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Mak Research on Natural Enemies of Bacteria Excites Farmers

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“Eating Healthy, Eating Safe:  The Natural Enemies of Bacteria Approach.”

The world is facing a health problem arising from the usage of chemicals, anti-biotics and other drugs in farming hence the need for alternative approaches aimed at providing healthy and safe products for both human and animal consumption.

To find a lasting solution, a team of researchers at Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security embarked on a three year research project to enhance the health and safety of fish in Uganda and Ghana.

This was revealed during the Stakeholders’ meeting for SafeFish project officially opened by Prof. David J. Kabasa, Principal of Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security on Thursday 15th August 2019. The meeting attracted farmers from the Northern, Central, Eastern and Western regions of Uganda, Government Officials, and representatives from the fish sector, policy makers, academicians and partners under the One Health Approach.

The three year research (December 2018 to December 2021) dubbed the SafeFish project is an innovation championed by Makerere University and other partners to boost the Aquaculture sector by developing natural enemies of bacteria (bacteriophages) to improve fish health management, ensure safe  fish production and increase fish productivity for local consumption and export.

Through the SafeFish project, the on-going research seeks to tap into the opportunities presented by the ever increasing demand for fish at the national and global levels, reduce the threats from diseases that affect fish, and conform to guidelines from health regulators such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Union against the use of chemicals, anti-biotics and other drugs in fish farming.

According to the Principal Investigator, Dr. Jesca Lukanga Nakavuma, the SafeFish project is an innovation that provides a safe and healthy alternative of using natural enemies of disease-causing agents (bacteriophages) to improve disease prevention and control in farmed fish.   

Dr. Nakavuma who is also a Senior Lecturer and Microbiologist at Makerere University highlighted that in this era of rampant drug resistance, phages are currently explored globally as alternatives for management of bacterial diseases. Bacteriophages are enemies of bacteria and occur naturally in the environment and in gastrointestinal tract of animals and humans where specific bacteria exist.

“In the developed countries, phages are already being used to ensure that citizens consume healthy and safe products. It is therefore timely for the developing world to follow suit. The SafeFish project championed by Makerere University in collaboration with partners will ensure that Ugandans and Africans in general develop and use phages (bacteriophages) in fish farming,” said Dr. Nakavuma.  

Funded by the African Union, the SafeFish project will develop bacteriophage cocktails as fish disease bio-control agents for improved aquaculture productivity among tilapia farmers, and for economic and social development by addressing food and nutrition safety in Ghana and Uganda.

Prof. Kabasa commended Dr. Nakavuma and the entire research team for competing and winning the African Union Grant and contributing to the realization of the Makerere University research agenda through the SafeFish project that will impact lives nationally and globally.

“I encourage you to put much effort on the research for phages. The SafeFish research will impact lives nationally and globally. World over, there is an increasing demand for eating healthy products with special attention to white meat such as fish. So, development of phages through the SafeFish project undertaken by Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security will reduce the burden of diseases affecting fish, result in safe and healthy fish as well as increased productivity of fish,” said Prof. Kabasa.

With the development and application of phages in fish farming, Prof. Kabasa envisioned a booming Aquaculture sector in Uganda with fish farmers earning mega income from supplying fish for local consumption and export.

“The statistics indicate that out of the current demand for fish, you are only supplying 0.01% of fish.  You should therefore embrace the SafeFish project to come up with phages (bacteriophages) to boost fish farming. When you increase the supply of fish and meet the market demand for fish worldwide, you will bid farewell to unemployment and poverty,” he remarked amidst applause from farmers, policy makers, representatives of Government, academia and private sector.

Dr. Rose Ann Ademun, the Commissioner-Animal Resources at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries stressed the importance of regulation in fish farming. “Regulation is for the good of us. With regulation, we are in position to ensure quality and safety of products. I also encourage farmers and researchers to always report diseases affecting fish to the Chief Veterinary Officer,” she said.

