In recent years, there has been an increase in hospital and community acquired infections globally. Scientists all over the world have continued to emphasize the importance of hand hygiene as one of the most effective methods of prevention and control of infectious diseases including resistant microbes. Recently, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) in partnership with Pharmacy Department, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and BioSecurity (COVAB), Nottingham Trent University (NTU), Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (BHT), the Ministry of Health, and Wakiso District Local Government trained over 200 Community Health Workers (CHWs), locally known as Village Health Teams (VHTs). The training held in Kajjansi Town Council, Wakiso District was on antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) with emphasis on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) practices particularly handwashing. This training was conducted as part of a project on AMS funded by the Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship Scheme (CwPAMS), an initiative of Commonwealth Pharmacists Association (CPA) and Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) under the Fleming Fund of the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
Following these trainings, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (BHT) with support of the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association spearheaded a fundraising campaign using crowd-funding that raised resources to extend the reach of AMS and IPC activities to other areas of Wakiso district. In early March 2020, a team from Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) led by Dr. David Musoke (Lecturer, Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health) trained all CHWs on Bussi and Zzinga Islands on Lake Victoria in Wakiso district on IPC practices with emphasis on hand washing with soap. This training was timely given the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected over 940,000 people and led to more than 47,000 deaths globally, with hand washing as the critical prevention method recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Ministry of Health (MOH).
The CHWs were taught the importance and proper hand washing technique which was further illustrated with the Glo Germ gel experiment. In addition to the training, every CHW was provided with a hand washing facility which included a plastic jerry can and metallic stand.
Bussi Secondary School, Zzinga Health Centre II, Bishop Kauma Zzinga Primary School, and selected local leaders also received hand washing facilities. During a session at Bussi Secondary School, Dr. Musoke sensitized students on infection prevention practices such as hand washing with emphasis on its importance in the prevention of the Coronavirus among other diseases.
The Zzinga Health Centre II in-charge Ms. Christine Wanyana greatly appreciated Makerere University and partners for considering island communities for health promotion interventions.
“Thank you Dr. Musoke and your team at Makerere University. We also want to extend our sincere appreciation to the UK colleagues particularly Buckinghamshire hospital and the Commonwealth Pharmacists Association that led the fundraising for these handwashing facilities. Our VHTs have been empowered and I am sure they will be change agents in our communities. We are also grateful for the cleaning equipment that has been given to our health centre to improve sanitation.” Ms. Wanyana said.
The CHWs were very happy to have been empowered with not only knowledge but also provided with facilities with which to wash their hands as a means of improving sanitation and hygiene within their communities.
One of the CHWs said: “I am happy that I will have this handwashing facility in my home. Other members of the community will learn from me how to wash their hands. I am also pleased that we have been the first CHWs to be selected to receive these hand washing facilities in the entire Busiro South constituency despite the remoteness of these islands.”
During the handover of the hand washing facilities to the CHWs, Mr. Stanley Kabuye, the LC III Chairperson of Bussi sub county, Wakiso district emphasized how these hand washing facilities will help in the fight against diarrheal diseases and the emerging Corona virus. As Dr. Musoke addressed the CHWs, he thanked them for the tremendous work they do, and encouraged them to be proud of their contribution to the health system despite being volunteers.
“Don’t think you are not making an impact in our country. As VHTs, you do a lot of work to promote health and prevent diseases in your communities. You go to people’s homes and educate them about health issues, which cannot be by done health workers who are primarily based at health facilities, among other numerous roles you play. You therefore contribute significantly to the overall health of the community and your sacrifices as volunteers make a very big impact within the country.” Dr. Musoke emphasized.
The capacity building on IPC was conducted after a 2-day training of CHWs on non-communicable diseases in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, UK with funding support from the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) England.
Mak Commissions CoVAB@50 Celebrations, Awards Certificates
The College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) on Thursday 17th June, 2021 commenced celebrations to mark 50 Years of Veterinary Higher Education, Science, Technology, Innovation and Services (HESTIS) in Uganda. The blended event held at the Industrial Livestock Research, Incubation and Skilling (ILRIS) Center at Nakyesasa, Namulonge as well as online was presided over by the Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma and First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports (MoES), Hon. Janet Museveni both represented by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.
The event, held as part of Makerere University Centenary Celebrations (1922-2022) was a moment of celebration for 1,930 skilled livestock agribusiness entrepreneurs who were awarded certificates in recognition of completion of their respective courses. Owing to the strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) instituted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to curb the spread of COVID-19, the students from Incubation Hubs in Atiak, Butaleja, Mubende, Nakyesasa, Sheema and Wakiso were awarded their certificates virtually.
In her remarks read by Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Hon. Janet Museveni thanked Makerere University for supporting grassroots level development through groundbreaking innovations under the Africa Institute for Strategic Services and Development-Skills for Production Enterprise Development and Accreditation (AFRISA-SPEDA) model.
“I am extremely pleased that Makerere University, through those innovative approaches, has developed and launched the alternative approach to building human capital and transferring knowledge to enterprises in communities.
