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Mak-UC Berkeley-Pathfinder Set To Promote PHE Research & Policy in Uganda

  • In General
  • 27 Jun 2018 - 2:17pm
  • By Mark Wamai
  • 1,429
The Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (2nd L) and UC Berkeley's Dr. Robin Marsh (3rd L) flanked by L-R: Dr. Cyprian Misinde, Pathfinder's Ms. Jackline Nakajubi, Dr. Sarah Ssali and Mr. Mfitumukiza David after the meeting on 27th June 2018, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe on Wednesday, 27th June 2018 held discussions with the University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)’s Dr. Robin Marsh and Pathfinder International Uganda’s Ms. Nakajubi Jackline on the possibility of  integrating the Population, Health and Environment (PHE) approach in Makerere University’s curricular, research and student projects. Dr. Marsh is a Senior Researcher/Socio-Economist with the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues (ISSI), UC Berkeley while Ms. Nakajubi is Pathfinder’s Health of People and Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE LVB) Project Coordinator.

Giving a preamble to the discussion, The Principal, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Dr. Eria Hisali noted that the work currently being done by UC Berkely and Pathfinder under the PHE HoPE-LVB project in Mayuge and Wakiso Districts is important to Uganda and as such would greatly benefit students and the community when integrated into the Makerere curriculum.

“We have deliberated on to the possibility integrating PHE into our graduate programmes in a phased approach. PHE is a very multidisciplinary as it touches on Public Health, Gender Studies, Environment, Statistics, Environmental Health, One Health among others” said Dr. Hisali.

He therefore thanked Dr. Marsh and Ms. Nakajubi for reaching out to Makerere University and hoped that the PHE integration would receive the full support of Senate and Management.

R-L: Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Dr. Eria HIsali and Dr. Cyprian Misinde during the discussions on PHE integration into Mak's curricula

Speaking as a socio-economist with over 25 years of experience with a keen interest in how agriculture interacts with the environment, gender equality and reproductive health, Dr. Marsh thanked the Vice Chancellor and staff present for sparing time to discuss the proposed intiative.

“I have taught in the field of Population, Environment and Development at UC Berkeley's College of Natural Resources for over fourteen years. I also coordinate our PHE work in East Africa, supported by Pathfinder International under which we run student practicums for graduate students” Dr. Marsh shared.

She added that the student practicums offer UC Berkeley students the opportunity to work with peers from Makerere University and the University of Dar-es-Saaam, “which enhances two-way learning as the students support each other on ongoing research projects.”

To facilitate PHE integration into the curriculum, Dr. Marsh shared that a two-day Interdisciplinary Faculty Workshop is being proposed for early November; so as to coincide with the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) scheduled to take place from 12th to 15th November in Kigali, Rwanda. The proposed workshop will give faculty the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the PHE conceptual framework and current projects, as well as review the curricula of existing courses with the intent of incorporating PHE content.

R-L: Dr. Sarah Ssali, Ms. Jackline Nakajubi and Dr. Robin Marsh during the PHE meeting on 27th June 2018

At the country level, the National PHE Strategy has already been drafted and is expected to be approved this year, with the Ministry of East African Community Affairs as the host and coordinating body, taking into consideration the importance of Lake Victoria to the EAC member countries. Ms. Nakajubi further shared that Pathfinder International Uganda and its partners would work with the National Population Council (NPC) as the lead technical agency to help implement the strategy.  

In his remarks, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe welcomed Dr. Marsh and Ms. Nakajubi to Makerere University and thanked them for sharing their proposal. “This is a very wonderful initiative especially as Population, Health and Environment issues deeply impact every single Ugandan community.”

Citing recent reports that put Uganda’s population estimate at 100million by 2030, Prof. Nawangwe expressed fear that this was a disaster waiting to happen unless measures were taken to adequately plan for increased food production and health provision, especially in the wake of climate change and increasing incidences of diseases such as ebola.

“The rate at which the current population is destroying the environment is alarming! As the population increases, this can only get worse. On the PHE front, almost every discipline in the University has a role to play and as such, Makerere, through the Department of Population Studies would love to take lead in making a contribution” remarked Prof. Nawangwe before reassuring the team of the University Management’s full support for the initiative.   

The meeting was attended by the Dean School of Women and Gender Studies-Dr. Sarah Ssali, Head Department of Population Studies-Dr. Cyprian Misinde and Mr. Mfitumukiza David, Climate Adaptation Specialist, Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI),

Article by Public Relations Office

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