On Saturday, 16th March 2019, Makerere University Environmental Health Students’ Association (MUEHSA) joined hands with the Uganda Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships Alumni Association to carry out a clean-up exercise in Nakulabye Zone 9 (Kiwuunya Slum). MUEHSA is an association of students who study Environmental Health, a programme that is housed at Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH). MUEHSA did this together with other partners like the Kampala Capital City Authority and the Integrated Community Health Initiative Uganda. The activity was carried out together with community members. The students also used the opportunity to share health messages with community members. This clean-up was organized as part of activities to celebrate the Commonwealth day in Uganda. The celebrations for this day started on Monday 11th March 2019 with a panel discussion on employability for university students at Makerere University Main Hall which was officiated by Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs.

MUEHSA regularly gets involved in such drives because of the association’s firm belief in the prevention of diseases and promotion of health. “This starts from the environment where people live,” explained Rawlence Ndejjo, one of the patrons of the group. He went on to explain that such activities have always been a part of MUEHSA since the association was conceived in 2003.

Ferdinand Treasure Kimunyu, a student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree of Environmental Health Sciences (BEHS) in second year at Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) was one of the participants in the cleaning and health education drive. This is what he had to say; 

“The day was a success to me personally. The Kiwuunya slum community was so willing to participate and work hand-in-hand with our team. Giving back to the community and preserving the cleanliness was my best achievement of that day,” Kimunyu said.

 Students cleaning drainage channels. One of the student members of MUEHSA, Namakula, who participated in the drive said the day did not come with a clear-cut method of making sure the place is clean. There was a lot of improvisation and flexibility to ensure that the job got done.

Genevieve Nannyonyo, also a student at MakSPH in her second year and a member of MUEHSA remarked that she was taken aback by the simplicity and togetherness of the people who participated in the cleaning drive. “They came together for the common cause of extending a hand and contributing to the health and wellbeing of the community.”

For Lydia Nabawanuka Namakula, the exercise was an extension of the theory that is learnt in class. “From this clean-up, I have realized that flexibility is key because not every theoretical principle applies in the field,” the second year student said explaining further that by flexibility she was referring to improvisation while in the middle of a task in order to complete it and sacrificing.

 

This students’ association, MUEHSA, where these learners all belong also participates in the celebration of important Environmental Health days. This is done through holding public seminars and exhibitions, involvement in nationwide health activities such as outbreak investigations. MUEHSA also organizes and gets involved in annual conferences. This year, the association will be hosting the annual IFEH/MUEHSA conference. The international conference will take place in April, 2019. More information about it can be obtained on their website https://ifehmuehsa2019.musph.ac.ug/. IFEH stands  for International Federtion of Environmental Health.

 

 

 

Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) on Wednesday 27th March 2019, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Health Organization (WHO). The MoU aimed at strengthening the relationship and providing an organized framework of collaboration (on an institutional basis) between the two parties. The agreement is the first of its kind between WHO and MakSPH. In Uganda, MakSPH is the leading institutions in public health research and training.

According to Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the WHO, Country Representative to Uganda, the MoU stipulates the roles and responsibilities of Makerere University School of Public Health and World Health Organization in promoting safe, effective and affordable research products; capacity building and community service to the public.

L-R, Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the WHO, Country Representative to Uganda,Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, Dean School of Public Health, David Sserwadda, School of Public Health and Mr. Mwoga Joseph, World Health Organisation

L-R, Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the WHO, Country Representative to Uganda,Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, Dean School of Public Health, David Sserwadda, School of Public Health and Mr. Mwoga Joseph, World Health Organisation

The two parties will collaborate in the following areas;

  • Planning and implementation of joint research projects between WHO and MakSPH in priority public health areas, including communicable and non-communicable diseases, health system strengthening  
  • Sharing information and knowledge between the two institutions, within acceptable institutional structures
  • Supporting training and research programmes for the World Health Organization and Vice versa;
  • Strengthening networking opportunities between the two institutions
  •  Holding Quarterly meeting to discuss issues of mutual public health importance and research priorities; and
  • Whenever necessary and appropriate, jointly hold policy dialogues with stakeholders

Prof. Wanyenze highly commended the already existing relationship between MakSPH and WHO and looked forward to a fruitful collaboration between the two institutions. On behalf of the School and Makerere University, Prof. Wanyenze pledged to work hand in hand with WHO and Ministry of Health to promote the attainment of better health for the people of Uganda and beyond through Public Health Training, Research and Community service.

Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, Dean School of Public Health signing the MoU. On Left; is the WHO, Country Representative to Uganda Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam.

Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, Dean School of Public Health signing the MoU. On Left; is the WHO, Country Representative to Uganda Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam.

“We have done good work with WHO and Ministry of Health but it has been on an individual basis. Having a collaboration at this institutional level provides an opportunity to jointly identify the priorities in research, training and community engagement,” she said.

She was happy to note that the MoU signed, presents the School of Public Health with a lot of opportunities to enrich their research agenda.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding climaxed with a Seminar on the current and future Global Health Practices for World Health Organization and the Role of the Academia by Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam. Held in the Davis Lecture theatre, the well-attended session by staff and students of Makerere University College of Health Sciences, provided an insight on the Health Sector Development Plan (HDP) 2016-2020, WHO’s Country Cooperation Strategy 2016-2020, 13th WHO Global Programme of Work and Country prioritization 2019-2023.

Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam on the current and future Global Health Practices for World Health organization and the Role of the Academia.

Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam on the current and future Global Health Practices for World Health Organization and the Role of the Academia.

Dr Woldemariam encouraged researchers and academicians to always focus on results and evidence-oriented research as well as training and building capacity on health among publics. “Ensure that what your government or organization does; is helping the lives of people. Demand for results and demand for evidence,” he said  

The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.


Article by Mak Public Relations Office

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe on Friday, 15th March 2019 met with staff and students of the School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences (CHS), who are organizing the 3rd International Federation of Environmental Health and 16th Makerere University Environmental Health Students' Association (MUEHSA) Conference. The event is due to take place from 9th to 11th April 2019 at Hotel Africana, Kampala Uganda.

The conference, organised under the theme; Environmental Health: A Cornerstone to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, will bring together various stakeholders from around the world to stimulate multidisciplinary and multisectoral collaboration in environmental health central to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); particularly SDG 3 and SDG 6.

Some of the stakeholders lined up for the conference include;

Keynote Speakers

•    Dr. David T. Dyjack, Executive Director of the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), USA

•    Dr. Gwen Collman, Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Division of Extramural Research and Training

•    Dr. Tracy Morse, Environmental Health Practitioner and research fellow

•    Godson Ana, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Speakers

•    Dr. Selvanathan Mudaly, President of the International Federation of Environmental Health and the President of the South African Institute of Environmental Health

•    Mr. Emmery Patrice Mbaha, President of the Environmental Health Workers’ Association of Uganda (EHWAU)

•    Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, Professor and Dean of the Makerere University School of Public Health

•    Prof. Charles Ibingira, Professor and Principal Makerere University College of Health Sciences

•    Jerry Chaka, Chairperson of the Africa Group of the International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH) and Director of Environmental Health services, City of Ekurhuleni, South Africa

•    Dr. Linda Gibson, Associate Professor, School of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), UK

•    George Oryongatum, President of the Makerere University Environmental Health Students’ Association (MUEHSA)

In his remarks, Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Organising Committee for a good job in organising the Conference so far and looked forward to a successful conference.

Download the conference poster

The US Ambassador to Uganda, HE Deborah Malac, has said communities handle outbreaks better when they have locally trained personnel amongst them to manage the outbreak.

She told the audience about her experience in Liberia when the Ebola epidemic broke out and the country had no internal capacity to handle the outbreak. “The Liberians were so inspired when the Ugandans came in to help out with the outbreak.  I saw first-hand the purposes of investing in capacity. There is no substitute for people in that community being able to go out and help their community because they understand that community. The community is capable when they are trained,” she said.

H.E Deborah Malac, speaking at the graduation ceremony of 11 students in public health

The US Ambassador was speaking at a function where the Ministry of Health was graduating 11 students from the Public Health Fellowship Programme (PHFP). This programme is a partnership between Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) and the Ministry of Health and it is funded by the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Her Excellency Malac also informed the audience that her country is committed to working with countries to help them develop the capacity. “We cannot commit 100% to what our partnership will look like but we take public health very seriously,” she said.

