Research Team Members

Tamala Banda

As a data collector, I love my work because I enjoy learning more about data collection. I also love learning how to chat with the participants in the villages. I also have learned more about research, and I like my job!

I do my work in order to know more about research and to improve my knowledge. I do my work because I love it, I love learning, and I love being part of research. Before I came to work with UTHA, I worked for GforG as a sales lady and doing bookkeeping. Now at UTHA, my responsibilities include interviewing participants using iPads, uploading data, performing quality checks, doing data entry, and scanning files.

I come from Mchezi, a big village, which is about 30 minutes by bicycle away Child Legacy. Now I live in Msundwe, the trading village near Child Legacy, and I live with my husband and my two small kids.

Venson BandaVenson Banda

Overall, I love my work as a researcher because I like that research requires that we look at and consider many different aspects to arrive at our conclusions. Research teaches a lot through information gathering. I also love the element of interaction with different levels of people from all walks of life. My work involves technological devices, and I love working with modern technology.

We are living in a world where we increasingly rely on research based information, and I love that I really understand what research is. I do my work to earn a living, to improve my knowledge, to participate in the care of local people, and to contribute of the development of my country as a citizen.

I am originally from Sosola Village, traditional authority Nsamala, in Balaka District of Malawi. I have been living in Msundwe since 2013 with my wife and kids. I have work experience of about 16 years. I worked first with the Ministry of Health, and then with the Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) as the nutritional coordinator for the hospital where I was based. Later I worked for MSF as an antiretroviral therapy care provider. Now I work with Ohio State University for the UTHA research project, based at Child Legacy International. I have a lot of experience in working with communities, in the use of technical devices, and with HIV counseling and testing. In the UTHA project, I lead the team in planning research, coordinate between the research program and the community, and supervise the collection of all research data. I have enjoyed working on writing manuscripts and presenting UTHA findings at national meetings.

Joana Banda

One of the things I love best about my work is that there is coordination between members of my team. Through this coordination and my years of working with UTHA, I have learned to be independent. I can lead my team, and bring up ideas that have a great impact both to UTHA as a project, and to the community. The other thing I love about my work is that I know how to handle people who are in our study and I am able to interact with them.

The reason why I do my work is to gain more knowledge on issues to do with research and become a better researcher then I am today. I enjoy getting involved in all sorts of new and bigger research studies. I particularly like working with numeric data, and I am learning to transcribe interviews.

I come from Dedza, Malawi (south of Lilongwe), and I grew up in Lilongwe town, where I also got my education. I lost my parents when I was young, and I was raised by my mom’s siblings. This did not pull me down – I worked hard in school because I believed in myself. I knew that this was not the end of it all, and I knew I would stand on my own one day. I studied public health at Skyway University and I am diploma holder. I also have a certificate in HIV counseling and testing from Lighthouse, Malawi.

So here I am today with UTHA! I’ve gained so much. I have experience in how to work with community members and how to welcome other people’s ideas. I have also gained good experience with data management, research ethics, and carrying out research studies that involved doing biological testing. I am a proud member of the UTHA team!

Jameson SambaniJameson Sambani

I love my work with UTHA for several reasons. I am trained as a community development officer (which is like a social worker), and I like working with the community! At the same time, through my work, I am building my capacity working with the community, working closely with a team, and handling research materials. I am learning so many things about our participants, such as cultural beliefs and norms. This work also helps me and my family in our daily well-being due to employment.

I feel joy when I am working with the community because it is my choice to work with people in rural areas in order to improve their health status and the living standard of vulnerable people.

I come from Madzi II Village, which is in traditional authority Kalolo in the Lilongwe District. I worked with the Organization for Sustainable Social Economic Development Initiative (OSSEDI) as a field officer for two years, focusing on a project about water and sanitation. I also worked for Concern Worldwide for one year, on a project of sustainable livelihood. I currently work for UTHA at Child Legacy as a research assistant and I manage the finances for the research project. I am also trained as an HIV counselor; I have done HIV testing and counseling for UTHA at people’s house and now for Child Legacy in the clinic.

Thembison Tambala

I work for UTHA as a data collector. I love my work when I am doing interviews in the field and entering data at the office. I love this work because I am getting experience with research and with technology. I am doing my work because I get paid, and also I am learning a lot through doing my job. I love this because what I learn can be used in the future.

I come from the same region where the UTHA project is based (traditional authority Kalolo in Lilongwe rural district) in a big village called Yonamu. I went to Chileka Secondary School and when I finished I moved to Msundwe. In addition to the work that I do, I drive a motorcycle!

Yonah Damianoh

As a data collector, I like to go into the field and conduct interviews. When we come back to the office, I like to upload the information. I chose to work at UTHA; if chose this over the other possibilities for me at home, which include farming and doing a small business. Working helps me to survive because of the money I am paid and thus I come to work daily. I really like working on computers, especially scanning and entering data into excel spread sheets. I like data, including working to put all of the results in order.

Originally, I came from Lilongwe District, Traditional Authority Kalolo, in the village called Chawantha. Currently I live in Msundwe trading center where I found a house to rent so that I am able to come to work on time. My experiences at home included doing all the household chores, especially those of men since I was raised in a rural area of Malawi. Now I am also doing other chores which are usually reserved for girls in the rural areas, because I live by myself, so I need to cook and wash up for myself!

Ben Belfort, former Volunteer

Cedric Butao, former Cervical Cancer Data Collector

Emily Butao, former Data Collector

Michelle Caster, MD student, Ohio State University

Elly Chemey, CLI Program Manager

Joseph Chilewani, former CLI Chief Medical Officer

Frank Yasi Diveli, former Data Collector

Allahna Esber, PhD student, Epidemiology, Ohio State University; Research Assistant

Kunuwo Fokong, PhD student, Epidemiology, Ohio State University

Sarah Garver, PhD student, Sociology, Ohio State University

Godfrey Gomani, Driver

Bryna Harrington, PhD student, Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Sarah Huber, PhD student, Social Work, Ohio State University

Jaime Iten, former Research Assistant

Enock Jumbe, former Laboratory Technician

Geofrey Kalusa, former Data Collector

Linda Kamgudu, former Data Collector

Chisomo Kamundi, former Data Collector

Mark Kasaila, former Data Collector

Fodrick Kusanani, former Data Collector

MacLucky Lamulani, former Data Collector

Kathy Lazarus, former Volunteer

Joseph Chifundo Lihoma, former Data Collector

Redson Enos Masina, Driver

Stafel M’bwerazino, former Qualitative Research Facilitator

Gladson Mopiwa, former Research Coordinator

Rodrick Mothela, former Data Collector

Ohuma Mtitima, former Data Collector

Mercy Mwakikunga, former Data Collector

Nyadzani Mwale, former BLT Data Research Assistant and Data Collector

Patrick Nampandeni, former BLT Clinician

Lydia Nkhoma, former Data Collector

Lucy Ramos, MPH student, Epidemiology, Ohio State University

Nisha Rao, MD student, Ohio State University

Trish Carr Reese, MD student, George Washington University

Mary Kate Tompkins, PhD student, Psychology, Ohio State University