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MakSPH Breaks Ground for New On-Campus Home



L-R: Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Uganda-H.E. Henk Jan Bakker, Dr. Lynn Atuyambe, Architect-Mrs. Collins, Ag. DVCFA-Prof. William Bazeyo, Dean MakSPH-Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze and the Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe show their support for the building project after the Groundbreaking on 28th February 2020, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

On Friday 28th February, 2020 Members of Management and Staff of the Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) were joined by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Uganda, H.E. Henk Jan Bakker to break ground for the new MakSPH home on the Main Campus. Located right at the entrance of the University’s Eastern Gate opposite the Estate and Works Department, the site was a hive of activity despite the early morning downpour that left ground well soaked.  

Students from the Department of Performing Arts and Film (PAF), College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) set the tone for the groundbreaking ceremony with their lively performance of the Ugandan, Dutch, East African Community and Mak anthems. Their performance of "Het Wilhelmus" (The William); the National Anthem of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in particular had the Ambassador awestruck as they expertly navigated the difficult stanzas in Dutch.

Welcoming the gathering, the Dean MakSPH, Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze shared that groundbreaking for the new eight-storey building worth US$9.8million came 66 years after the Department of Preventive Medicine was founded, which later gave birth to the first Institute of Public Health in Africa in 1974.

“This groundbreaking also comes 48 years since our home in Mulago was launched, which coincidentally, was also built by ROKO” remarked the Dean.

ROKO won the contract to build the new 14,969square metre facility. The building will house tutorial rooms, demonstration and innovation laboratories, auditoria as well as space for research fellows, doctoral students and post-doctoral trainees.

The Dean MakSPH-Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze (Left) makes her remarks at the groundbreaking ceremony on 28th February 2020, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

Quoting the Former Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson, Prof. Wanyenze said “Each of us is carving a stone, erecting a column, or cutting a piece of stained glass in the construction of something much bigger than ourselves.”

In this regard, she pointed out that building the new home wasn’t the biggest thing MakSPH was going to undertake but rather it was training personnel with the capability to drive the change the School would like to see. “Schistosomiasis still stands at more than 30% prevalence in Uganda, the fight against the coronavirus outbreak is ongoing and so we cannot underestimate the role of the School of Public Health in protecting Uganda and Africa.”

The Dean shared that whereas MakSPH had raised only 20% of the total project budget, the School could not afford to postpone breaking ground any longer as the public health needs were great. These were occasioned by challenges such as rapid population growth and urbanization, epidemics and pandemics of emerging and re-emerging pathogens, refugee crises due to natural disasters and armed conflicts among others. She thanked Amb. Bakker and the Netherlands Government as well as other partners for contributing to the 20% collected so far.

The Principal College of Health Sciences (CHS), Prof. Charles Ibingira congratulated MakSPH upon embarking on the new project as it adds to the college’s list of recently undertaken infrastructure developments. He took note of; establishment of the CHS Research Support Centre, Renovation of various Laboratories and the Albert Cook Medical Library, Establishment and extension of the Dental Hospital and School on the Main Campus as well as completion of the IDI-McKinnell Knowledge Centre as some of these projects.

Part of the audience that attended the MakSPH Main Campus Building Project groundbreaking ceremony

Prof. Ibingira paid special tribute to the University Council for allocating land for the construction of the new MakSPH home and the University Management, the Ambassador and all partners for honouring the invitation to attend the ceremony. Present at the ceremony were the Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)-Dr. Umar Kakumba and the Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration)-Prof. William Bazeyo.

Also present were the Acting University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda, Academic Registrar-Mr. Alfred Namoah Masikye, Director Estates and Works-Eng. Christina Kakeeto and the Manager Procurement and Disposal-Mr. Paul Agaba among others.

In his remarks, Prof. William Bazeyo a former Dean MakSPH (2009-2017) shared that the journey to build the new home started in 2014 with a fundraising drive embraced by all staff then. “I believe that there is no 80% deficit on this project because we have friends who will not abandon us, especially now that we have found the starting capital.”

Prof. Bazeyo thanked Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze for carrying forward the MakSPH dream and not diverting the building funds to other projects. He pledged his support to the successful completion of the project and urged all present to always “be a contribution”.

Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Uganda-H.E. Henk Jan Bakker (Left) and the Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Right) enjoy a light moment during the MakSPH Building Project groundbreaking on 28th February 2020, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

Prior to inviting the Ambassador to deliver his remarks, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe noted that it was literally unheard of for employees in Uganda to contribute their personal resources to public infrastructure projects. He therefore commended MakSPH staff for leading by example, describing their act as “a great display of patriotism.”

“As a university, we must remain committed to ensuring that our country achieves the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through contributing to the training of high quality graduates. The College of Health Sciences is our flagship of research excellence, accounting for 50% of our research output as an institution” said the Vice Chancellor.

Prof. Nawangwe noted that construction of the New MakSPH home was going to be one of the flagship projects as Makerere University kicks off her Centennial Celebrations and urged the contractor ROKO to deliver good quality work.

The Guest of Honour H.E. Henk Jan Bakker started by expressing his gratitude to PAF students for pulling off the feat of singing the Dutch National Anthem. “Dutch is a very difficult language for non-natives to properly pronounce let alone sing and I thank the students of Performing Arts for a job well done.”

He noted that Uganda is better placed than many other countries in Africa to respond to outbreaks of diseases like Ebola because its citizens are educated, thanks largely to efforts of MakSPH. The Ambassador equally commended the team spirit exhibited by MakSPH staff in owning the project by making personal contributions.

Front Row R-L: Eng. Christina Kakeeto, Mrs. Collins, Dr. Lynn Atuyambe, Prof. David Serwadda, Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah, Prof. Charles Ibingira and part of the audience that attended the MakSPH groundbreaking ceremony.

Ambassador Bakker shared that the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands had contributed approximately US$300,000 towards establishment of a state-of-the-art auditorium in the new home, equipped with ultramodern ICT equipment. He added that his government had contributed to the improvement and refurbishment of the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Centre under MakSPH in Kasangati as part of a five-year project. The Ambassador pledged his Government’s readiness to continue supporting the four priorities of; Food and Nutrition Security, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, the Justice Law and Order Sector as well as Refugees and Host communities in Northern Uganda.

Prior to the official groundbreaking ceremony, the former Dean MakSPH (2003-2009), Prof. David Serwadda moved the vote of thanks to various stakeholders such as the Government of Uganda; for giving VAT exemption for all building materials for the project through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and the University Management for maintaining an open-door policy towards the School. He also thanked the of the Kingdom of the Netherlands through Erasmus University Rotterdam, Johns Hopkins University as well as institutions like the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Uganda Aids Commission (UAC) and many other agencies for contributing to the project and MakSPH’s growth over the years.

Equally recognized by the day’s emcee, Ms. Harriet Adong, were representatives from; Ernst & Young, NC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Absa Bank, BDO Audit Firm, In-Line Print Services and the Media. Also recognized were representatives from MakSPH Projects; ResilientAfrica Network (RAN), Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA) and Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support (METS).


Article by Public Relations Office.

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VC Statement on the Fire Outbreak at the Main Building and Resumption of Classes for Finalists



The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.


In the morning of Sunday 20th September 2020, at around half past midnight, a police patrol team at Makerere University noticed smoke coming out of the roof of the Makerere University Main Administration Building. The patrol team alerted the OC Makerere Police Station, who had been deployed at Nateete Police Station for the night. The OC Makerere Police Station at the time was in the CCTV control room and he zoomed the CCTV cameras to the Main Building and indeed the cameras could show that there was smoke coming out of the building. The OC Station alerted the Makerere University Chief Security Officer who rushed to the Mani Building immediately and arrived at the building about 12:47 am. He first saw smoke coming out of the roof above the offices of the Public Relations Department and soon after fire started coming out of the roof. He immediately alerted the control room to request the Fire Brigade to rush to the scene. The Chief Security Officer also alerted the Vice Chancellor and Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor, who both rushed to the scene. The Fire Brigade arrived at the scene at 1:10 am initially with 2 fire engines which did not have the capacity to jet water to the roof of the building. After about 30 minutes more fire engines with better capacity arrived, but by this time the fire had spread through a big part of the roof. The Fire Brigade managed to subdue the fire at around 4:00 am., but after the entire roof of the building had collapsed and the entire top floor of the building and the entire Finance Department had been burnt. The fire engines experienced a challenge with lack of a fire hydrant within and in the vicinity of the University and had to fetch water from the hydrants at the Fire Brigade Headquarters.

