Dr Stella Mpagama winner of ‘Maria Kamm Best Female Scientist Award'

19May 2022
Henry Mwangonde
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Dr Stella Mpagama winner of ‘Maria Kamm Best Female Scientist Award'

​​​​​​​TANZANIAN physician, Dr Stella Mpagama has emerged winner of the Dr Maria Kamm Best Female Scientist Award offered by the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR).

Dr Stella who works for the Kibong'oto Infectious Diseases Hospital in Kilimanjaro Region has been awarded for her role in mentoring young scholars in the area of infectious diseases, alongside leading a multi-country clinical trial project in Africa which is set to revolutionize the treatment of tuberculosis.

She received the award yesterday at the NIMR per annum joint Scientific Conference in Dar es Salaam and joins the long list of women who are inspired by Dr Maria Kamm, an icon in the education sector in Tanzania.

At the age of 45, and with over 70 publications Dr Mpagama has also been recognized for her role in developing solutions for both pragmatic and clinical challenges for infectious diseases.

Her decades-old commitment to curbing infectious diseases has stirred the community of scientists to nominate her who nominated her for the award.

Speaking after receiving the award, Dr Mpagama said she was inspired by Dr Kamm who is a champion in women empowerment.

In following her footsteps, Dr Mpagama is empowering young research scientists through training and mentorship and has contributed to translation and dissemination of research evidence. Her leadership role, however, is continental and international.

“I am also empowering others through MSc and PhD training.”

Maria Kamm, mostly known as "Mama Kamm", an educator, politician and philanthropist is known nationally for her work, and is considered a role model for women in the country.

Dr Mpagama believes the current project she is leading, in Africa; the TB clinical trial capacity development in four African countries: Gabon, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda, will promote her country in various sectors, apart from the long-term benefits of improving the health of the population.

“First of all, these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa and taking the lead in this process, we are promoting our country, we believe this will increase the number of business tourists in our country and in general visibility of Tanzania.” she said.

Tuberculosis, one of the challenging infectious diseases she is tackling, could be tamed through investing in better treatment approaches.

She said TB is curable but the treatment duration is very long taking 6-18 months and now there is a threat of drug resistance, especially multidrug resistant TB.

A consortium of four African and two European countries under the co-leadership of Dr Mpagama from Tanzania and Derek Sloan from United Kingdom have designed a regimen that optimizes the dose of rifampicin and moxifloxacin (OptiRiMoxi) intending to shorten TB treatment duration from 6 months to 4 months.

Top Stories