Makerere University Environmental Health Students’ Association (MUEHSA) is a student-led association started in 2002 by students on the Bachelors of Environmental Health Science programme at Makerere University School of Public Health. With the aim of promoting environmental health in Uganda, the association holds a variety of activities including celebrating annual international health days, community outreach programmes and lobbying for improved environmental health.
Year after year, since 2003, the association has been organizing annual scientific conferences hosting participants from different countries and fields related to health. The scientific conferences provide a platform for discussion and presentation of environmental and public health work in Uganda and elsewhere in the world; giving an opportunity for comparison of systems. It is also an opportunity for presentation of innovations and research papers from students, organizational activities and findings in public health. The conferences increase knowledge of students in public health practice and enrich and rejuvenate practitioners’ knowledge-base.
This year, the MUEHSA 13th annual scientific conference was held 7th – 8th April at Esella Country Hotel, Najjera near Kampala, under the theme “Intersectoral collaboration to enhance the role of Environmental Health towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.” The conference aimed at providing a clear overview and understanding of the importance of collaborative action across different fields to achieving Sustainable Development Goals, especially in terms of health (defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.) and stressing the role of environmental health.
In a keynote address, Dr. Sheba Gita noted that unlike the 8 Millennium development goals that were closed in 2015, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals emphasize 3 new aspects, i.e. universality (apply to every nation, sector, business, and organization,) integration (goals are interconnected. We need to achieve all goals, not just one,) and transformation to achieve (we require big changes to achieve the SDGs.) She therefore emphasized that the only way to achieve SDGs is through collaborative actions involving more than one agency. Dr. Gita also illustrated effective collaborative action with a case study on plague outbreak in Arua, 2008, in which an investigation team was set up, made of officials from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, an entomologist, US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention officials, local government health practitioners, AFENET, Makerere University School of Public Health team, Veterinary doctors, engineers and anthropologists. They carried out activities including community sensitization on killing rats and keeping domestic animals out of their houses, radio talk shows on plague causes and control methods.
The Guest of Honour, Dr. Okello Ayen (Director of Public Health, Kampala Capital City Authority), hinted on the interface of urbanization and health in his address. He also mentioned that health needs to be seen as an environmental aspect and not simply a hospital issue. He gave an example of the very big solid waste management problem in Kampala affecting air quality. He expressed that Kampala is a lakeside city translating into increasing water contamination and eutrophication due to industrialization and poor waste disposal. Things such as these result in the population having the second largest lake in the world but with water that cannot be used, incurring high water treatment costs. He challenged the participants to do something about the construction of pit latrines in Kampala a largely wetland area and to pay attention to the growing non-communicable diseases burden in the country. In conclusion, he said “at the end of this conference, every person should be able to stand out and teach the public about health according to what we have learned. Publish out something, like a summary! And approach KCCA for help and advice.”
Professor John David Kabasa, the keynote speaker of day 2, introduced the importance of the One Health concept. He said that one health is about policies and systems that will shape the next generation of youth 2035 – 2050. He mentioned that from the time of the industrial revolution and civilization set in, medicine has increasingly been available, there is a decrease in infectious disease mortality, life expectancy increase, population increase and exportation of western civilization among others.
“Today, there is shrinking earth paradigm indicated by overpopulation, global warming and climate change, resource and livelihood hunger and obscure future. As a result of high population, there is high demand for quality products and services, improvement in technology, while globalization and glocalization are running together. However, there are challenges among the youth that need to be addressed in international education and language i.e, integration, ideology, culture, politics, and religion”, Professor. Kabasa said.
He added that the increased interface with the animal world has led to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases like Ebola and Marburg. While in the food industry, urbanization and income growth in Africa are driving a diet transformation, posing higher risks of biothreats. Africa is also the most severely affected region in global water scarcity.
Professor Kabasa said in order to address the challenges, knowledge, ability (skills), attitude, networks, and integrity will be crucial for competition.
The two-day scientific event hosted over 250 participants, including students and staff from 10 institutions of higher learning in Uganda, Cardiff Metropolitan, and Nottingham Trent University (both of the United Kingdom), representatives from district health departments, civil society organisations, among others. Up to 25 presentations were made by local and international participants, focusing on;
1. Partnerships for health
2. One Health concept
3. Air pollution, climate, and health
4. Affordable and clean energy
5. Water, sanitation, and hygiene
6. Food safety and food security
7. Reproductive health
8. Occupational health
9. Public health legislation
10. Opportunities for students
The MUEHSA patron, Ms. Ruth Neebye Mubeezi, commended the always growing enthusiasm of the students and appreciated the organizing committee. She noted that such conferences are important for health in the nation and that focusing on intersectoral collaboration this year is more than just a great idea for wider coverage but is also a perfect timing for the health systems which require more than independent silos but togetherness in action for health.
The outgoing MUEHSA president, Ms. Anyonga Prisca cherished the work of fellow students and gave open appreciations to all supporting partners especially the school administration, and gave tokens of appreciation, awards to different presenters and participants at the conference.
Article by OHCEA Communication Team
Veteran Professor changed Makerere and Higher Education
When Professor John Ssebuwufu ambled up to receive a certificate of recognition for his ‘exceptional’ contribution to higher education from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) at Makerere University (MU), he was thinking of many things, such as rewarding staff, that he could have done differently to impact university education more.
But he did what he could have done, under the circumstances.
He presided over MU (in 1993) when student enrolment was 5,000 and left in 2004 when the population was surging to more than 15,000.
He emphasised the use of information communication technologies in almost all the institutions he had been involved in and sent many academic staff on exchanges to boost research and innovation. Now, more African universities engage in ground-breaking research.
So, he proceeded to accept his recognition and make his acceptance speech, which was mostly about gratitude.
Ssebuwufu, 74, who is currently the chancellor at Kyambogo University and the vice-chancellor of the University of Kisubi, is credited for his exemplary leadership and pragmatic methods that have shaped higher education in Uganda and Africa as a whole.
Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022
The Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program is a capacity building project by the AfDB and Japan which was initiated in 2017 with the aim of providing two-year scholarship awards to highly achieving African graduate students to enable them to undergo post-graduate studies (i.e. a two-year Master’s degree program) in selected priority development areas on the continent and Japan. The overarching goal the AfDB and the Government of Japan seek to attain is to enhance skills and human resources development in Africa in under the Bank’s High 5s agenda (i.e. “Feed Africa”, “Light up Africa”, “Industrialize Africa”, “Integrate Africa” and “Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa”) and key Japanese development assistance initiatives. JADS core areas of study focus include energy, agriculture, health, environmental sustainability, and engineering. The program also seeks to promote inter-university collaboration and university-industry partnerships between Japan and Africa. Upon completion of their studies, the JADS scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the public and private sectors, and contribute to national and continental socio-economic development.
About the JADS program
The JADS Program is open to applicants from AfDB member countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts who are applying to a graduate degree program in energy development and related discipline. The program does not provide scholarships to any other graduate degree program.
The scholarship program provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance.
Upon completion of their studies, the beneficiary scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills, and contribute to the promotion of sustainable development of their countries.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
The program is open to those who have gained admission to an approved Masters degree course at a Japanese partner university. Candidates should be 35 years old or younger; in good health; with a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the energy area or related area; and have a superior academic record. Upon completion of their study programs, scholars are expected to return to their home country to contribute to its economic and social development.
- Applicant requests for information and application forms and procedures from the chosen JADS partner university. For any inquiries, please contact JADS@AFDB.ORG
- Applicant completes required documents and sends them to the university.
- University evaluates and selects applicants.
- University sends selected candidates to the AfDB.
- AfDB reviews submissions from universities, prepares and approves the final list.
- AfDB contacts selected awardees, and informs the universities.
WHS Regional Meeting Africa 2021: Finance Chairperson’s Update
SOPs: Our plan is to have 200 sets of people in different spacious rooms…Prof. Tonny j. oyana, finance chairperson whs regional meeting africa
We are sincerely grateful to our sponsors…
Over 15 core sponsors…
Sessions: 60% Virtual, 40% Onsite…