When it appeared to the Fire Brigade that the fire had been completely extinguished, despite smoke still coming off from the Central Registry, they left the site. Unfortunately, fire again broke out in the Council Room at 8:00 pm but the Fire Brigade arrived within 15 minutes and put out the fire within one hour. The Fire Brigade has been on standby on site, fighting small fires throughout the night.

The Main Administration Building is 79 years old, having been completed in 1941. It is an iconic building and is the symbol of higher education in Uganda and the entire East and Central African Region.

The building housed the offices of the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration, the University Secretary, The University Bursar, the Directorate of Human Resources, the Directorate of Internal Audit, the Public Relations Office and the Council Room. The Printery, which is located in the basement of the building was not affected. The building had been fitted with fire extinguishers for fire fighting but these became unusable since the fire started from the roof. Being an old building, it had not been fitted with fire alarms and water sprinklers.

The Main Building is guarded by the University’s security services and the Uganda Police. At the time of the fire outbreak, the officers on duty were inside the building near the entrance and they apparently did not notice the problem until they were alerted by the Chief Security Officer. Those officers are now under Police custody. The cause of the fire is not yet known. The Criminal Investigations Directorate and the Directorate of Forensic Services of the Uganda Police have commenced investigations. Security on main campus has been strengthened.

Practically all the documents in the Directorates of Finance, Human Resource, including the Central Registry, and the Directorate of Internal Audit were destroyed. Fortunately, all hard copies of the financial documents for previous financial years had been moved to the archives, which was not affected by the fire. Similarly all old files in the Central Registry had been moved to the archives. Information of the staff in service has been digitalized and is safely kept on servers, which are not in the Main Building.

The financial documents for the Financial Year 2019/2020 are currently being audited by the Auditor General and were safely evacuated from the Main Building. With the move to the Integrated Finance Management System (IFMS) all financial transactions of the University are automatically backed up electronically at the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. In addition, with the recent financial decentralization at the University, a considerable percentage of the financial documents are kept in the Colleges and administrative Units. All revenue collection including student fees, rent and other payments are received directly by URA, which then transfers the money to the consolidated fund. All payments are similarly made through the IFMS. Management therefore does not keep cash in offices as alleged by some social media reports and there was no loss of cash in the fire. Documents from the offices of the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (F&A) and some of the documents in the Office of the University Secretary which were not razed in the fire were also evacuated. Management is compiling the value of all property lost in the fire, based on the University Inventory and Board of Survey report, which was concluded at the end of August 2020.

All students related data including academic records is stored digitally on the Academic Information Management System (AIMS), which is also backed up at the Ministry of Science and Technology. Hard copy student information is kept in the Senate Building.

The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni, accompanied by the Minister of State for Higher Education and the Permanent Secretary visited Makerere University yesterday and addressed members of Council and Management and pledged Government support to restore the building. During the night of the fire, H.E. The President called the Vice-Chancellor several times requesting for an update on the efforts to extinguish the fire and on the causes of the fire. I thank H.E. The President and the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports for the concern they have shown during this difficult time. I similarly thank the Chancellor, Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of Council as well as other members of Council who responded immediately after this most unfortunate incident unfolded.

This incident has reminded us about two important issues, the need to insure our installations and the need to install fire hydrants on campus. At the height of fires at educational institutions, Council decided that the University should insure all key installations. Due to financial constraints, Council however decided to begin with health insurance for staff and budget for insurance of buildings in the subsequent year. Management requested the Chief Government Valuer made a valuation of the major installations, including the Main Building (UGX 15,434,782,500), the Main Library (UGX 21,569,690,854) and the Senate Building (UGX 20,508,533,625) and submitted a report on 29th November 2019, for purposes of insurance. At this time of receiving the report the budget for the next financial year had already been completed,. Management is in the process of negotiating with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development for provision of funds for insurance of these installations. For several years, Management has budgeted for overhaul of the University’s obsolete underground water reticulation system, including installation of fire hydrants, but no money has been approved in the budgets for this purpose. Management will continue engaging Government on this issue.

