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Mak Produces Affordable Multipurpose Tractor

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The Head of Operation Wealth Creation, General Salim Saleh on 31st December 2015 officially launched MV Mulimi, the multipurpose tractor developed by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, with a challenge that the institution should endeavour to produce even more.

During the launch held at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute at Kabanyolo (MUARIK), Gen. Saleh said Makerere had proved that it could resolve the farmers’ problems with practical solutions.   

“I am pleased that Makerere is moving to solve these problems, which tie up the farmers in poverty. We hope that the MV Mulimi will resolve their problems, and therefore demand that several more similar vehicles are produced,” he said.

He pledged to hold talks with Makerere University on the feasibility of ordering 20 units of MV Mulimi for field demonstration purposes. Gen. Saleh also indicated that there were other opportunities to be derived from this innovation.

L-R: Gen. Salim Saleh-Head, Operation Wealth Creation, Prof. Noble Banadda-Principal Investigator MV Mulimi and Lt. Gen. Charles Angina-Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, UPDF at the multipurpose tractor launch, MUARIK, Makerere University“His Excellency, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has pledged to increase the budget for agriculture to over 1 trillion, but there is a concern about the absorption capacity of that money at the grassroots. I hope that research centres like Makerere University and others will be able to join in and help us absorb this new capacity,” he said.

The MV Mulimi was developed by a team from CAES, consisting of Prof. Noble Banadda (the Principal Investigator), Prof. John Lumkes (Purdue University), Dr. Ahamada Zziwa, Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu of Makerere as well as Mr. Tyler Anselm (Purdue University), Mr. Ernest Tibaku-Zira, Mr. Samuel Mutesasira and Mr. Denis Nsubuga. Other than Prof. Lumkes and Mr. Anselm, the rest of the team members are from Makerere University.

The idea to develop a low cost multipurpose vehicle suitable for African conditions arose out of a 2013 trip by Prof. Noble Banadda to three Universities in the US, sponsored by the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering. Prof. Banadda’s trip was aimed at exploring opportunities of collaboration between CAES and Purdue University, University of Georgia and Iowa State University.

Gen. Salim Saleh and H.E. Zhao Yali put the MV Mulimi's carrying capacity to test. Aboard are Lt. Gen. Charles Angina, Prof. J. Ddumba-Ssentamu, Dr. Goretti Nabanoga and Mr. Kaddu Kiberu, MUARIK, Makerere University In June 2015, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences challenged Prof. Banadda and a team of researchers to develop such a vehicle. The design and development of MV Mulimi took place at MUARIK under the sponsorship of the Presidential Initiative on Science and Technology, from September 1, 2015 for a period of six weeks.

Commenting on the vehicle’s abilities, Prof Banadda explained that the vehicle was able to thresh maize, pump water from a depth of 7 metres to a height of 33m, plough gardens, transport 20 adults and their goods over a reasonable distance, as well as charge a mobile phone.

According to Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu, the vehicle’s design is the ultimate value addition, as it attempts to solve farmers’ problems at the source. This follows a demonstrated need for low cost technologies in farm field and postharvest handling operations.

“The MV Mulimi cost UGX 30million to develop and its optimal cost; including all the elements required to carry out the tasks, would be about UGX 19million on the open market, once it is in production,” he said.

The Dean, School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio Engineering, Prof John Muyonga, commended the team on a job well done. “The project was designed to add value to agricultural produce. Our research has shown that farm operations like threshing, pumping water and aspects of tilling, which remain a major challenge for farmers, can be resolved at a low cost” he said, further adding “I am pleased that they were able to accomplish this task in a short time.”

 Prof. Muyonga equally thanked Prof. William Kyamuhangire, the Manager of the Makerere University Food Technology and Business Incubation Centre for championing the cause of adding value to agricultural products.

The Deputy Principal of CAES, Dr. Goretti Nabanoga expressed her pleasure at the latest development. “I am happy that Makerere is participating as the lead researcher in addressing the challenges faced by farmers at the grassroots. This project will link us directly to the farmers,” she said.

The MV Mulimi Team led by Prof. Noble Banadda (3rd L) also consists Dr. Ahamada Zziwa, Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu, Mr. Ernest Tibaku-Zira, Mr. Samuel Mutesasira and Mr. Denis Nsubuga.

“The MV Mulimi is made from locally available materials, which indicates that the product can be easily maintained in Uganda, since its spares are easily accessible.”

She challenged the researchers to continually improve the product by designing a shelter on top of the vehicle to shield occupants from weather elements such as rain or sunshine, and was optimistic that the vehicle’s design would evolve even further in 2016.

“As Gen Salim Saleh once said, the biggest problem facing farmers is not the lack of funding but the availability of logistics. I am positive that in 2016 we will improve this tool further.”

Speaking on behalf of the Private Sector, the Director of Peacock Paints, Kaddu Kiberu, commended Makerere University for developing the MV Mulimi, soon after the Kiira EV, was developed by the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT).