“I would like to encourage all those involved in skills development to adopt methodologies that transform those trainees that go through these programs in ways that enable them also transform the societies they live in” read the Minister’s remarks.
She further noted that commissioning of the CoVAB@50 celebrations was both timely and rewarding. “The commissioning of the college innovations indeed has made meaning. This is a true path to growth of an Academic and Development College of the University, and we congratulate you again.”
Addressing the congregation as Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated CoVAB alumna and incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) under the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero upon her recent appointment. “We thank His Excellency the President for identifying you. Science is in good hands.”
Prof. Nawangwe urged Dr. Musenero to address the structures of managing research and innovation in Uganda, “including the role of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and the apparent need to establish a Research Council for Uganda.”
In the same breath he thanked the outgoing and pioneer Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumuwesigye, for his role in ensuring that the ministry is empowered to carry out its mandate.
The Chancellor congratulated CoVAB upon training the bulk of Veterinary Doctors in Uganda over the last 50 years and more recently, Laboratory Technologists at the highest level. He recognised Makerere University‘s obligation to contribute to the economic self-determination of Uganda and thanked CoVAB for conducting research that addresses hindrances to national development, especially in the livestock industry.
“The anti-tick vaccine is one of such innovations which will solve the huge problem of tick-borne diseases that have caused enormous losses to our farmers. There are many other problems on which the college is researching and we thank you for the enthusiasm” he added.
The Chancellor commended CoVAB for being the vanguard of transformation of the grassroots communities through the SPEDA model. “I urge Government to fund this important initiative so that it can more meaningfully contribute to solving the big problem of youth unemployment.”
In her remarks, Dr. Monica Musenero commended the Principal, CoVAB, Prof. John David Kabasa for fulfilling the College’s dream of enabling the masses who drop out of the education value chain as well as those who complete education but have no skills for livelihood, to attain certification in agribusiness entrepreneurship.
“Many people attain academic success and write papers, publish and they become professors but without demonstrable impact on their nation. You have shown by the thousands that you have touched nationwide that indeed you are a professor of national transformation. Congratulations,” remarked Dr. Musenero.
She therefore congratulated the teams at CoVAB and AFRISA upon successfully conceiving and executing a model that is non-traditional, informal, not easily understood and not documented in any textbooks.
As Minister, Dr. Musenero noted that witnessing thousands of individuals from across the country whose skills had been honed through a university programme receiving certificates gave her a lot of hope and material to embark on her tenure with. “I will be looking forward to harnessing these resources as we initiate work on the next leg of Science, Technology and Innovation in the country under the President’s Office.”
The invitation to the Principal, CoVAB to present students for the award of the ordinary diplomas, ordinary certificates and artisan certificates was given by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba. He congratulated the awardees upon successfully completing their respective courses and graduating with evidence on an enterprise.
Prof. Kabasa clarified that the approach used to train the day’s awardees was not simply a vocational skilling. “The combination of action research with knowledge transfer, skilling, plus assessment and accreditation processes done by organs like the DIT (Directorate of Industrial Training, MoES) has given us this result, for the University to provide true leadership and transformation of the community.”
Present at the celebrations were the Director, DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick and the Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES Madam Elizabeth Bateme who have worked through the Academic-Community-Public-Private-Partnership model to ensure that students graduate as entrepreneurs with micro enterprises.
Prior to presiding over the ceremony, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports officially commissioned the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre – Nakyesasa.
UNMA Advisory on Agriculture and Food Security Jun-Aug 2021
The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) on 7th June 2021 released the seasonal rainfall outlook for the June-July-August (JJA) 2021 period. Contained in the outlook were advisories to various strategic sectors of the economy.
Particularly, the advisory to the Agriculture and Food Security sector was;
- JJA season is often part of the normal dry season in the areas of South-western, western, parts of the eastern, and central Uganda. The farming communities in these areas are therefore advised to be vigilant during post-harvest handling by considering proper drying of the harvest on clean surfaces, use of tarpaulins and drying on racks;
- Preparation of good storage facilities of produce to avoid compromising on quality and safety;
- Channeling of the run-off water into the gardens in order to maximize on the soil moisture conservation;
- For those areas where near normal to above normal rainfall is expected (most parts of northern and eastern Uganda), farmers are encouraged to continue with regular weeding, pest and disease surveillance and control;
- Due to the expected enhanced rainfall in those areas, water logging and proliferation of fungal and bacterial crop diseases are likely to occur.
- Open drainage channels around household and gardens to reduce risks from stagnant water causing damage to root tuber crops;
- Flash floods and waterlogging are highly anticipated to occur in low lying areas expected to receive enhanced rainfall such as Katakwi and Kapelebyong. Therefore, communities are encouraged to keep watch over their crops, animals and property;
- In Karamoja sub-region, where wetter conditions are expected, the pastoral communities are advised to diversify into boosting the production of cereals (sorghum, millet, and maize), beans, and ground nuts and sustain pasture availability for livestock.
Please see Downloads for the detailed outlook.
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.
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