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Mak Launches RxSolution to Take Health Services to the Top

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The Makerere University Health Services on Thursday 21st November, 2019 launched RxSolution; an integrated pharmaceutical management software, to improve its three pillars of service delivery, training and research. The solution was implemented with support from the USAID Uganda Health Supply Chain (UHSC) Program through the Ministry of Health (MoH).

According to UHSC’s Mr. Michael Kavuma, Mak Health Services is the first public health facility to implement the RxSolution’s dispensing module, which allows users to trace medicine all the way from the stock to the patient, in order to ensure accountability at dispensing level. The dispensing module is linked to the stock module and allows for computerized stock management tasks at patient service points in the outpatient and inpatient departments, Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) clinic, Tuberculosis (TB) clinic, wards, laboratories and other service points.

Mr. Kavuma further shared that RxSolution has been implemented in 276 of Uganda’s 400 higher-level health facilities with Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital, Masaka Regional Referral Hospital and Kayunga General Hospital as pilots. These public facilities can now order for stocks from the National Medical Stores (NMS) using RxSolution software.

UHSC's Mr. Michael Kavuma highlights the benefits RxSolution will bring to Mak Health Services during the launch on 21st November 2019, Makerere University Hospital, Kampala Uganda.

As a result of implanting RxSolution, Mak’s Health Services now stand to benefit from; enhanced service delivery through the solution’s ability to incorporate clinical guidelines, multiple reports that can inform decision making, streamlined patient management which empowers administrators to make prioritized deployments of staff as well as support to planning and budgeting for drug stocks.

The Director Mak Health Services Prof. Josaphat Byamugisha thanked USAID and UHSC for their support in deploying RxSolution as well as training staff on use of the software. He added that RxSolution will go a long way in enhancing the research pillar of Mak Health Services. “We currently have three postgraduate students from the Department of Radiology and a number of undergraduates, especially those speciliazing in Health Management Information Systems.”

Prof. Byamugisha lauded the Health Services Interim Board for the role played in setting the agenda for the Hospital, adding that the Board’s vision is to take Mak Health Services to the level of the University’s continental ranking.

Prof. Josaphat Byamugisha (2nd Left) takes L-R: Dr. Isaac Okullo, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Prof. Charles Ibingira, Dr. Freddy Kitutu, a visitor, Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu Musoke, Mr. Sserunjogi Emmanuel and Ms. Neville Okuna Oteba on a tour of the Triage at Makerere University Hospital, Kampala Uganda.

“We are committed to looking at Health Services beyond just this hospital. We have clinics at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) and in Jinja, so as to bring services closer to not only our staff and students but to the surrounding communities as well” he explained.

The Director shared that Mak Health Services are also open to the public, which currently makes up 10% of the total clientele served. He added that the objective was to increase this percentage significantly, so as to generate funds that can be used to further enhance service delivery and boost the facility’s financial sustainability.

The Dean, School of Health Sciences, Dr. Freddy Kitutu could not help but use the occasion to brag about his School’s enviable position of being home to five key disciplines namely; Allied Health Scientists, Dentists, Nurses, Midwives and Pharmacists, despite its relatively small size and young age. He commended the partners for implementing RxSolutions, noting that reports from the system would make it possible for the Pharmacists to carry out detailed reviews on the use of medicines.

Prof. Josaphat Byamugisha (Centre) and Makerere University Health Services Staff were commended for their quick adoption of the RxSolution Software

Dr. Kitutu reminded the audience that the RxSolution Launch within the World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) 2019 was timely, as this would help Mak Health Services in curtailing the development of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) through improved prescribing and dispensing of antibiotics. He nevertheless noted that prevention is better than cure and called for continued promotion of healthy habits like handwashing.

Speaking on behalf of USAID and UHSC, the Chief of Party, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) Uganda, Mr. Phillip Kamutenga, stated that the support to the Ministry of Health by the partners is meant to ensure that there is uninterrupted supply of medicines in the country. “I am therefore proud that we are going to be witnessing the launch of the dispensing module of RxSolution at the Makerere University Hospital today.”

Mr. Kamutenga emphasised that the traceability of medicines across the supply chain from the stores to the dispensing point is very important and Makerere University is going to be a reference point for all Public Health Units in as far as implementing the dispensing module is concerned. “USAID through the Uganda Health Supply Chain Program has donated the RxSolution, provided 20 computers, set up a Local Area Network and trained clinicians on the system to support this.”

Mr. Phillip Kamutenga (Right) and Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Centre) are given a guided tour of the Optometry Centre by the Coordinator Mr. Dralega Anguyo (Left) during the RxSolution Software launch on 21st November 2019, Makerere University Hospital, Makerere Hill off Gaddafi Road, Kampala Uganda.

He added that there are never enough resources to finance public health the world over and as such, Public Health Facilities can save a lot by reducing on expiries, stock outs and procuring only what is required by their clients.

