Professor Kamija Phiri receives the EDCTP Scientific Leadership Prize

10 November 2023

Professor Kamija Phiri of the Malawian, Kamuzu University of Health Sciences in Malawi, is the recipient of the EDCTP Scientific Leadership Prize 2023. The prize recognizes scientists who have made significant achievements in their field and will continue to become leaders in their research field. The prize consists of a recognition trophy and a cash prize of €20,000. The ceremony took place at the Eleventh EDCTP Forum in Paris, France, on 9 November 2023 and was presented by Dr Thomas Nyirenda, EDCTP Strategic Partnerships & Capacity Development Manager and Head of Africa Office.

Prof. Phiri leads the Training & Research Unit of Excellence (TRUE), an independent research organisation, which he established in 2018 with several field sites in southern Malawi. This self-sustaining unit supports research and postgraduate training. His research interests are the control of malaria and anaemia in children and pregnant women. His research has supported 22 PhDs.

Prof. Phiri’s largest scientific achievement has been the discovery of the high post discharge mortality in children recovering from severe anaemia, the development of a health strategy that prevents this mortality and later driving WHO policy change to recommend it to all countries where malaria is endemic. This strategy of providing post discharge malaria chemoprevention is one of the newest WHO malaria control strategies and decreases post discharge mortality by 77% and re-admissions by 58% in this vulnerable patient group. He is currently working with Malawi MoH in conducting implementation research to support the scaling-up of this promising strategy in the country. Through lessons in Malawi, he plans to share these with partner countries (Kenya and Uganda) of the PDMC Consortium which he leads.

He also has an interest in the interaction between iron and infection has led him to study the effect of iron supplementation on HIV and malaria. Currently, he is leading clinical trials assessing the use of IV iron supplementation in pregnancy funded by BMGF.

Kamija is widely published and includes articles in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet. He is a recipient of several awards, including the 2012 Merle A. Sandee Health Leadership Award in Africa. He sits on the Malawi National Malaria Advisory Board which advises MoH on all matters related to malaria control. He is/has been a member of several international organizations including USAID HEME working group, WHO committees, UKRI, DFID and Wellcome Trust research review groups.

Visit the EDCTP website for more information about the EDCTP Scientific Research Leadership Prize.