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Maternal Health Rights, Politics and the Law:Another Professorial Inaugural Lecture

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Professor Ben Kiromba Twinomugisha from the School of Law is yet another Law don to fulfil the University mandate of presenting an Inaugural Lecture.

April 28, 2017 marked yet another milestone in the academic achievements of the long serving Professor of Law when he delivered his lecture entitled: "Maternal Health, Politics and the Law"  in the Makerere University Main Hall.

During the lecture, Professor Twinomugisha also popularly known as Shokoro delved into a touching area of maternal health and sought to establish as to why the realization of Maternal Health Rights (MHRs) remains a theory despite the many interventions both by Government agencies, the civil society and many other players.

At the well-attended lecture, Prof. Ben Kiromba Twinomugisha emphasized that there is need to understand the nature and scope of Maternal Health Rights and how they can be realized in Uganda. His argument was based on the question, ‘Why do women continue to die while giving birth?’He urged the public to consider maternal health as a Human Right and noted that the state is obliged to respect and protect the MHRs.
The Chairperson Inaugural Committee- Prof. Elly Sabiiti (L), Acting Deputy Principal-School of Law-Dr. Ronald Naluwairo (2nd),Prof. Ben Twinomugisha (3rdL) receiving a certificate from Dr. Okello Ogwang after presentation of the inaugural lecture.
“Uganda is a party to international and human rights instruments that recognize maternal health rights (MHRs). It also has a Constitution and policy frameworks, which contain provisions with a bearing on MHRs.  In spite of the recognition of MHRs in legal and policy frameworks, realization of these rights remains elusive as evidenced by the alarming rates of maternal mortality and morbidity.”Said the charged law don while urging his audience to get charged and demand the enforcement of the right to Maternal Mortality by the duty bearers.

Hestated that the realization of MHRs remains elusive because the state, which has the primary responsibility to protect and enforce the  MHRs, relies on neo-liberal policies and criminal laws, which exalt private and class interests to the detriment of maternal health issues.  He added that it is not a mere lack of resources that explains non-realization of MHRs in Uganda, but absence  of political will to tackle the structural causes of maternal mortality and morbidity.

While explaining what he sees as the barriers to realizing MHRs in Uganda, Prof. Twinomugisha pointed out a list of interlinked areas such as poverty. He said because of low incomes many mothers cannot afford a number of formal and informal costs for facilities and services, drugs and equipment, transport to the health facility, quality and sustainable care. He said this is coupled with inadequate information and poor attitudes leading to delays to seek care and reaching health care facility. He also noted the lack of political will and focused leadership to marshal and direct the available internal and external physical, financial, human and other resources towards realization of MHRs. He noted that inequitable gender relations and negative customary as the other social factors affecting the realization of maternal health rights.

Recommending on how realization of MHRs can achieved, Prof. Ben Twinomugisha emphasized putting in place mechanisms to fight massive poverty and prioritizing MHRs of the poor; reversing the neo-liberal approach to maternal health and increasing budget for health by at least 15% as well as increasing human resource for maternal health, equipping health facilities and allocating more skilled health personnel to maternal health.

He further advocated for accelerating family planning and making contraceptive information available and accessible. He encouraged couples to discuss contraceptive options and called upon men to actively be involved in issues of maternal health care. He advised that the government should tax the privileged and wealthy and use the proceeds to fund social services such as maternal health care, employ a gender perspective in all policies, programmes and practices, and in all spheres of life including family and community. He added that public awareness and sensitization strategies should target both women and men to promote gender equity and a holistic approach to maternal health which is preventive and curative should be developed.

“In my view, in the long run, for actual and meaningful realization of MHRs to occur, there is need to build consciousness among masses so that they are able to engage in the struggle of emancipation. This struggle should be led by the working class  but also be embraced by the rural and urban poor women and men. The struggle should lead to a democratically reconstituted liberal pro-people socialist state that will promote an equitable distribution of resources and ensure that maternal health issues are prioritized in design and implementation.” Prof. Ben Twinomugisha concluded.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, represented by Dr. Ernest Okello-Ogwang (Deputy Vice Chancellor-Academic Affairs) said that the life of an academician is demanding. In between the rigors of research, teaching and publishing, it is often easy to overlook the fact that they are also parents, guardians and mentors. He said that Prof. Twinomugisha has made tremendous contribution to the academia and legal practice, for which he is highly commended.

