Over 30 journalists from both mainstream and online media have been urged to consider the urgency of public awareness on Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Convening at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala, on Monday 4th December 2017, journalists were called upon to take the initiative and save the community from the rapid growing burden of NCDs epidemic through their professional expertise.
“Through you, we can save the community. We therefore need your expertise as we dig deeper in this matter. I am aware of your positive reporting on HIV that was rated the best information mechanism in the whole world. With your experience in research, investigation, writing, interaction, and dissemination, you let the world understand what HIV was, it’s causes and how to prevent it. This is what we need at this moment. The community needs to know about NCDs and how they can be prevented. This is a matter of urgency so we need to collaborate,” said Prof. William Bazeyo-Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration), Makerere University.
Non-Communicable Diseases represent a growing burden of morbidity and mortality globally. NCDs are now included in the sustainable Development Goals with the aim to reduce by one third premature deaths due to NCDs. The World Health Organisation (WHO) projects that by 2025, 70% of all deaths in people less than 70 years of age will be due to NCDs and that 80% of these deaths will occur in Low and middle income countries. It is also estimated that 28 million people in low and middle income countries die each year from an NCD. In addition, Sub-Saharan Africa which includes 48 low and middle income countries is expected to have the world’s largest increase in the burden of NCD- related death over the next decade.
The NCD Media training is one of the pre-activities organised by Makerere University College of Health Sciences and St Augustine International University in preparation of the 1st International Non Communicable Diseases Symposium that will take place from 12th -15th February 2018 at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
Officially opened by Prof. William Bazeyo-the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, the media training aimed at providing journalists with a deeper understanding of Non-Communicable Diseases and to also encourage them to pay much attention to information received on the diseases when reporting.
Addressing journalists at Sheraton Hotel Kampala, Prof. Bazeyo urged journalists to always have a cross check the accuracy of facts and figures before publishing any information. In the same spirit, he advised researchers and concerned members to always avail information to the media in order to avoid dissemination of wrong information.
“We need to engage the media so that they fully understand the initiative, this will not only give us a positive and wider coverage of the matter, but also help the journalists understand the cause and report appropriately. Our cordial relationship with them will help us send the message to the last person in the community hence reaching the target we want. Let us actively engage them in this noble cause,” he said.
In Uganda, NCDs including injuries account for 40% of all deaths each year. In a presentation he made Dr. Bruce Kirega said that Uganda recorded an estimated 21,542 deaths from cancer and 4,690 deaths from diabetes in 2012 and 2016 respectively. Dr. Kirega also revealed that 1.3% of Ugandans are still battling with diabetes and Chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“In addition to that, The Risk factor survey found out that about one in four adults (24.3%) had raised blood pressure or had been taking medication for raised blood pressure. Moreover majority of those with raised blood pressure (76.1%) were not aware of their condition and not taking any medicine,” he said.
He cautioned the public on the use of tobacco, excessive drinking of alcohol and being physically inactivity as the major risk factors for NCDs. “The rate at which Ugandans smoke and consume alcohol is alarming. This is a country where many Ugandans are physically inactive, and majority of them do not consume fruits and vegetables to recommended levels,” he mentioned.
Despite the evidence of a high burden of NCDs and their risk factors globally and in Uganda, the response to these diseases in Uganda is still minimal. According to the Principal of College of Health Sciences, Prof. Charles Ibingira, the minimal response to the NCDs by Ugandans has been due to low public awareness about the diseases, and weak health systems that are aligned to only communicable diseases and limited data to support the design of presentation and intervention.
“Many Ugandans have died due to lack of knowledge about the diseases. So many of them have gone to hospitals only to be diagnosed of cancer in its advanced stages. Another issues is that we have weak and poorly facilitated health centres with no screening equipment,” he said.
He encouraged the public to support the awareness drive that the College of Health Sciences together with St Augustine International University is organising to enable the society understand the preventative measures for Non-Communicable Diseases. The Principal urged the Government to support health centres with equipment and necessary facilitation in line with Non Communicable Disease prevention and awareness. He also encouraged people to go for screening so as to start treatment early in case they are found positive.
Reiterating the importance of research, the Chairman of St Augustine International University H.E King Caesar Augustus Mulenga, said that there is a need to invest in research on Non-Communicable Diseases. He therefore called upon the public to embrace the idea of establishing a research fund that will enable researchers to collect data aimed at finding lasting solutions on Non Communicable Diseases.
He advised all Ugandans to join the fight against Non Communicable Diseases when he said, “We should stop the habit of lamenting that it is always the Government that is supposed to work on each and very thing, we can also do something constructive. Through fundraising, we can be able to raise a good amount of money that can provide facilities in our health centres. Before you ask yourself what the country has done for you, ask yourself what you have done for your country.”
The 1st International Non Communicable Diseases Symposium will take place from 12th -15th February 2018 at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
Organised by Makerere University College of Health Sciences and St Augustine International University under a theme: “Building momentum to address the epidemic of Non-Communicable Diseases in Africa,” the symposium focuses on creating attention to the NCDs epidemic in Uganda and the region among general public, business community, researchers, clinicians, funders, and policy makers that will result into a formidable multi-disciplinary response to stop the epidemic. It also aims at creating networks and consortium that will generate data and design interventions for prevention, early detection and treatment of NCDs as well as creating national policies, frameworks and multi-disciplinary health systems to curb the ill health and early deaths from the Diseases.
The symposium will run with a series of activities that started with the media training. Other activities including screening in different places of the country. “We will have a screening activity going on at the College of Health Science, and Parliament of Uganda to screen the public and Members of Parliament, Ministers among others, this is one way of creating awareness as well as providing information about the Non-Communicable Diseases,” said the Dean School of Medicine, Makerere University.
Other activities that will be carried out ahead of the Symposium include the Fundraising Dinner that will be held on 12th December 2017, with the aim of supporting and raising money for the Research Fund. “St Augustine International University will pioneer the fundraising drive with 100 million. Let us learn how to support the noble cause,” said H.E King Caesar Augustus Mulenga.
Article by: Mak Public Relations Office
Rotary International President visits Mak
Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.
At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted. President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.
President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims.
Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.
By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.
Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders
The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.
The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.
Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.
Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.
Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.
Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.
“Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.
The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.
The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.
At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.
“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.
On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.
Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.
“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.
Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.
Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.
She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.
Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.
She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.
On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”
At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.
She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.
“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.
Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.
“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.
Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.
He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”
Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.
Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.
Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”
Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.
“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.
The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”
She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.
The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.
Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal
The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25. For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.
Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.
Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY
Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG
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