The Research Team
Royal College of Surgeons
Surgical Society of Zambia
College of Medicine Malawi
Click on a name to see their profile
Coordinator and Principal Investigator: Professor Ruairí Brugha
Head of Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Professor Ruairí Brugha qualified as a doctor at UCD in 1980 and spent six years in Africa in the 1980's-1990's as a clinician, public health specialist and researcher. He completed his public health medicine training in the UK and joined the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1996 as a lecturer and then senior lecturer. He was co-editor of Health Policy and Planning from 1999 and Head of the Health Policy Unit from 2003. In 2005, he joined the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland as the first full time Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine. He conducts health policy and health systems research, mainly in Africa and Ireland. See www.ghinet.org for outputs from a multi-country network researching the effects of global initiatives on recipient country health systems, which he co-coordinates, and click here for journal publications.
Researcher in Ireland: Dr. Tracey McCauley
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, RSCI
Tracey McCauley is a Post Doctoral Researcher on the Clinical Officer Surgical Training in Africa project (COST-Africa). COST-Africa is a collaborative project between the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the Surgical Society in Zambia, the University of Malawi, and Stichting Katholieke Universiteit, Nijmegen Netherlands. Tracey obtained her doctorate in Exercise Physiology from Loughborough University, UK, as well as an MSc in Physical Activity and Health. Prior to working on COST-Africa Tracey worked in the School of Community Health Sciences, Division of Primary Care, University of Nottingham, UK working on the largest randomised control trial (RCT) in the UK: ProACt65+ the promotion of physical activity in older adults. In her current position, Tracey is involved in this 5 year RCT which will design, implement and evaluate the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and impact of a clinical officer surgical training programme at the district hospital level in Malawi and Zambia.
Researcher in Ireland: Dr. Jakub Gajewski
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, RSCI
Jakub Gajewski is a health sociologist who has previously worked at National University of Ireland in Galway at Health Promotion Research Center. Prior to this he worked as a researcher in the Mother and Child Research Institute in Warsaw. He has been involved in several population based studies, including the Health Behavior in School-aged Children study. The aim of this study is to gain insight into young people's well-being, health behaviours and their social context. This research collaboration with the WHO Regional Office for Europe is conducted every four years in 43 countries and regions across Europe and North America. He was also working as a researcher on several studies focusing on the impact of social factors on people living with chronic illness - particularly Type 1 Diabetes.
Research Manager in Ireland: Laura Méchineau Phelan, BSc, MSc, MEcon, MSc (Hons), LLB (Hons)
Division of Population Health Sciences RSCI
Laura Mechineau-Phelan is the Research Manager for the Division of Population Health Sciences of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (incorporating Epidemiology and Public Health, General Practice and Psychology). Her qualifications include: BSc, MEcon, MSc Fin, MSc (Hons) RCSI-NUI (Ireland) and more recently a LLB (Hons) in Irish Law (UWE Bristol, UK). She authorship two thesis: "Efficience des Marches Financiers" (Paris XII) and "Research Governance: Development and Implementation of Research Data Handling Policies for the Division of Population Health Sciences of the RCSI" (RCSI-NUI). She worked as a researcher for the Banque de France for which she authorship two major reports before joining a trading room as Risk Manager Assistant & Back Office Manager (commodities, currencies markets). She moved to Ireland in 1999 to become Director of an Irish company in charge of National and International operations. Since 2003 she has been involved in pre and post-awards management of over 80 projects: regulatory framework, proposal writing, coordination, reporting, financial and legal management, negotiation with National (HRB, MRCG, IHF, HSE, DoHC, IRC, IRCHSS) and International sponsors (NCI, Welcome Trust, NHS, EC: FP6, FP7, 3HP, H2020). Professional interests: General and legal management of pre (drafting) and post-award, EU frameworks of research, interface law and research and research resolution / negotiaiton of complex issues.Strong track record: Since 2006 over 80 research applications, over 50 medium and large scales awards. Drafting, reviewing and negotiating over 90 legal documents (MoA, MoU, CA, RA, NDA).
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Principal Investigator in Zambia: Dr. John Sivah Kachimba
Consultant Urological Surgeon & Medical Superintendent, Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital
Honorary Lecturer in Urology, Department of Surgery, University of Zambia, School of Medicine
John Kachimba was appointed Medical Superintendent of the Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital in August 2011. Prior to this appointment, he had served as Clinical Head of the Department of Surgery at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka from 2005 until June 2011, when he was appointed Chair of the Taskforce of the new Lusaka General Hospital (later renamed after Zambia’s third Republican President the late Levy Patrick Mwanawasa SC) Committee. He is Honorary Lecturer in Urology with the University of Zambia School Of Medicine, an appointment he has held since 1999. For twenty years, he has served the Ministry of Health in various capacities that have also included Consultant Urologist. On completion of Graduate training, he spent a year at the William Beaumont Hospital in Michigan as the Ministrelli Fellow in Urology working with the world-renowned Urology research team led by Dr Ananias Diokno. He is a Fellow of the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa.
His professional career outside of academia includes advocating for the advancement of the art and science of Surgery in Zambia through the Surgical Society of Zambia, which he served as President from 2005 to 2011. He has played a pivotal role in the resurgence of the Medical Journal of Zambia as Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Editorial Board of International Urology and Nephrology from 2004 and was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Ghana Medical Journal in 2010. He has written on tropical diseases and surgery in Africa helping draw attention to the neglected tropical diseases that are prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. He has encouraged writing among the medical fraternity through his role in the African Journal Partnership Project, running medical writing workshops in Zambia. He is active in a variety of civic programmes and serves as a Board Member of the Lusaka Health Institute, a not-for-profit organisation that provides nursing training to bolster the numbers of healthcare workers in Zambia.