The day’s lineup of speakers would have been incomplete without a voice from the student body, the biggest beneficiaries of the Mak Health Services. The President, College of Health Sciences (CHS) and Fifth Year Medicine and Surgery student, Mr. Sserunjogi Emmanuel could not hide his joy at being associated with what he described as “a game changing event.”

He therefore commended his Principal for working with the Mak Health Services to deliver quality diagnosis, treatment and follow-up to the Makerere Community and members of the public through the introduction of RxSolution. “The Makerere University Hospital has today become the epitome of digitizing health services in Uganda.”

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (4th L), Mr. Phillip Kamutenga (5th R), Prof. Charles Ibingira (4th R), Dr. Isaac Okullo (3rd R), Prof. Josaphat Byamugisha (2nd Right) and Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu Musoke with Laboratory Staff at the Makerere University Hospital, Kampala Uganda.

The Principal CHS, Prof. Charles Ibingira could not help but laud his colleagues for taking on the challenge of managing the Mak Health Services. He thanked the University Council and Management for assigning his college this responsibility, noting that health services ought to be prioritized for the good of all in the community.

“This hospital has the greatest potential in the country and region; we have the biggest number of specialists at the College, we admit over 400 doctors and health service officers per year and with our vision to create a health management organization present in all Ugandan cities, we could easily become a leading medical tourism destination for the region” remarked Prof. Ibingira.

He therefore thanked USAID, UHSC and the Ministry of Health for working with Makerere University to augment service delivery, training and research efforts within its health services through the implementation of RxSolution. The Principal nevertheless urged the Director Mak Health Services to develop educational programs for staff and students aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles in the face a growing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD)s burden.

L-R: A Lab Staff, Mr. Phillip Kamutenga, Ms. Neville Okuna Oteba, Mr. Sserunjogi Emmanuel, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Prof. Charles Ibingira, Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu Musoke and other guests tour the state-of-the-art Lab at the Makerere University Hospital, Kampala Uganda.

Representing the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Commissioner Pharmaceutical & Natural Medicines, Ms. Neville Okuna Oteba shared that her Ministry is currently pursuing all efforts to ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for Uganda and the successful implementation of integrated pharmaceutical management solutions such as RxSolution lies at the centre of these efforts.  

The Commissioner shared MoH’s expectations of Mak Health Services following the successful implementation of RxSolution, with the need to become a Centre of Excellence topping the list. In this regard, she expressed joy that Hospital Staff had already stood out for the exceptional enthusiasm in embracing the rollout of RxSolution. “The College should now ensure that all students visit the Hospital and learn how to use the system before they graduate.”

Ms. Okuna Oteba also stated that MoH expects RxSolution to promote the use investigative health care practices at the Hospital. “Antimicrobial Resistance is a time bomb waiting to happen and all of us are potential victims. We therefore need to talk more about the seriousness posed by poor prescription and dispensing of medicines.”

She concluded by emphasizing that investment in systems should benefit the people, especially as health facilities progress towards paperless patient care management. The Commissioner also asked the Hospital Administration to ensure that all research findings that can inform policy are shared with the Ministry of Health.

The Chief Radiologist Mak Health Services-Dr. Florence Musoke (Right) walks Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Centre) and Prof. Josaphat Byamugisha (Left) through the capabilities of the state-of-the-art 3D/4D Ultrasound Unit at the Makerere University Hospital, Kampala Uganda on 21st November 2019.

Delivering the concluding remarks prior to launching the system, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated CHS as well as the Mak Health Services Management and Staff upon transforming the face of the Hospital within a short period of time. He particularly expressed happiness at the reducing number of students seeking treatment outside the hospital, a reaffirmation of the improved services.

The Vice Chancellor commended Staff especially in the clinical sciences for their dedication to ensuring that students are well trained, noting that they are our future leaders. In the same breath, he thanked the Ministry of Health for regularly providing Mak staff with various opportunities especially in the form of consultancies.

He equally thanked USAID and UHSC for support rendered to Mak Health Services through the various collaborations, noting that this would translate into increased reports from satisfied clients. Prof. Nawangwe then went ahead to launch the RxSolution as well as tour the state-of-the-art laboratory and modern 3D/4D ultrasound unit. He also toured the specialized clinics in Otorhinolaryngology (ENT), Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), Optometry, Dental, Psychiatry as well as Obstetrics/Gynaecology.

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Rotary International President visits Mak

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The Chairperson of Council, Mrs Lorna Magara (L) presents a plaque to Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta in appreciation of his visit and invaluable service, 15th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University.

By Hasifa Kabejja

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.

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Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders

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The "Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research" Phase One Study dissemination poster for the event held on 14th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University and Online.

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.

The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine
The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine

 “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.  

The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.
The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.

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.  

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.

“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.

A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.
A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.

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.

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Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal

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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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