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IHI researcher wins prestigious international fellowship

Nov. 10, 2019
IHI researcher wins prestigious international fellowship
Dr. Olotu stresses a point when he addressed the One Health forum in Bagamoyo recently.

IHI seasoned clinical trialist, Dr. Ally Olotu, has won the Senior EDCTP Fellowship for 2019. EDCTP stands for ‘European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership’ – a global initiative supporting senior researchers in sub-Saharan Africa to curb poverty related diseases.

Dr. Olotu, Head of the IHI Interventions and Clinical Trials (ICT) Department is among 12 recipients of the prestigious fellowship from around the world. The prize worth Euros 500,000, equivalent to TZS 1.27 billion, will run for 4 years beginning January 2020.

IHI Director of Science, Dr. Fredros Okumu, said on a Sunday evening email to all IHI staff: “Ally will use the [fellowship] financing to adapt the now successful controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) platform in Bagamoyo to support pathogen transmission studies here in Tanzania.”

Speaking over the phone from Bagamoyo after the news broke, Dr. Olotu expressed optimism that the fellowship will provide an opportunity for mentoring of young researchers in Africa. “This will be a great opportunity for me to advance my mentorship skills,” he said.

Dr. Olotu, who is based at the IHI Clinical Trials Facility in Bagamoyo added: “It’s exciting that scientifically, I will be among a few researchers in Africa applying the adapted state-of-the-art CHMI model and contribute to new knowledge as we try to study and understand more [malaria] transmission processes.”

The vast majority of IHI staff, sent congratulatory messages to Dr. Olotu on winning the fellowship. Of all Dr. Rashid Ally Khatib’s was a beauty: “I am very much encouraged by your hard work… It is not easy nowadays to win the grant of that size in malaria studies. I am sure that EDCTP has funded your idea because they trust you and the Institute that you are in a position to translate this grant into an opportunity to get Tanzania and beyond to the last mile in malaria control.”

About EDCTP program

The EDCTP program develops a pool of highly qualified senior researchers in the field of poverty related diseases (PRDs) in sub-Saharan Africa. It ensures there is continued support for the development and retention of senior fellows in the region. The program believes, this in turn will ensure supportive mentorship structure, sustainable research capacity and provide a career pathway for researchers in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Senior EDCTP Fellowship primary purpose is to support capacity development of potential sub-Saharan African research leaders to become long-term trainer of trainers and mentors for junior researchers with emphasis on hands-on research training linked to clinical trials activities.

Therefore, the fellowship seeks to support senior researchers to advance their career as world class research leaders in product development through clinical trials and closely related fields; and to equip them with skills to train and mentor junior researchers at host institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. #