Leading Tanzanian Researcher Named Among 100 Most Influential Africans

The Director General of Tanzania’s National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) Prof. Said Aboud, and a leading virologist who was instrumental in guiding the nation’s scientific response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been named among the 100 Most Influential Africans for 2024.

Aboud was named by the Accra-based Pan-African organization The Business Executive Group, which honoured 100 individuals across the continent for their exceptional contributions to Africa’s socio-economic, political, and cultural landscape. The winners were selected through a rigorous process involving public nominations, verification, and assessment by an expert panel of judges. The award was organized in collaboration with International Business Council Africa and African Chamber for Trade (ACT).

He expressed his thanks to the Tanzanian government for supporting health research. “It is a great honour to receive this award,” he said in an exclusive interview with MedicoPRESS, emphasizing the pivotal role played by President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s administration in fostering an environment conducive to scientific advancement in Tanzania.

Aboud’s inclusion in this esteemed group highlights his outstanding achievements in leading Tanzania’s premier medical research institution, leveraging his background in HIV/AIDS research, as well as his pivotal role in shaping his country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Director General of NIMR, Prof. Aboud has spearheaded numerous initiatives to advance healthcare research in Tanzania. With over two decades of experience in HIV research, Prof. Aboud’s expertise and leadership is palpable in the country’s research community, policymaking and communities that are being transformed by research.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prof. Aboud headed various public health committees and led a team of scientists under the Special National Committee for Evaluation of COVID-19 Pandemic in Tanzania. Their 19-point report, released in May 2021, advised the government to scale up public health measures and adopt a science-based response to the pandemic.

Also read: Prof Aboud’s Meteoric Rise To The Helm Of NIMR

But he has been an all-time researcher. Before he took over NIMR as Director General, in October 2022, Prof. Aboud’s impact in research, teaching and leadership was already being felt in key Tanzanian institutions. He served as Acting Director of Planning, Finance, and Administration at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS). His extensive experience in clinical research and management, coupled with his expertise in HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and antimicrobial resistance, have, over the years, made him an ideal candidate to lead the country’s medical research community.

Aboud’s research in HIV/AIDS spans over 20 years and encompasses various aspects of the disease, including diagnosis, disease monitoring, drug resistance, and vaccinology. His contributions to the field have been instrumental in advancing HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention efforts in Tanzania. He has published widely in high-impact factor journals, and his work has been awarded by the Ministry for Education, Science and Technology. 

He was instrumental in establishing early HIV testing laboratories in Dar es Salaam, and in other parts of Tanzania. He also played a key role in the introduction of CD4 count and viral load testing for monitoring HIV disease progression and treatment response. This significantly improved the management and care of people living with HIV in Tanzania.

The latest development, where he has been named among 100 Most Influential Africans, comes at a time when he is working on his vision to transform NIMR into a more impactful institution by focusing on research, policy engagement, and community outreach. He aims to strengthen NIMR’s capacity to address pressing health challenges facing Tanzania and the wider African continent.

The award ceremony, held on May 30, 2024, in Harare, Zimbabwe, was a grand affair attended by awardees, government officials, diplomats, community leaders, and international media. Prof. Aboud received a plaque and citation, symbolizing his remarkable achievements and influence.

MEDICOPRESS is a Non-Governmental Organization that promotes Medical Journalism, Professional Development and Public Health Education. It’s a network of medical scientists and journalists who believe in the dissemination of accurate medical/ health inform information in the process of imparting positive changes in the community.


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