Mary Mwanyika-Sando, MD, spearheaded improvements in maternal and child health programs in Dar es Salaam, rolling out anti-retroviral treatment in dozens of clinics as part of a campaign that became a model for many other sub-Saharan African countries.
One key to a healthy future for Africa, Mwanyika-Sando says, is involving the women patients themselves in their own care and treatment.
“I have learned that when a woman is educated about her and her family’s health, there is a ripple effect; first to her neighbours, then to her community, until the entire country is healthier and stronger.”
Currently completing her Master of Public Health (MPH) in global health and population at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Mwaynika-Sando has also played a key role in protocol writing and preparation for the implementation of various research study projects, including a randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, feasibility, and acceptability of two WHO PMTCT regimens and a community health care worker intervention to improve antenatal clinic and PMTCT uptake and retention.
Mwanyika-Sando has worked with as a physician treating HIV patients and later assumed a dual role of Medical Monitor for HIV/AIDS clinical services within 50 supported sites and for a U.S.-funded Trial of Vitamins (TOV3) study on adult HIV patients initiating ART conducted within seven of the largest HIV clinics in the region.
Mwanyika-Sando is an active member of various national medical technical working groups in Tanzania and she also served as the publicity secretary for the Medical Women Association of Tanzania (MEWATA) from 2007-2011, a champion organization for breast cancer screening campaigns in Tanzania.