Uganda has received three pioneering laboratory machines to speed up the process of testing and treating patients for bacterial infections as part of the Fleming Fund Country Grant, which is aimed at helping low and middle income countries tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The machines automate part of the laboratory tests that identify the bacteria causing a patient’s infection and can deliver results to doctors up to 18 hours quicker, saving critical time in the diagnosis of life-threatening conditions.
One of the machines, a mass spectrometer MALDI-TOF, is the first of its kind in Uganda and identifies bacteria in just two minutes, compared with 18-48 hours for conventional testing.
The aim is to improve the surveillance of AMR and generate relevant data that is shared nationally and globally. The £265M programme was set up to address critical gaps in surveillance of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in low and middle-income countries. This is the first major award under the new UK cross government overseas development assistance strategy, contracted through the UK Department of Health and Social Care.
The Lead Grantee is the Infectious Disease Institute and sub-grantees including Department of Medical Microbiology, Pharmacy Department, and the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity at Makerere University; and Department of Medical Microbiology, Mbarara University of Science and Technology. The project, which commenced in October 2018, had an award value of £1,798,971 and focused on strengthening national coordination structures and initiating antimicrobial resistance surveillance using a One Health approach.
The One Health, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, recognizes that the health of people is connected to the health of animals and the environment. It is collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach — working at the local, regional, national, and global levels — with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes.
The Infectious Disease Institute in Makerere University, is helping to facilitate the training, in collaboration with medical equipment supplier BD. IDI is also supporting the development of a national AMR surveillance strategy, a One Health national governance structure and equipment delivery in animal health laboratories.
The equipment includes a BD Phoenix M50 for antimicrobial susceptibility testing and the BACTEC FX40, for automated blood culture which will be strategically positioned at Uganda’s national reference laboratories for human and animal health.
The launch of the Fleming Fund Country Grant in Africa’s partnership with BD took place on the 17th of February 2020 at Serena Hotel Kampala and attracted both local and international distinguished guests from as far as Sri Lanka and India.
“Up until now, treatment in Uganda has been based on symptoms, rather than based on laboratory testing or findings. This often results in misdiagnosis and can increase the risk of drug resistance if patients aren’t administered the correct medicines,” said Clinical Microbiologist for the Fleming Fund’s Management Agent, Mott MacDonald, Emmanuel Azore, who hopes the new machines will mitigate AMR.
“The new partnership between Fleming Fund and BD will bring much needed quality diagnostics for antimicrobial resistance to human health and animal health laboratories. I have no doubt that these will have a direct positive impact on clinical care and generate much needed surveillance data to inform policy and practice,” says Dr Mohamed Larmode, the head of department Global Health Security Programme at the Infectious Diseases Institute.
Article by Tracy Ahumuza, Corporate Communications Specialist, Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI)
4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors
In February 2018, the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme. MURBS hopes to use this Ambassadors Programme to engage more directly with its membership and enhance member education. MURBS further perceives this Programme as a means to mitigate succession planning risks.
MURBS Fund Value continues to grow, and as at 31st March 2021, it stood at Ushs 235.5bn as compared to Ushs 209.6bn as at 30th June 2020. Given this growth, there is increased need for prospective Trustees, who are well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, and with practical exposure to the management and governance of MURBS.
- Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
- Must be an Active Member of the Scheme (currently contributing to the Scheme) and appear on the Official Register of the MURBS Active Membership as at 30th April 2021.
- Must be willing to commit time to trainings and other ambassadorial activities organised by the Scheme.
Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors
Training for this (4th) Cohort of Ambassadors is envisaged to be conducted over the zoom online platform only, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Scheme does not envisage any face-to-face interactions.
Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal
There is no tenure of office for the Departmental Ambassador. As long as a member is willing to continue serving as an Ambassador, and the Ambassador continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria above, she or he will remain a MURBS Ambassador.
How to Apply
Interested members should complete the MURBS Departmental Ambassador Application Form 01-0218. The completed Form together with the requested attachments should be sent to info[at]murbs.mak.ac.ug and copy to wilber.naigambi[at]mak.ac.ug no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021. We discourage hand delivery of applications.
MURBS shall acknowledge receipt of each application received within 12 hours and will respond to the applicants to confirm the status of their application in writing (by e-mail). Upon approval of the application, the name of the approved Ambassador together with the Department and School/Unit will be updated on the list of the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors in the Group 4 category and published on the MURBS website.
NOTE: There is no limit as to the number of ambassadors that MURBS can have in a department.
Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.
Chair Council Communication on Closure of Makerere University
7th June 2021
All Members of Staff
All Students and Stakeholders
RE: CLOSURE OF MAKERERE UNIVERSITY
Following the address to the Nation by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, on 6th June 2021, this is to inform you that the University will be closed with effect from today 7th June 2021 for 42days.
During the closure, the University shall observe a 30% physical presence of staff while other faculty and administrative staff shall continue to work online.
Management will inform staff and students on the implementation of teaching, learning, and research activities online. Construction activities shall continue as per the President’s directives and with strict adherence to the COVID-19 SOPs.
Lorna Magara (Mrs.)
Chairperson, Makerere University Council
RUFORUM: Transforming Higher Education Videos and Links
Video Series developed by Julieta Mazzola, EARTH University.
- What is Community Engagement? Video 1 of 3. https://youtu.be/etv2-W1U3O0
- Different Forms of University Engagement with the Community. Video 2 of 3. https://youtu.be/73h2p8P0BLw
- Student learning through Community Engagement. Video 3 of 3. https://youtu.be/Ule3P1-tjC4
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