“Today, Uganda is faced with high rates of death arising from maternal related complications some of which are preventable. I am glad to note that in Maternal Health, Prof. Twinomugisha has picked a topic that is of great importance to the future of this nation, and yet so little is known about it. Our communities and the nation at large deserve and are eager to listen to the latest findings that can impact their lives.” The Vice Chancellor noted.The "Big Five" as Prof. Ben Twinomugisha referred to them pose for a photo with his wife(centre).

The Vice Chancellor further said that a great proportion of Ugandan population is either illiterate or underprivileged. These are often ill-informed about their rights and therefore suffer at the hands of duty bearers. As such, he said that they are not empowered to take up litigation as a way of redressing the social injustices meted upon their wives, sisters and mothers whose reproductive rights are abused.

While pronouncing Prof. Ben Twinomugisha as a full Professor of Makerere University on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Okello-Ogwang said that as a requirement for Makerere University academic staff, an inaugural lecture is held to commemorate the lecturer's appointment to full professorship. He further said that it is the perfect opportunity for the lecturer to share with their audience the contribution they have made to the body of knowledge and Prof. Twinomugisha had set a great precedent.

“Prof. Twinomugisha, without any doubt has distinguished himself and is recognized for his dedication to research, teaching and learning as well as creation of new knowledge. I hereby declare Prof. Ben Kiromba Twinomugisha a full professor of Makerere University” Dr. Okello-Ogwang pronounced.

Earlier, while delivering a citation about Prof. Twinonmugisha, Dr. Ronald Naluwairo, the Acting Deputy Principal-School of Law stated that the inaugural lecture was indeed a reflection of Prof. Twinomugisha’s tireless works of fighting for women’s rights. He described him as a dedicated and accomplished scholar and researcher whose works are analytically sharp, academically engaging, magnificently conceptualized, outstandingly researched and multidisciplinary.

“Today is a very great celebration as we honor Prof. Ben Twinomugisha whose great essence of teaching and learning exemplifies the issues of Makerere University as a community of scholars and teachers. He has consistently proved his academic versatility across a range of areas including commercial law, gender, environmental law, health law and human rights. His contribution to enhancing the University’s eminent standing, where making research, teaching and mentoring is commended.” Dr. Ronald Naluwairo remarked

Dr. Naluwairo elaborated that the teaching approach of Prof. Ben Twinomugisha is based on the five E’s: Engage, Explain, Exemplify, Emphasize and Empower. He added that the Professor established several developments by stimulating curiosity and independent learning and participating in effective guidance and mentorship of students. He commended him for his contribution towards the development of curriculum when he pioneered the teaching of Health Law at the School of Law, a very popular and relevant field of study today.

The Chairperson of Makerere University Inaugural Committee, Prof. Elly Sabiiti said that such professorial lectures are very relevant. Through them, a great deal of vital information is shared and it brings the image of Makerere University to the public. He thanked Prof. Ben Twinomugisha for the commitment he portrayed in sharing fundamental information through his professorial inaugural lecture.Collegues from the School of Law pose for a photo with Prof. Ben Twinomugisha and Dr. Ernest Okello-Ogwang.

 “It takes a long time to finalize this process. This is the second inaugural lecture addressing the issues of women and their rights. We want to put up this important material for everybody to access. It is therefore important for us as Makerere University and the nation at large.” The Chairperson mentioned.

Prof. Elly Sabiiti appealed to all colleagues to share information through such lectures and to motivate the young scholars to do the same. He thanked the School of Law for the pace set in giving professorial inaugural lectures and urged other colleges at the University to emulate the School. He also thanked the Inaugural committee which worked with the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor-Academic Affairs to make the lecture a success.

Prof. Ben Kiromba Twinogisha holds a Bachelor of Law of Makerere University, a Diploma in Legal Practice of Law Development Center, a Master of Law of Makerere University and a Doctor of Laws of Makerere University. He was the first person to attain a Doctor of Laws degree from Makerere University, which he obtained in 2005. In 2008, he was promoted to the rank of Associate professor and later to a professor in 2011, the rank which resulted to hisprofessorial inaugural lecture.

He has provided excellent leadership and rendered effective services to Makerere University and the society at large. He has served the University for over 30 years in different areas of responsibility with integrity including; Deputy Dean at the School of Law, Dean of Law, member of Makerere University Council, member of Makerere University Senate, member of Makerere University Appointments Board and a number of Makerere University committees.

The professorial inaugural lecture was attended by people from various capacities including; Makerere University staff, former chancellor-Prof. Mondo Kagonyera, former Vice chancellor-Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, Members of Ugandan judiciary, legislature and other government officials, Makerere University students and the public.

