Profile of a Medical Doctor, Clinical Epidemiologist and Infectious Disease Specialist: Dr Simbarashe Takuva
Today we profile Dr Simba Takuva, a medical doctor with additional interests in the study of disease in populations and the treatment of infectious diseases. Simba is currently based in South Africa.
After completing his first university degrees in medicine and surgery, Simba undertook his internship at a major hospital in Bulawayo, leading to a position as a medical officer working with patients living with HIV and on anti-retroviral therapy. This was at a time when both the transmission and treatment of HIV, AIDS and HIV-related illnesses were undergoing rapid change in Southern Africa. The experience strengthened his interests in both clinical epidemiology and infectious diseases; leading him to complete successive postgraduate specialisations in Epidemiology and Tropical Medicine & Infectious Diseases.
Epidemiology: The study of the causes, distribution, control and prevention of disease. Epidemiologists collect and examine medical data and spot health trends to establish which diseases are on the increase and where, which treatments and other activities work and which do not.
It can be said that while many medical specialisms enable the practitioner to treat individuals very well, epidemiology* enables the identification of interventions that work across populations in a way that might not be possible at a local level.
Simba was able to combine his studies with work as an epidemiologist at the Clinical HIV Research Unit of the Helen Joseph Academic Hospital in Johannesburg before moving on to the National Health Laboratory Service.
Simba currently works for Fred Hutch as a Program Lead and Regional Medical Liaison for the HIV Trials Network. He is also involved with the universities of Pretoria and Witwatersrand. He describes his work in the following terms:
Clinical Epidemiologist / Methodologist practicing as a Safety physician / medical monitor & clinical investigator with a passion for the development of safe medicines and vaccines with a unique educational combination of Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology.
Currently leads medical monitoring of various phase I-III HIV vaccine clinical studies across sub-Saharan Africa.
Also Adjunct Faculty (Extra-ordinary Lecturer) with the Division of Clinical Epidemiology, School of Health Systems and Public Health, University of Pretoria and Joint Research Staff, Perinatal HIV Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand.
If you would like to reach out to Dr Takuva for talks, consultancy or related work, check out his profile on LinkedIn.
*We shall discuss the differences between the following terms in a future post: epidemiologist, clinical epidemiologist, medical epidemiology, pharmacoepidemiology.