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Mak-UZH symposium tackles One-health from different perspectives

  • In Health
  • 10 Jul 2014 - 6:47pm
  • By Mark Wamai
  • 44,690
The Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs Dr. Ernest Okello Ogwang (L) chats with Prof. Dr. Daniel Wyler-Vice President for Medicine and Science, University of Zurich during the One-Health Symposium, 7th to 8th July 2014, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Makerere University and the University of Zurich (UZH) held a two-day health-focused symposium aimed at strengthening the existing collaborations and paving way for new research partnerships.

The symposium which ran from 7th to 8th July 2014 brought together faculty, research teams and scholars from the University of Zurich, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) to share ideas and knowledge premised on the theme, One health from different perspectives.

The symposium was held in line with the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Makerere and the University of Zurich in 2008, as a foundation for the North-South cooperation, which promotes exchange of knowledge and mutual intercultural learning through supporting sustainably well-conceived research projects, teaching and institutional capacity development.

Opening the symposium on 7th July 2014, the Acting Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Dr. Ernest Okello Ogwang reported that, as a result of MAK-UZH partnership, there are a number of active collaborations between both institutions.  These include partnership with: The College of Health Sciences/Infectious Diseases Institute; the SOUTH study that is currently implemented in partnership with the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI); Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB); and the School of Languages, Literature and Communication and Department of Philosophy both under the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS).

“Convening here today represents a great commitment from both institutions, and I would like to urge the two partners to maintain their mutual collaboration, for the future academic excellence,” remarked Dr. Okello Ogwang, who is also the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Makerere University. He also encouraged the participants to use the symposium to explore and facilitate new research collaborations.

Recounting the formative stages of the partnership, the Principal College of Health Sciences Professor Nelson Sewankambo, then Dean, Faculty of Medicine, expressed his pleasure at having been part of the team that visited UZH, and successfully negotiated the terms that culminated into the signing of the first Memorandum of Understanding in 2008. “I am therefore delighted to be part of this health-focused symposium today, as both institutions seek to strengthen the existing collaboration, and dialogue on the possibility of widening the partnership to encompass other academic disciplines,” he remarked.

Professor Sewakambo, also re-echoed to all partners and participants attending the symposium in the Makerere University Main Hall the need to uphold the clause on mutually beneficial engagements as this collaboration continues to grow.

Dr. Daniel Wyler, Vice President, University of Zurich (UZH) appreciated the partnership with Makerere University and reiterated, UZH’s support to research backed by the mutually beneficial activities as sealed by the MoU.

“I am really sure that this time, taking part in health issues affecting humans like the infectious disease is more important. Therefore I would like to encourage all researchers in both universities to engage in different research on both the environment and humans in a bid to reduce the rate transmission of infectious diseases in our countries,” he said.

The Executive Director, Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), CHS, Makerere University Dr. Alex Coutinho highlighted that the symposium offered a great learning platform to science researchers in all health disciplines and expressed his belief that after the two days, participants and delegates alike would have acquired more knowledge.

Giving the day’s keynote address, Professor John David Kabasa, the Principal, CoVAB emphasized that the term health refers to the total wellbeing of the individual and appealed to participants to embrace a multi-disciplinary approach to research and problems affecting humanity and society in general. With reference to Makerere’s ten year strategic plan, which stipulates the need for the University to reposition herself to meet emerging development challenges, Professor Kabasa encouraged academicians, scholars and participants in the symposium to embrace the paradigm shift from the ivory tower mentality to one of knowledge transfer partnerships with the community. He further encouraged the audience to align their collaborative activities in, teaching and learning, research and innovations to those of a development-focused university.

The audience which had for the entire duration of morning sessions been captivated by the well-researched presentations on ideology, cause and implications of infectious diseases then had the chance to engage the panelists in a lively academic debate. Professor John David Kabasa, Prof. Dr. Paul Torgeson, Head of Epidemiology at the Vetsuisse Faculty, UZH and Dr. Taurai Tasara, Head of the Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, Vetsuisse Faculty, UZH made up the panel that took on a broad range of questions from the eager audience.

The 7th July 2014 symposium programme climaxed with site visits to the Makerere University College of Health Sciencess, the Infectious Diseases Institute, and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity.  The afternoon site visits, were aimed at sharing discipline-specific knowledge cognizant of the expectations of respective units.

At the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity, Dr. Clovice Kankya guided the participants on a tour of the teaching and research facilities such as the Small Animal Clinic, One-Health residency office, Avian Influenza laboratory among other facilities.

Article by:   Ritah Namisango, Public Relations Office


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