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Dr Julie Makani
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Dr. Julie Makani: The Sickle Cell Researcher Making A Difference in Africa

Dr. Julie Makani: The Sickle Cell Researcher Making A Difference in Africa

Julie Makani may have started out as just a young woman trying to make a difference in her community, but she quickly found herself at the forefront of a national healthcare issue. After realizing the devastation of sickle cell disease in her country, Makani made it her mission to bring attention and resources to this often overlooked public health problem in Tanzania.

Through tireless advocacy and experimentation, she was able to develop a low-cost treatment for sickle cell disease that significantly improved patients’ quality of life. Makani’s dedication and ingenuity serve as an inspiration not only to women everywhere but also to anyone seeking to make a positive impact on their community and the world. She reminds us that one person truly can make a difference which is why she is today’s Smart Girl!

Early Life & Education Of Julie Makani

Julie Makani was born in the 1970s in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She attended a local primary school in Arusha, Tanzania. After graduating high school, Makani trained at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to become a medical doctor. After winning a commonwealth scholarship in 1997, Makani went on to study for her post-graduate studies at Hammersmith Hospital, Royal Postgraduate Medical school, University of London.

She went on to work at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, the University of Oxford as a Research fellow and later received a four-year Ph.D. training fellowship from the Wellcome Trust in 2003 to study sickle cell disease in Tanzania. She managed to complete her Ph.D. in the clinical epidemiology of sickle cell disease.

An Inspiring Career In Biomedical Research

In 2004, Makani established the Sickle Cell Disease program at Muhimbili University- her alma mater. An estimated eight to eleven thousand children per year are born with sickle-cell disease in Tanzania. Makani focused on examining the role of anemia and fetal hemoglobin in influencing disease burden in sickle Cell Disease.

Makani and some of her colleagues have developed a biomedical research and healthcare programme, a center with one of the largest Sickle cell cohorts in the world to tackle factors influencing disease burden in Sickle Cell Disease.

It is easy to see why Makani is an inspiration to women everywhere, as she is also the co-founder of the Sickle-Cell Foundation of Tanzania. Her main focus is to use sickle cell disease as a model to implement scientific research and healthcare solutions in Africa that have local and global significance.

Dr. Julie Makani – Achievements and Awards

Makani was awarded the Royal Society Pfizer Award in 2011 in recognition of her impressive work and research in Sickle Cell Disease in Africa. The award will be used for research to document the different genetic, molecular, and environmental mechanisms of Sickle Cell Disease.

Makani was also recognized as BBC’s 100 Women in 2019. She is an inspiration to women around the globe as she works towards healthcare solutions in Africa. Makani’s story serves as a reminder to young women that anything is possible with courage and passion.

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Founder, Smart Girl, Survivor, Champion of womens rights and kids rights


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