Prof. William Kyamuhangire-Manager, Food Technology and Business Incubation Centre (2nd L), Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa-Director MUARIK (3rd R), Prof. Johnny Mugisha-Dean SAS, CAES with guests at the MV Mulimi Launch

“I am happy to see what is happening at Makerere. Let us hope that this innovation will not be allowed to fail. Please be prepared for the criticism so that you can improve the product even further,” he said.

He shared that the private sector was willing to come in and help develop MV Mulimi. “I don’t expect all the parts of the MV Mulimi to come from Makerere. Instead you should partner with others to supply the parts and your job should be to design the final product,” he added.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu said the MV Mulimi had arrived at the right time.
“It is my informed opinion that mechanized farming is a step in the right direction for this country and we as Makerere University are proud to contribute towards this… As Makerere University, we have demonstrated that with seed financing, we can come up with practical innovations that solve real world challenges. I look forward to seeing more units rolled out to our farmers.”

The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Zhao Yali also commended the team for producing the multipurpose vehicle for use in agriculture. He urged Makerere to consider working with China to improve the product further.

Amb. Zhao Yali (2nd L) flanked by Gen. Salim Saleh (L), Makerere University and CAES Leadership as well as other Guests hands over the two walking tractors to Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu shortly after the MV Mulimi Launch at MUARIK

“I encourage Makerere to cooperate with some of the Chinese firms, which are already here in Uganda and are involved in developing and marketing agricultural implements and vehicles. The Vice Chancellor together with his team has a big role to play here,” he said.  

He revealed that the Chinese Government would be providing US$60bn to Africa under the Sino-Africa cooperation from 2016 to 2018, for among other uses, developing agriculture in Africa.
“I strongly urge Uganda to take advantage of this. I feel that agricultural development should be at the forefront of this cooperation with China,” he concluded.

In the true spirit of friendship and brotherhood from China, the Ambassador presented a New Year (2016) gift comprising two (2) tractors to Makerere University to support farming and practical sessions at MUARIK.

The Director MUARIK, Associate Professor Phinehas Tukamuhabwa said the MV Mulimi is a great achievement for MUARIK and CAES, as it practically addresses issues of agriculture and the environment. He congratulated Prof. Noble Banadda and the team of researchers for the innovation that will contribute to the transformation of agriculture in Uganda.

Article by: Ritah Namisango, Mak Public Relations Office  
Photos by: Landmark Media Consultancy Ltd

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Makerere University Hospital iTECH Project Positions: Data Manager, Data Officer & Study Nurse

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One of the buildings at the Makerere University Hospital that houses the Temporal Bone Laboratory. Kampala Uganda. East Africa.

Makerere University Hospital seeks to recruit suitable candidates for the following positions; Data Manager, Data Officer and a Study nurse. Makerere University Hospital received funding from Wellcome Leap, In Utero Program to support implementation of the “Stillbirth in High Burden Settings: Ample Room for Improvement Using Biomarkers and Ultrasound Technologies” (iTECH) project. The iTECH project aims to develop novel clinical tools for use to diagnose and manage high-risk pregnant women and reduce the burden of stillbirths in Uganda, sub-Saharan Africa, and globally.

Available Position: Data Manager (01)

Duty Station: Kampala
Engagement: Full Time
Reporting to: Project Manager

Job Summary:

The Data Manager will oversee the development and implementation of strong data management. He/she will implement efficient ways to collate, organize, store and analyze data with attention to security and confidentiality.

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Participate in the creation and enforcement of policies and guidelines for effective data management.
  • Alongside the QA and QC manager, facilitate site level data quality assessment, auditing and verification for improvement.
  • Participate in the collection, cleaning, validation and maintenance of high-quality research data.
  • Use a variety of advanced statistical software, methods, and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret research data to derive useful information for research data;
  • Advise and assists in the development of inferences and conclusions, as appropriate.
  • Write and execute statistical methods and analysis sections of protocols, reports and peer-reviewed publications
  • Design templates and develop specifications for status reports, analysis tables, graphs, and data listings for use in research publications and ad hoc reporting.
  • Participate in the process of data sharing with project team and external stakeholders.
  • Assist with reports and data extraction when needed from the integrated database in order to track recruitment and retention of study participants.
  • Monitor and analyze information and data systems and evaluate their performance to discover ways of enhancing them (new technologies, upgrades etc.)
  • Troubleshoot data-related problems and authorize maintenance or modifications.
  • Participate in the review of the data management plan, maintain the data management plan throughout lifecycle of projects and ensure data management plan is followed according to iTECH project data requirements/needs.
  • Maintenance of study database with regular feedback on occurrences and how these were rectified.
  • Assist in defining and/or create data listings, summary table validation, data specifications and/or process data transfers in preparation for statistical review and/or data management audit.
  • Coordinate the archiving of databases and related documents. Verify data in accordance with the study data management standard operating procedures (SOPs).
  • Respond to requests for standard reports as required in a timely manner.

Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

  • MUST have a Master’s degree in Biostatistics or Statistics or Clinical Epidemiology or Statistical Epidemiology or related field, with significant experience in Medical Sciences or public health research and data analysis.
  • MUST have a strong understanding of databases and data analysis
  • Good analytical thinking and ability to interpret epidemiological data
  • At least one year of progressive experience in data management including designing databases, data collection, analysis and presentation.
  • Knowledge of common Statistical analysis and database management packages including STATA, R, SPSS, Redcap, Open Data Kit (ODK)
  • Up-to-date training in Good Clinical Practice and Human Subjects protection Research.
  • Should be dynamic and flexible to deliver on strict program deadlines
  • Possess excellent troubleshooting skills.
  • Able to work under pressure

Available Positions: Data Officer (02)

Duty Station: Hoima and Kampala
Engagement: Full Time
Reporting to: Site Manager/ Data Manager.

Job Summary:

The data officer will provide ongoing technical assistance to the project and facility team in recording and management of project-related data in line with the study guidelines.

She/he will also assist the Data Manager in the entry, cleaning and analysis of data captured by the study database.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Ensure weekly back up of study data including ultrasound, maternal hemodynamics, laboratory, placenta histology and routine clinical data.
  • Support with study data entry.
  • Help the site teams to project participant recruitment and follow-up numbers together with the data manager.
  • Handle labelling of study participant forms including study informed consent forms and lab request forms by assigning study IDs
  • Perform labelling of ultrasound and maternal hemodynamic profiles, and any other data as guided by the line supervisor
  • Perform data export from the study equipment at the sites.
  • Help with participant tracking for follow up study visits and deliveries
  • Support the site study team in the timely compilation of daily, weekly and monthly study reports
  • Any other duties as may reasonably be assigned by the data manager and project manager

Qualifications, Skills and Experience:

  • The applicant must hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology/ Computer science.
  • Experience in medical data management is an added advantage.
  • Should be dynamic and flexible to deliver on strict program timelines
  • Understands client confidentiality and exhibits a high level of ethical conduct
  • Has basic computer literacy including word processing, excel, internet and PowerPoint.
  • Highly organised and pays attention to detail
  • Good interpersonal skills and ability to work in a team
  • Should have analytical abilities
  • Good communication skills

Available Position: Study nurse (01)

Duty Station: Hoima
Engagement: Full Time
Reporting to: Site Manager and Project Manager

Job summary:

The Study nurse will be responsible for recruitment of study participants and administering of required study related procedures to these participants.

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Participate in protocol, standard operating procedures (SOPs) or any other study trainings
  • Participate in study site entry visits and engage with management of study participants. These include but not limited to patient enrolment, as guided by the protocol.
  • Obtain written informed consent for those eligible and are willing to participate in the study
  • Administer all study procedures like sample collection, data collection and entry, patient follow-up and treatment to patients recruited into the study as guided by the protocol and in accordance to set standards of Good Clinical Practice
  • Perform patient safety monitoring for any adverse events, offer care and referral as needed
  • Provide counselling and pyscho-social support to study participants where needed
  • Conduct assessment of maternal hemodynamics and maternal hemodynamics data collection under guidance of coordinator.
  • Perform first-level quality assurance and quality control (QA / QC) to ensure all fields in the consent forms and case report forms (CRFs) are complete and accurate
  • Offer support to the community health workers and research assistants for the follow- up of study participants.
  • Assist in generating study progress reports as needed
  • Perform any other duties assigned by the Operations Research officer, Project Manager and principal Investigator, as deemed necessary for study activities

Required Qualifications, experience, skills and attributes:

  • Minimum of a Bachelor in Nursing from a recognized institution.
  • Currently registered with the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council and an up-to-date Practicing License.
  • Up-to-date training in Good Clinical Practice and Human Subjects Protection Research.
  • Previous experience with working in a research environment will be an added advantage
  • Ability to speak the indigenous languages spoken in the western region will be an added advantage

How to apply:

All applications must be submitted to the email: itechprojectug@gmail.com before Friday 4th March 2024 at 5:00PM

Additional Information

  1. The subject line of your email should be: “Application- (indicate the position) – iTECH Project
  2. Submit your application (1-page cover letter, 3 pages resume including two referees, and relevant supporting documents) as ONE PDF
  3. PDF’s exceeding 5MBs will be considered ineligible.
  4. Submission of incomplete or inaccurate documents will render the applicant ineligible for consideration for the job opening.
  5. Applications cannot be amended following submission.
  6. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews.
  7. The interviews will be held on 11th March 2024.

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Team of 12 Students from Tottori at Makerere on a 3-Week Exchange Programme

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Mr. Ochwo Gerald (Centre in necktie) with Dr. Emi Kaburagi (Left), staff from the International Office and some of the twelve exchange students from Tottori University during the meeting on 19th February 2024. Receiving team of 12 exchange students from Tottori University, Japan. The Boardroom, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.