Site leaders: J. Njirammadzi, R. Bandsma, W. Voskuijl
PO Box 95, Blantyre, Malawi
+265 1 871 911
Dr. Robert Bandsma, MD, PhD is a pediatric clinician-scientist and staff Gastroenterologist and Nutritionist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto (Canada). He is an assistant professor at the Department of Nutritional Sciences of the University of Toronto and an honorary lecturer at the College of Medicine of the University of Malawi. He is also cross-appointed at the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands.
Dr. Robert Bandsma earned a PhD in Nutrition and Metabolism at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands where he also competed his MD and pediatric training. He then pursued a subspecialty Fellowship in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. After this, Dr Bandsma completed additional training in Tropical Pediatrics at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), and at the Tropical School of Medicine in Liverpool (U.K.). His accomplishments during his post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Gary Lewis, Division of Advanced Diagnostics – Metabolism at the Toronto General Research Institute, were recognized and Dr Bandsma received a Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award.
Dr. Bandsma’s clinical and basic research focuses on understanding the dysregulations in nutrient absorption and metabolism in the context of illness and severe malnutrition. Specifically, he is interested in the defective regulation of carbohydrates, lipids and bile acids. Dr. Bandsma also aims to understand intestinal dysfunction and metabolic dysadaptation in severe malnutrition. Apart from clinical trials and observational studies, his lab uses cell-based approaches or in vivo animal models to unravel mechanisms of disease and develop novel interventions to improve the outcome of malnourished children.
Dr. Wieger Voskuijl is a pediatrician originally from the Netherlands who completed a PhD at the University of Amsterdam, looking at paediatric constipation and functional non-retentive fecal soiling. After his paediatric residency, he moved to Malawi with his family and started Doctors For Malawi in 2012. This small hands-on project aimed to provide clinical care, and help educate a new generation of healthcare workers. Working fulltime (2012-2015) at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Dr. Voskuijl also carried out clinical research that focused on childhood malnutrition at the MOYO nutritional rehabilitation ward. He has successfully run larger and larger research projects and clinical trials. Over the years, Dr. Voskuijl has helped the local research team run complex projects despite logistics challenges. His research interests are mostly focused on dysfunctions of the digestive system in children with malnutrition. He studies physiological dysregulations that reduce nutrient absorption such as the insufficient production of pancreatic enzymes in children with malnutrition. He has also focused his work on diarrhea and on the forgotten field of mental health. Dr. Voskuijl now splits his time between the Emma Children’s Hospital/Academic Medical Centre at the University of Amsterdam where he works as a Consultant in Paediatrics and between the Paediatric Department at the College of Medicine (COM), University of Malawi in Blantyre, Malawi. At the COM, Dr Voskuijl is a Honorary Senior Lecturer in Paediatrics and Child Health.
The Childhood Acute Illness and Nutrition Network (CHAIN) is a multinational research group that aims to optimize the management and care of highly vulnerable children in resource-limited settings to improve survival, growth and development.