Fellows on the rigorous two-year fulltime programme are admitted on the basis of having a masters’ degree in a medical background. Dr. Innocent Nkonwa was among the graduands from the prestigious Public Health Fellowship Programme (PHFP). In a conversation during their graduation at Golden Tulip Hotel in Kampala, the doctor had only wonderful things to say about the fellowship.

Dr. Innocent Nkonwa at the graduation

 “I have gained skills in responding to public health emergencies and emerging outbreaks. I was part of the team that responded to the Marburg outbreak in Kween District. I have also been part of the team that has been responding to the sporadic cholera outbreaks in the country among other skills. I also learnt that some alerts to disease outbreaks come through rumours or the least expected sources like a non-medical person or through a religious leader. I have learnt that it is important to go and verify,” the Dr. Nkonwa, who also has a Masters in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and a Masters of Public Health Leadership.

Just like Dr. Nkonwa, all the other 10 graduands had only wonderful things to say about the programme. Dr. Susan Kizito who won the prestigious award of the Most Outstanding Fellow said joining this fellowship was the best career decision she has ever made. Dr. Kizito is a medical doctor who has a Masters in International Health from the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health in Berlin. She worked in HIV/TB care for five years in Nsambya Hospital before joining the two-year fellowship programme.

Ambassador Malac (second left) reads from a plaque that was awarded to Dr. Kizito (second right) who was voted as the most outstanding fellow by her colleagues

“I have been able to publish two scientific papers in influential papers and I have 7 in the pipeline. The programme pushes you to achieve and it is the best decision I have made in my professional life.”

Speaking at the function, Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze, the Dean of MakSPH said she was so proud of the programme because it continues the relationship that MakSPH has with CDC and Ministry of Health. More so, the fellowship has had tremendous achievements; in 3 years, 100 investigations have been carried out and 250 projects have been implemented.

Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze speaking at the function.

“We need to track all these findings so that we can get the due recognition that this program deserves,” Prof. Rhoda said. She thanked the stakeholders of the programme who include Uganda Virus Research Institute, AFENET (Africa Field Epidemiology Network), World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health.

PHFP staff pose with the guest at the graduation. Top row, third right, is the US Ambassador to Uganda, HE Deborah Malac. Next to her on the left is Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze the Dean of Makerere University School of Public Health.

We are also thankful that we have had very dedicated drivers. We have not had any accidents from all the projects done yet it’s a lot of work, the Dean said.  She said also appreciated the mentors n the host institutions. A graduate Fellow herself from the CDC Fellowship, Prof. Wanyenze  congratulated the gradunads and encouraged them to ‘keep committed, stay focused and serve with a difference.’

Representing the Ministry of Health at the graduation Dr. Patrick Tusiime, the Commissioner of Health Services (National Disease Control) at the Ministry of Health and the Co-Director of PHFP congratulated the graduands and noted that they have positively added to the numbe of experts in the country in the area of emergency responders.

Dr. Patrick Tusiime, second left top row, the Commissioner Health Services and the Program Co-Director of the Public Health Fellowship Program. He was posing with the dignitaries at the graduation and other mentors of the Fellows that attended the function.

The Executive Director of AFENET, Dr. Chima Ohuabunwo, was present at the function as well said that much as the Ministry of Health might not be able to retain all the trainees, they can be called upon to serve in the neighbouring countries or any other part of the continent as the need arises.

The Executive Director of AFENET, Dr. Ohuanbunwo speaking at the graduation

Dr. Yonas Tegen Woldemariam, the WHO Country Representative noted that Africa is having the most severe of outbreaks with an average of 250 outbreaks per year. He then told the graduands that Africa will be looking to their expertise in becoming more efficient and effective in responding to outbreaks. Encouraging them to not to stop at the investigations they did, he said, “Those conclusions are not just scientific. You have to look at their implication on policy and on saving lives.”

The highly-skilled graduands who spent two years at the fellowship did research in a number of emergency response situations like food poisoning, snake bites, mental health and meningitis among many other areas.

Graduands pose with the guests at the end of the function

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