Commenting on the need for Stakeholder engagement and involvement, Dr. John Walakira, Member of the Research Team informed the participants that the research team has reached out to a number of partners. Dr. Walakira pointed out that the ongoing research has been enriched by field visits, interactions with fish farmers, stakeholder meetings and a series of trainings.

“We visited most of the fish farms in Uganda. We interacted with farmers. We are today holding the Buy-In workshop for stakeholders. We will continue to involve the fish farmers and other stakeholders at the next levels of this research. We will also conduct a series of trainings.”

Presenting the Policy issues in the fisheries sector, Dr. Maureen Nanziri Mayanja, a Member of the Research team reiterated that the SafeFish project research on alternative approaches to disease management on top of others will be a contribution to the ecological factor considerations.  “This is an ecological safe way of managing fish and aquaculture in general.”

Important Facts:

Mak Research Team comprises: Dr. Jesca Lukanga Nakavuma, Dr. John Walakira, Dr. Samuel P. Wamala, Mr. Deus Kamya, Dr. Claire M. Mugasa, Dr. Maureen N. Mayanja, supported by Ms. Lillian Tukahirwa and Ms Rose Vivian Mudumba.

The Safe Fish Project Partners include: NARO-NaFIRRI, Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences-University of Cape Coast, Ghana, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Food Research Institute of Ghana, CSIR-Water Research Institute of Ghana, Fishery and Aquaculture Division, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research; University of Ghana-Legon, Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Leicester, UK.

Article by: Ritah Namisango, Mak Public Relations Office

 

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Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution

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Left to Right: Prof. Gunnar Köhlin, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Amb. Maria Håkansson, Commissioner Julius Mafumbo and Prof. Edward Bbaale posing for a group photo before the opening ceremony on 22nd September 2022: Photo by EfD-Mak Centre.

The Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe on Thursday 22nd September, 2022 participated in the opening of the EfD Annual meeting hosted by Makerere University at Speke Resort Munyonyo where he appealed to government to implement the ban on kaveera and address other environmental issues.

The opening ceremony moderated by the EfD Global Hub Manager Gunnar Köhlin and was graced by Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment represented by the Commissioner for Water, Mr. Julius Mafumbo and the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Maria Håkansson.

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Prof. Nawangwe urges Makerere University community to support the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative

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By Bernard Buteera

Makerere University has launched a two million dollar E-learning Project, dubbed The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative.  

The launch was held on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at Makerere University, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium. It attracted over 200 participants, who included members of University Management, College Principals, School Deans, Academic and Administrative staff, students and the general university community.

While addressing the gathering, the Chief Guest, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), congratulated Makerere University for winning such a huge grant, which will go a long way in transforming the eLearning infrastructure at Makerere University.

“I am happy to be joining you in launching a project that is at the heart of National Council for Higher Education. Online learning is at the heart of the Council, not only because of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the world is now a digital world.” Prof. Okwakol remarked.

Prof. Okwakol thanked Mastercard Foundation and other development partners who have continued to support initiatives that help transform higher institutions of learning in Uganda.

“I sincerely thank the Mastercard Foundation and other partners who have continued to support higher education in Uganda, especially in the area of research and online learning. Globally, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly disrupted education systems forcing learners and some schools to shift to virtual learning to curb the spread of the pandemic.” Prof. Okwakol pointed out.

On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe urged the university community, especially the academic staff to take advantage of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning initiative to develop e-content across all Colleges of the University, to enhance capacity for eLearning at Makerere University.

[L -R] Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative and Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

”I appeal to the Colleges to embrace this project and have as many courses adopt this pedagogy development system, even though students will continue with face-to face and phyisical learning, they should be allowed the option of online learning. The platforms that are going to be built, will give our students an opportunity to interact with international students, scholars, teachers and with each other.” Prof. Nawangwe applealed.