Investigator in Zambia: Dr. Robert Zulu
Surgical Society of Zambia
Dr Robert Zulu graduated from University of Zambia in 1991 with a MB ChB. Later he worked for Malcolm Watson Hospital in Mufulira, Zambia. In 1998-1999, he spent time in Liverpool for a surgical experience. He proceeded for a Masters degree in Medicine (Surgery) in 2005 from University of Zambia and a Fellowship in Surgery a year later from the College of Surgeons of East Central and Southern Africa. Robert was awarded best graduating student in Surgery (Masters in Medicine) from the University of Zambia and Rahima Dawood award for best graduating student in General surgery by the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa. He is currently working as a Consultant Surgeon at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka and Consultant at Chainama College of Health Sciences. He is an Honorary Lecturer, School of Medicine, University of Zambia, Part time lecturer, Cavendish University, School of Medicine. He is also Co-Principle Investigator Shang Ring RCT for Male circumcision, Co-Principle Investigator for Increasing Availability and Acceptability for male circumcision.
Researcher in Zambia: Mweene Cheelo
Surgical Society of Zambia
Mweene Cheelo obtained a Master of Science degree in epidemiology from the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2013. Before pursing his Master’s degree he was national consultant for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) project with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) from April 2009 to October 2010. Currently he is Research Officer for the COST-Africa cluster Randomized Control Trial which is designed to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of using medical licentiates specially trained in surgical techniques.
Principal Investigator in Malawi: Professor Eric Borgstein
Trustee of the University of Malawi, School of Medicine
Professor and Paediatric Surgeon at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Blantyre
Co-Principal Investigator in Malawi: Prof Nyengo Chiswakhata Mkandawire
BMBS; FRCS (Eng); MCh (ORTH); FCS (ECSA)
Associate Professor, Head of Surgery, College of Medicine, Malawi
Born 17th January 1964. Undertook medical training at Flinders University of South Australia, graduating in 1991. Returned and worked in Malawi from 1992 to 1994. Went to the United Kingdom, Mersey Region for Orthopaedic Surgery training from 1994 to 1999. Returned to Malawi in 1999 as lecturer in College of Medicine. Became head of surgery in 2004. Progressed through the ranks and promoted to Assoc Prof in 2007. Academic and clinical areas of interest; spine surgery, medical education and professionalism.
Researcher in Malawi: Gerald Dalitso Mwapasa, BSc; MSc (LSHTM)
College of Medicine, Malawi
Born 29th November 1978. Bachelor of Science degree in Statistics and Demography at Chancellor College of University of Malawi in 2003. Worked for University of North Carolina Research Project in Malawi 2003 to 2006, Research Support Centre of College of Medicine University of Malawi 2006-2008. Undertook MSc in Clinical Trials at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine from 2008 to 2010. Returned to Malawi in 2011 to work for the COST Africa project.
Principal Investigator in the Netherlands: Dr. Rob Baltussen
Coordinator Nijmegen International Center for Health Systems Research and Education (NICHE),
Department of Promary and Community Care, Radbound University of Nijmegen Medical Centre (RUNMC)
Dr. Rob Baltussen is an economist specialised in international health economics, with a PhD in costing and cost-effectiveness analysis. He has extensive field work experience in around 25 countries in Africa and Asia, and worked as a senior health economist at the World Health Organization. At WHO, he was responsible for the development of WHO guidelines on cost-effectiveness analysis. At present, he is coordinator of NICHE - the Nijmegen International Center for Health Systems Research and Education, located at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in the Netherlands. NICHE focuses on international health systems research, more specifically on improving access to health care for poor people, cost and cost-effectiveness analysis of SRH and HIV/AIDS, and multi-criteria priority setting. Rob Baltussen is editor-in-chief of the journal Cost-Effectiveness and Resource Allocation and has published more than 70 international papers in Medline-indexed journals.
Researcher in the Netherlands: Dr. Leon Bijlmakers
Nijmegen International Centre for Health Systems Research and Education (NICHE),
Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud University of Nijmegen Medical Centre (RUNMC)
Leon Bijlmakers’ professional interest is in health policy and health systems research and development. Having worked as a primary health care educator in Burkina Faso in the mid-1980s, as a trainer-cum-researcher with WHO, UNICEF and the Community Medicine Department of the Medical School in Zimbabwe, and subsequently as a freelance public health consultant in Vietnam, he was a consultant with ETC Foundation in his home country The Netherlands for over 14 years. In this capacity he trained health professionals in various countries in small-scale operational research and he advised Governments, donor agencies and NGOs on health programmes and health sector support systems. He takes a special interest in sector-wide approaches towards health development and sector reviews. Leon holds an MSc in Human Nutrition and Public Health from Wageningen University, and a PhD from the University of Amsterdam based on a thesis entitled 'Structural adjustment, source of structural adversity - Socio-economic stress, health and child nutritional status in Zimbabwe' (2003). In May 2012, Leon took up the position of senior researcher in International Health at the Nijmegen International Centre for Health Systems Research and Education (NICHE), located at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands.