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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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Engineering, Art & Tech

A Successful Ph.D. Defense by Vianney Andrew Yiga

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The CEDAT community is proud to share our congratulations to Vianney Andrew Yiga following his successful Ph.D. defense that happened yesterday Monday 3rd October 2022 at the College of Engineering, Design, Art, and Technology (CEDAT).

His Thesis was titled; Thermal Stability of Fiber- Reinforced Polylactic Acid Composites for Flameretarded Applications.

The candidate was supervised by Eng. Dr. Michael Lubwama and Eng. Dr. Peter W. Olupot both from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at CEDAT.

Dr. John Wasswa, Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences (CONAS), Makerere University was the opponent that interrogated the candidate to enable a clear understanding of the study.

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Makerere University Launches National Parenting Draft Manual

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The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo (Centre) and Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC (Right) interact with a participant at the workshop on 22nd July 2022, Kampala.

By Agnes Namaganda

On July 22nd 2022, Makerere UniversityChild Health and Development Centre (MakCHDC) launched a draft manual for the National Parenting Standards. The Centre has been working together with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) with funding from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund), to develop standards that are agreeable to all organisations in the country that are involved in parenting work. The draft manual was being presented to members of a consortium that brings together all these organisations together, called the Parenting Agenda Consortium.

“We produce many documents and they are shelved,” Irene Ayot Chono, who was speaking on behalf of UNICEF said. “We hope that this document will not be one of them,” she emphasized.

Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.
Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC who presented the draft manual to participants, emphasized that if any organization is doing parenting work, there should be a minimum package that they should offer.

Draft Manual Content

The manual which will have several modules. These modules will be delivered face-to-face in 1.5 hour sessions. Some of these include; Module 6 which will focus on “understanding responsible masculinity and fatherhood” and on “understanding the concept of head of family.”The draft manual also proposed that Module 11 focuses on Parenting in the 21st Century. Some of the sessions in this module will include Children and Technology, Contemporary Influence on Children and Modernity, Culture and Morality.Module 9 will focus on Parenting for Adolescents and some of the suggested sessions within this module are Needs for Adolescents and The Art of Communicating with Adolescents. Module 5 will focus on Preventing Violent Parenting and Promoting Alternative Discipline Strategies while Module 10 will be about Parenting to Address the Mental Health for Children and Adults.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.
Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.

Participants’ suggestions

After the presentation, participants raised several suggestions for discussion and consideration. These included whether there should be a module on spirituality since Uganda is a strongly religious nation. There was also the concern of how children in remand homes should be parented. Another concern raised by a participant was as to whether teachers who make an undeniable contribution to parenting, should be taken through the parenting manual.

A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.
A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.

In her closing remarks, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo, the Director of Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) said that the manual is for the parenting organisations to utilize and not for MGLSD.

The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.
The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.

Ms. Chono also adjured the team behind the manual to use picture illustrations in the manual that can be relatable by the Ugandan parents.

Contact: Agnes Namaganda – agnesvioletnamaganda@gmail.com

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Launch of Mak-RIF Round 4 Awards & PhD Call for Proposals

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Mak-RIF 4 Awards and PhD Call For Proposals, 29th September 2022, 9:00 to 10:00 AM EAT.

Makerere University received funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support high impact Research and Innovations. This unique initiative arose after engagements between the top University Management and the Government of Uganda. This fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of development and transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. 

In the Financial years 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 the Government of the Republic of Uganda through Mak-RIF has funded implementation of over 750 multidisciplinary research and innovations within the various Colleges, while engaging multiple stakeholders within and outside Makerere University. The Grants Management Committee (GMC) has finalized the award process for the Mak-RIF round 4 call for funding for this Financial Year 2022/2023.

The Grants Management Committee (GMC) hereby invites you to the Launch of the Mak-RIF Round 4 awards and PhD Call for Proposals scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday 29th September 2022 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. EAT. 

Please use the following details to join the launch.

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpcu-urDIjE9ZgxdsbEmA2IkNMMiJVECt_ 
Meeting ID: 884 5662 9992
Password: 292624

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