The University is now faced with the task of restoring this iconic building in time for the centenary celebrations due in 2022. Management will engage Government and other stakeholders on this very important task. We are grateful to our alumni and well-wishers from around the globe for their show of sympathy and for the desire to contribute to the restoration of the building. We will inform all stakeholders about accounts to which to send their contributions when this is finalized.

Plans are under way to relocate the offices previously in the Main Building as soon as possible. It is proposed that CTF 2 will be used for this purpose.


Arrangements are under way to receive the final year students as directed by Government. Final year medical students will resume studies for the second semester on 3rd October 2020 and end on 28th November 2020. The rest of the final year undergraduate students and the graduate students will report on 17th October 2020 and end on12th December 2020. Arrangements are under way to receive the students. It is proposed that students who were ordinarily residing in halls of residence will be admitted in the halls of residence and the non-residents will continue residing off campus. This is because the capacity of the halls of residence cannot accommodate all of them. Announcements will be made to all the students in good time to allow foreign students undergo quarantine if necessary.

After receipt of clearance by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), teaching for the rest of the students will commence on 15th October 2020. Arrangements for this are under way.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe

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VC Statement on Devastating Fire Incident at Makerere University



The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.

It is a very sad day for the Makerere University community, probably the saddest day in the history Makerere University. Our Iconic building which is the symbol of knowledge and education not only at Makerere University, but also in the East and Central region of Africa has been gutted by fire. The top floor that was housing a lot of our documents has been burnt. These include the; Finance, Internal Audit, Human Resources, Central Registry, University Secretary and Public Relations departments.

I would like to inform all our stakeholders that not all is lost. We are comforted that with the modern digital era, we had digitalized most of the documents.

The biggest task before us is to rebuild this icon of knowledge. With respect to its unique architectural masterpiece, we are planning to rebuild it, without changing its original beauty.

I thank the fire brigade for responding quickly and trying their best to contain the fire. The Uganda Police that has been on the ground since the unfortunate incident happened is still investigating the matter to establish the cause of the accident.

I convey my sympathies to the leadership, staff, students, alumni and all friends of Makerere University and I would like to reassure you that we are going to do everything necessary to restore the Main Building to its original state.

I thank H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni the President of the Republic of Uganda and Visitor of Makerere University for his support throughout this devastating period. In the same spirit, I thank the First Lady who is also the Minister of Education and Sports Hon. Janet Museveni who came immediately this morning upon receipt of the sad news to assess the damage. I acknowledge her efforts to rebuild the Ivory Tower to its original form.

For more information on this matter, please follow the updates on Makerere University social media pages

Twitter: @MakerereU
Facebook: Makerere

We Build for the Future

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe

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Resumption of Teaching and Learning for Final Year CHS Students



Members of the Makerere University College of Health Sciences Students Association (MAKCHSA) pose for a photo ahead of their 1st College Open Day and Alumni Convention held on 1st November 2019.

Featured image: Members of the Makerere University College of Health Sciences Students Association (MAKCHSA) pose for a photo ahead of their 1st College Open Day and Alumni Convention held on 1st November 2019.

This is to inform all Final Year Students of the College of Health Sciences (CHS) that teaching and learning activities which were halted following the closure of education institutions in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19, will resume on Saturday 3rd October 2020.

You are therefore required to report to the Dean of Students for accommodation on 3rd October 2020 and to your respective Deans in the College of Health Sciences on 5th October 2020 for detailed academic and health-related information.

Note that you must strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures put in place by the Ministry of Health to combat the spread of COVID-19 which include among others:

  • Mandatory wearing of a clean mask covering the mouth and nose
  • Social distancing
  • Washing of hands regularly and/or sanitizing hands

Further note that the schedule of the remaining semester shall cover 8 weeks (5 weeks for teaching and learning and 3 weeks of examinations).

Alfred Masikye-Namoah

18th September 2020

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