Article by: Charles Iga-Mak News Reporter

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Makerere University Launches National Parenting Draft Manual

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The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo (Centre) and Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC (Right) interact with a participant at the workshop on 22nd July 2022, Kampala.

By Agnes Namaganda

On July 22nd 2022, Makerere UniversityChild Health and Development Centre (MakCHDC) launched a draft manual for the National Parenting Standards. The Centre has been working together with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) with funding from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund), to develop standards that are agreeable to all organisations in the country that are involved in parenting work. The draft manual was being presented to members of a consortium that brings together all these organisations together, called the Parenting Agenda Consortium.

“We produce many documents and they are shelved,” Irene Ayot Chono, who was speaking on behalf of UNICEF said. “We hope that this document will not be one of them,” she emphasized.

Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.
Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC who presented the draft manual to participants, emphasized that if any organization is doing parenting work, there should be a minimum package that they should offer.

Draft Manual Content

The manual which will have several modules. These modules will be delivered face-to-face in 1.5 hour sessions. Some of these include; Module 6 which will focus on “understanding responsible masculinity and fatherhood” and on “understanding the concept of head of family.”The draft manual also proposed that Module 11 focuses on Parenting in the 21st Century. Some of the sessions in this module will include Children and Technology, Contemporary Influence on Children and Modernity, Culture and Morality.Module 9 will focus on Parenting for Adolescents and some of the suggested sessions within this module are Needs for Adolescents and The Art of Communicating with Adolescents. Module 5 will focus on Preventing Violent Parenting and Promoting Alternative Discipline Strategies while Module 10 will be about Parenting to Address the Mental Health for Children and Adults.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.
Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.

Participants’ suggestions

After the presentation, participants raised several suggestions for discussion and consideration. These included whether there should be a module on spirituality since Uganda is a strongly religious nation. There was also the concern of how children in remand homes should be parented. Another concern raised by a participant was as to whether teachers who make an undeniable contribution to parenting, should be taken through the parenting manual.

A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.
A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.

In her closing remarks, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo, the Director of Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) said that the manual is for the parenting organisations to utilize and not for MGLSD.

The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.
The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.

Ms. Chono also adjured the team behind the manual to use picture illustrations in the manual that can be relatable by the Ugandan parents.

Contact: Agnes Namaganda – agnesvioletnamaganda@gmail.com

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Launch of Mak-RIF Round 4 Awards & PhD Call for Proposals

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Mak-RIF 4 Awards and PhD Call For Proposals, 29th September 2022, 9:00 to 10:00 AM EAT.

Makerere University received funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support high impact Research and Innovations. This unique initiative arose after engagements between the top University Management and the Government of Uganda. This fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of development and transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. 

In the Financial years 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 the Government of the Republic of Uganda through Mak-RIF has funded implementation of over 750 multidisciplinary research and innovations within the various Colleges, while engaging multiple stakeholders within and outside Makerere University. The Grants Management Committee (GMC) has finalized the award process for the Mak-RIF round 4 call for funding for this Financial Year 2022/2023.

The Grants Management Committee (GMC) hereby invites you to the Launch of the Mak-RIF Round 4 awards and PhD Call for Proposals scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday 29th September 2022 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. EAT. 

Please use the following details to join the launch.

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpcu-urDIjE9ZgxdsbEmA2IkNMMiJVECt_ 
Meeting ID: 884 5662 9992
Password: 292624

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Notice: Makerere Disability Scheme 2022/23 Medical Review Exercise

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One of the PWD graduands at the 69th Graduation during the Session held on 17th January 2019.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites persons with disability who applied for admission to public universities under the disability entry scheme for 2022/2023 Academic Year to appear for medical/review exercise at Makerere Unive, Senate Building, Level Two (2) in the Telepresence Centre.

NOTE: Only those who have the minimum entry requirements of at least two principal passes at A’ Level or its equivalent and at least five (5) passes at O’ Level or its equivalent will be interviewed.

 Only candidates who sat ‘a’ level in 2020, 2019 and 2018 are eligible for admission.

THE EXERCISE WILL BE CONDUCTED ON 3rd, 4th and 5th October, 2022 respectively from 9.00 A.M – 1.00 P.M each day.

IMPORTANT:

(i) If you fail to appear on any of the given days above, there will be no other chance for you.

(ii) Applicants with Government Scholarship for the previous years are not eligible for admission

ALFRED MASIKYE NAMOAH

Acting. ACADEMIC REGISTRAR

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