Samwel M. Mgunga is a social scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mwanza, Tanzania. He has served as the Project Coordinator for the “Cash Transfer Evaluation Study” and the “Attitudes towards HIV testing amongst Wealthy men” project, a study that was conducted in Mwanza. He was also a research assistant for the “Skillful Parenting and Agribusiness” project that aimed at reducing child maltreatment in rural Shinyanga and the “Transactional Sex” project that was conducted in rural and urban Mwanza. Before joining NIMR, he worked with the Humanitarian OpensStreetMap Team as an OpenStreetMap surveyor for the Community Mapping for Flood Resilience Project in Dar es Salaam.
Mgunga was born and raised in rural Mwanza where, among many people, disease and human suffering were regarded as normal. He also had this worldview when he was growing up. Now that he has awareness and having taken part in different research projects, Mgunga sees the world differently. He is interested in uncovering social forces and processes that normalize suffering and ill health. He is convinced that our first step towards preventing human suffering and ill health should be to discover social forces and processes that not only cause but normalize them. The second step should having and implementing clear and effective multisectoral policies and the final step should be taking Public Health/International Health seriously by funding, equipping and managing well the health sector.
Mgunga holds a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He plans to pursue a Master of Public Health or International Health degree and pursue a career in health research.
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