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Mak Launches Coronavirus Immune Therapy (COVIDIT) Study

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Makerere University through its Centre of Excellence for Lung Science, the Makerere University Lung Institute (MLI) in collaboration with Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) Medical Services, Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS), Mulago National Referral Hospital and Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) has initiated a project to assess the feasibility, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 Immune Therapies in Uganda. The project is code named Coronavirus (COVID-19) Immune Therapy (COVIDIT). A team of researchers is harvesting blood from individuals who recovered from COVID-19 and processing it further in preparation for use as treatment for COVID-19 in Uganda.

The first phase of this project is funded by the Government of the Republic of Uganda through Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF).

Tuesday 16th June, 2020 marked the kick-off of the plasma donation and processing Work Package in which individuals that have recovered from COVID-19 undergo the donation exercise, with subsequent processing of the collected samples. The kick-off ceremony was held in the Lower Mulago National Referral Hospital Private Outpatients Compound.

The donation processes will be managed by UBTS following usual blood donation standards. UBTS will store the plasma and distribute it for use in the trial (Refer to WP2 below). The kick-off of the donation exercise was witnessed by representatives from the partner institutions and key stakeholders such as Dr. Charles Olaro, Director Health Services who represented Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Uganda's Minister of Health. A plasma donation centre run by UBTS has been established in the newly renovated Mulago Hospital.

Ms. Laura Nagasha, who recovered from COVID-19 was the first donor and had this to say. 'When I was called upon to join in this research, I never hesitated because if I can be the source of treatment for others, why not run to support the cause? I am here because I want us to quickly work together to find the treatment for Coronavirus.'

COVIDIT Project Donor No.1-Ms. Laura Nagasha (Centre) flanked by UBTS staff during the kick-off ceremony on 16th June 2020, Mulago National Referral Hospital, Kampala Uganda.

At the time of publishing this article on Wednesday 17th June, 2020, four donors had turned up.

'We appeal to all those individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 to come and donate blood so that together we can work towards kicking COVID-19 out of Uganda, the region and globe by offering treatment' noted Prof. William Bazeyo, Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration) at Makerere University.

Prof. Bazeyo who is also the Chairperson of the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) thanked the researchers, partners and above all the Government of the Republic of Uganda for funding research and innovations at Makerere University through Mak-RIF. He also thanked the Media for continuously relaying all the necessary messages to the public. 

The Director MLI and COVIDIT Principal Investigator, Dr. Bruce Kirenga noted that the Project was initiated in view of emerging evidence to support the use of convalescent plasma (CP) for the treatment of COVID-19 especially among severe and critical forms of disease with improved survival. The lack of other proven therapies for COVID-19 in Uganda and the availability of COVID-19 survivors in the country are some of the factors readily available to support these efforts. The project has 4 main Work Packages (WP);

WP1. Plasma Donation, Processing and Storage whose overall objective is to assess the feasibility of collecting, processing and storage of COVID-19 convalescent plasma for future investigative assessment of its efficacy in treating patients with COVID-19.

WP2. COVID Convalescent Plasma Therapy Trial whose overall objective is to assess the feasibility, safety and efficacy of COVID-19 CP in treatment of COVID-19 in Uganda.

WP3. Monoclonal Antibodies Manufacturing whose overall objective is to isolate potent monoclonal antibodies from peripheral B cells of Ugandan COVID-19 survivors for use in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

WP4. COVID-19 Survivor Registry whose overall objective is to establish a COVID-19 survivor registry to support the study of the long term impact of SARS-CoV2 virus infection on survivors.

This engagement was covered and aired on NTV Uganda. Please click the link below for the news bite. 

https://youtu.be/HyGYLH5do4M

An article was also published on Page 4 of the New Vision newspaper of 17th June, 2020.

 

Article By: Walter Jack Musoki, Medical Student at Makerere University College of Health Sciences and Harriet Adong, Mak-RIF Communications Officer

'We Build for the Future'

 

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Veteran Professor changed Makerere and Higher Education

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Professor Pancras John Mukasa Ssebuwufu (L) receives a plaque and citation from RUFORUM Board Member and Vice Chancellor Ndejje University-Professor Eriabu Lugujjo (Right) on 6th May 2021 at the RUFORUM Secretariat, Plot 155 Garden Hill, Makerere University Main Campus,

When Professor John Ssebuwufu ambled up to receive a certificate of recognition for his ‘exceptional’ contribution to higher education from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) at Makerere University (MU), he was thinking of many things, such as rewarding staff, that he could have done differently to impact university education more.

But he did what he could have done, under the circumstances.

He presided over MU (in 1993) when student enrolment was 5,000 and left in 2004 when the population was surging to more than 15,000.

He emphasised the use of information communication technologies in almost all the institutions he had been involved in and sent many academic staff on exchanges to boost research and innovation. Now, more African universities engage in ground-breaking research.

So, he proceeded to accept his recognition and make his acceptance speech, which was mostly about gratitude.

Ssebuwufu, 74, who is currently the chancellor at Kyambogo University and the vice-chancellor of the University of Kisubi, is credited for his exemplary leadership and pragmatic methods that have shaped higher education in Uganda and Africa as a whole.

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Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022

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Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022. Photo credit: AfDB

The Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program is a capacity building project by the AfDB and Japan which was initiated in 2017 with the aim of providing two-year scholarship awards to highly achieving African graduate students to enable them to undergo post-graduate studies (i.e. a two-year Master’s degree program) in selected priority development areas on the continent and Japan. The overarching goal the AfDB and the Government of Japan seek to attain is to enhance skills and human resources development in Africa in under the Bank’s High 5s agenda (i.e. “Feed Africa”, “Light up Africa”, “Industrialize Africa”, “Integrate Africa” and “Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa”) and key Japanese development assistance initiatives. JADS core areas of study focus include energy, agriculture, health, environmental sustainability, and engineering. The program also seeks to promote inter-university collaboration and university-industry partnerships between Japan and Africa. Upon completion of their studies, the JADS scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the public and private sectors, and contribute to national and continental socio-economic development.

About the JADS program

The JADS Program is open to applicants from AfDB member countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts who are applying to a graduate degree program in energy development and related discipline.  The program does not provide scholarships to any other graduate degree program.

The scholarship program provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance.

Upon completion of their studies, the beneficiary scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills, and contribute to the promotion of sustainable development of their countries.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

The program is open to those who have gained admission to an approved Masters degree course at a Japanese partner university. Candidates should be 35 years old or younger; in good health; with a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the energy area or related area; and have a superior academic record. Upon completion of their study programs, scholars are expected to return to their home country to contribute to its economic and social development.

Application Procedures

  1. Applicant requests for information and application forms and procedures from the chosen JADS partner university. For any inquiries, please contact JADS@AFDB.ORG
  2. Applicant completes required documents and sends them to the university.
  3. University evaluates and selects applicants.
  4. University sends selected candidates to the AfDB.
  5. AfDB reviews submissions from universities, prepares and approves the final list.
  6. AfDB contacts selected awardees, and informs the universities.

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WHS Regional Meeting Africa 2021: Finance Chairperson’s Update

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Prof. Tonny J. Oyana, Finance Chairperson, World Health Summit Regional Meeting Africa, June 2021.

SOPs: Our plan is to have 200 sets of people in different spacious rooms…

Prof. Tonny j. oyana, finance chairperson whs regional meeting africa

We are sincerely grateful to our sponsors…

Over 15 core sponsors…

Sessions: 60% Virtual, 40% Onsite…

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