The Vice Chancellor, further called upon all other development partners to emulate Mastercard Foundation in supporting Makerere University and other universities on the entire African continent in strengthening digital literacy, so that Africa is not left behind.

”In 2018 I attended a conference on E-learning in Beijing China, where a critical question was asked; Will Africa be left behind again? This was in reference to many advancements that were taking place in the western world, in which Africa had been left behind.” The Vice Chancellor reminded the audience.

Prof. Nawangwe further emphaised the importance of e-learning as one of the critical modes of teaching and learning in the 21st first century.   

”Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot over emphasise the importance we attach to e-learning the 21st Century, that is why we took a decision to elevate the Department of Open and Distance Learning into an Institute of Open and Distance E-learning with an intention of having e-learning extended to other Colleges of the university.” Prof. Nawangwe pointed out.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, and Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, rallied the University community to support the implementation of the project in the University.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative could not have come in at a better time than post COVID19 era. A pandemic, which exposed our systems and methods of teaching and learning. You all recall, when were hit by the pandemic, with lockdowns and closures of institutions of learning, we all went into a panicky mode on how were going to cope with online learning. I therefore call upon every member of the university to give this project the support it deserves.

Prof. Kakumba reminded the audience the importance and relevancy of online learning at Makerere University and other universities in Uganda.

“The online method of learning is best suited for everyone. This digital revolution has led to remarkable changes in how the content is accessed, consumed, discussed, and shared. Office goers and stay home mothers can take up online educational courses too, at the time that suits them. Depending on their availability and comfort, many people choose to learn at weekends or evenings.” Prof. Kakumba remarked.

Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative, informed the audience the importance of the project and the expected outcomes for the University.

One of the Champions of e-learning trained by Arizona State University, Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda receiving a certificate from Chief Guest.

“The Mastercard Foundation e- Learning Initiative is a Project funded by Mastercard Foundation aimed at addressing the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic that constrained access and continuity of teaching, learning, research and community engagement activities at Makerere University” Prof. Muyinda pointed out.

Prof. Muyinda further thanked the team that he worked with in putting up the proposal in a very short time that yielded such an important grant for the University.

“I thank the team that spent sleepless nights putting together the proposal that resulted into this project. I must report that Makerere University is privileged to be having the most highly qualified persons in online instruction design and online pedagogy at the IODeL and beyond. It is now up to Makerere University in particular and the Country in general to make use of these persons to transform the terrain of online, blended distance and e-learning education.” Prof. Muyinda remarked.

Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, informed the audience, that the E-learning initiative was one of the many partnerships between Mastercard Foundation and Makerere University geared at supporting the young people to succeed on the African continent.

Members of University Management, staff and students present.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program continues to recognize that in order to enable young people across Africa to succeed, there is need to; Address systemic barriers in Higher education, Strengthen the capacity of Institutions that serve the Young People, and Support innovative solutions across critical sectors.” Prof. Namaalwa remarked.

The colourful launch ended with a panel discussion in which panelists digested the importance and opportunities for open distance and eLearning in higher institutions of learning.

Bernard Buteera is the Communications Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.

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Supplementary Admissions to Bachelor of Laws Under Private Sponsorship 2022/23

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Mak-Undergraduate-Admissions-2021-2022

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University, informs applicants wishing to be admitted to Bachelor of Laws Private for 2022/2023 Academic year but failed to submit their application online to submit their applications from Friday 23rd to Friday 30th September, 2022 at a non-refundable fee of 50,000/= (Fifty thousand shillings only).

The applicants MUST have passed the Pre-entry Examinations for Bachelor of Laws.

Diploma/Degree holders should submit certified copies of their academic transcript to Room
315 Level 3, Senate Building.

Applicants who have already been admitted need not apply.

For any additional information, contact Undergraduate Admissions Offices 301/303 for A’Level Applicants and Office 315 for Diploma/Degree holders.

ALFRED MASIKYE NAMOAH
AG. ACADEMIC REGISTRAR
Date: 22nd September, 2022

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