledge of cervical cancer, HPV and HPV vaccines.
- Previous GCP training.
- Experience in applying pharmaceutical regulatory and safety requirements.
- Experience of communicating or liaising with the Tanzanian regulatory authority for clinical trials.
Interested applicants should send an application letter explaining in English why they are interested in applying for this post which also indicates the earliest date they would be available to start in the role, a detailed curriculum vitae and the names of two referees by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on 09th July 2021. Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted for interview.
On 11th May 2021, a group of 10 second year undergraduate sociology students from St. Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT), Mwanza branch visited our unit as part of the study tour. These students’ interest was to understand the contribution of the Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU) in solving public health problems.
After an official introduction and tour of MITU facilities, the group was invited for a discussion led by three scientists within the unit: Dr Elialilia Okello (Senior Social Scientist), Dr Kenneth Makata (Public Health Specialist) and Onike Mcharo (Social Scientist). The discussion adhered to proper COVID-19 preventive measures. During the discussion, students were given information about a range of research studies conducted in the Unit.
The students had a chance to ask questions to the researchers about MITU’s contribution in addressing public health problems. At the end of the discussion, the students provided positive feedback on their understanding of MITU’s roles and its contribution towards solving public health problems in the region.
Makata K, Ensink J, Ayieko P, Hansen C, Sichalwe S, Mngara J, Mcharo O, Mazigo H, Seni J, Dreibelbis R, Rockowitz S, Okello E, Grosskurth H, Kinung’hi S, Kapiga S.
BMC Med. 2021 May 21;19(1):125.
Women’s Narratives about COVID-19, Preventive Practices and Sources of Information in Northwestern Tanzania.
Mchome Z, Mshana G, Peter E, Aloyce D, Kapiga S, Stöckl H.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021;18(10):5261,
Gerry Mshana, Zaina Mchome, Diana Aloyce, Esther Peter, Saidi Kapiga and Heidi Stöckl.
Nsanya MK, Ayieko P, Hashim R, Mgema E, Fitzgerald D, Kapiga S, Peck RN.
Sci Rep. 2021 Apr 16; 11(1):8397.
Hahn JA, Murnane PM, Vittinghoff E, Muyindike WR, Emenyonu NI, Fatch R, Chamie G, Haberer JE, Francis JM, Kapiga S, Jacobson K, Myers B, Couture MC, DiClemente RJ, Brown JL, So-Armah K, Sulkowski M, Marcus GM, Woolf-King S, Cook RL, Richards VL, Molina P, Ferguson T, Welsh D, Piano MR, Phillips SA, Stewart S, Afshar M, Page K, McGinnis K, Fiellin DA, Justice AC, Bryant K, Saitz R.
Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2021 Apr 10.
The Mwanza Intervention Trials Unit (MITU) based at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) campus in Mwanza, (Tanzania) is a collaborative research unit of NIMR and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). MITU’s mission is to contribute to improving health through the development and evaluation of interventions against HIV and other health problems by conducting research, including clinical trials, to the highest international standards; to enhance the capacity to carry out such research in Tanzania and the East African region; and to contribute to the translation of research findings into health policy.
MITU, in collaboration with LSHTM and five other African institutional partners, is part of the ENTRANT training fellowship programme which seeks to develop a critical mass of infectious disease epidemiologists to work with the Ministries of health and their academic and research partners, to prevent and respond to emerging outbreaks and public health emergencies. The programme, funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), will support 15 African scientists over two academic years (2021-2023) to complete a one-year full-time MSc degree in Epidemiology at the LSHTM. At least two fellows will be from Tanzania. In addition to the MSc taught courses, fellows will also complete an LSHTM short- course on pandemic preparedness, response and research led by members of the Uk Public Health Rapid Support Team (UK-PHrSt) and a three-month MSc research project carried out in Tanzania.
The other African institutional partners collaborating in this consortium are:
- National Health Laboratory (NHL), Botswana
- Haramaya University (HU), Ethiopia
- University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya
- MRC/UVRI & LSHTM Uganda Research Unit (MUL), Uganda
- ZAMBART Project Limited, Zambia
Eight places are available for 2021-22 academic year and each fellowship includes:
- 2021-22 tuition fees (at the overseas fee rate)
- Stipend (living allowance) of £16,800
- Return air travel to London
- An allowance for MSc research project expenses
- Support to attend conferences and networking events after completion of the MSc
To be eligible, candidates must:
a) Be a resident and national of Tanzania.
b) Hold a minimum of an upper second-class honours degree from a reputable university in Tanzania or other countries, or a registerable qualification in medicine, dentistry or veterinary medicine.
c) Be working with either the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children or at the Institutes of Public Health at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), and Catholic University Health and Allied Sciences (CUHAS) or School of Public Health at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College (KCM college), or Research Institutes at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR),Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) and Kilimanjaro Christian Research Institute (KCRI) or at the University of Dodoma. Applicant employer will need to provide a letter of support guaranteeing that the fellow will be released from work commitments for the full one-year period of the MSc, and that the fellow’s post or an equivalent role will be available for them to return to following completion of their studies. The letter should also express support for the fellow to have protected time (recommended one day per week for a 10-week period) to undertake the pandemic short course following the MSc.
d) Have at least 2 years and less than 15 years’ full-time equivalent work experience since completion of their first degree.
e) Be able to meet English language requirements for the LSHTM MSc Epidemiology specified here https://www.lshtm.ac.uk/sites/default/files/english language requirements policy.pdf
f) Be committed to continue working as a public health practitioner in Tanzania for a minimum of two years after completing their studies.
How to apply:
The online application system includes a personal statement section. Candidates should use this section to give further details on their current role in public health and how they will be in a position to contribute to public health activities and disease outbreak preparedness and response activities following completion of the MSc. They should also set out their commitment to remain working as a public health practitioner in Tanzania for a minimum of two years after completing their studies.
Documents that must be uploaded as part of the application are listed below:
- Curriculum vitae
- Academic transcript
- Letter of support from current employer, including the information specified in point c) above.
Applications received after the closing date will not be considered. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed via Zoom.
Support will not be given as a supplement to other funding, nor to students who have funding from other sources.
Find out more about the MSc in Epidemiology.
Informal enquiries concerning the MSc can be made to the Programme Directors.
Find out more about visa requirements.