Friends, everyone of us was thrown into shock, disbelief, pain, sadness and other feelings. Whereas we were all affected in some way the top university administrators and occupants of the offices on the Main Building lost more than the rest of us. They lost valuables, information, space to work from and any other losses that may not be remembered now but will be recalled when needed in future.
Amidst all this we thank God that no one was physically harmed. However, this doesn’t mean people may not be affected emotionally/psychologically. I wish to share a few tips that we can use as first aid to ensure psychological health.
- Use appropriate physical exercises alternated with relaxation. These will alleviate some of the physical reactions.
- Structure your time – keep busy.
- You’re normal and having normal reactions – don’t label yourself crazy.
- Talk to people – talk is the most healing medicine.
- Be aware of numbing the pain with overuse of drugs or alcohol. You don’t need to complicate this with a substance abuse problem.
- Reach out – people do care.
- Maintain as normal a schedule as possible.
- Spend time with others and talk about what happened to you.
- Help others who were affected as much as possible by sharing feelings and checking on how they are doing.
- Give yourself permission to feel bad and share your feelings with others.
- Keep a journal. Write down your thoughts and feelings about the incident. Research has shown that this is very effective for symptom reduction and resolution of the trauma.
- Do things that feel good to you.
- Realise those around you are under stress.
- Don’t make any big life changes.
- Do make as many daily decisions as possible which will give you a feeling of control over your life, i.e., if someone asks you what you want to eat, answer them even if you’re not sure.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Reoccurring thoughts, dreams or flashbacks are normal – don’t try to fight them – they’ll decrease over time and become less painful.
- Eat well-balanced and regular meals (even if you don’t feel like it).
Some of us have family and friends who are more affected. What will be your role?
For Family and Friends
- Listen carefully
- Spend time with the traumatised person
- Offer your assistance and a listening ear if they have not asked for help
- Reassure them that they are safe
- Help them with everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking, caring for the family, minding children.
- Give them some private time.
- Don’t take their anger or other feelings personally.
- Don’t tell them that they are “lucky it wasn’t worse” – traumatized people are not consoled by those statements. Instead, tell them that you are sorry such an event has occurred and you want to understand and assist them.
NOTE: Feel free to seek psychosocial support services from the university Counselling and Guidance Centre by walking in, calling to schedule an appointment or using virtual means. We are glad to announce that our professional colleagues from University of California Berkeley have offered to provide staff with free psychosocial support services using virtual means like zoom, skype and so on.
Manager, Counselling and Guidance Centre,
Plot 106, Mary Stuart Road (Opposite Mary Stuart Hall),
Mak’s GMI Labs Authorized to Conduct DNA Paternity Testing
The Genomics, Molecular, and Immunology Laboratories (GMI Labs), operating under the auspices of the Makerere University Biomedical Research Center (MakBRC), have achieved another significant milestone in their journey of diagnostic excellence. The labs, renowned for their pivotal role in infectious and non-infectious disease research, have received official approval from the Director General Health Services at the Ministry of Health (MoH), Uganda, to conduct DNA Paternity Tests.
Situated at the Dept of Immunology & Molecular Biology under the School of Biomedical Sciences at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, the GMI Labs have been at the forefront of cutting-edge research, diagnostic testing, and training initiatives. Their remarkable contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, where they conducted nearly a million PCR tests, underscored their unwavering commitment to public health and scientific advancement. The labs’ exemplary performance and reliability were further highlighted by their successful management of two critical COVID-19 prevalence surveys. The findings of these surveys served as foundational data for crucial decisions guiding the country’s lockdown strategies and phased reopening, earning commendation from the President and the Ministry of Health.
This latest authorization from the Ministry of Health marks a significant expansion of the GMI Labs’ diagnostic capabilities. With the approval to conduct DNA Paternity Tests, the labs are now equipped to offer a crucial service addressing the need for accurate and reliable genetic testing for determining biological parentage. In a letter dated 22nd November 2023, the Director General Health Services emphasized the laboratory’s rigorous adherence to international standards, proficiency in molecular biology techniques, and their proven track record in delivering precise and credible results. This approval further solidifies the labs’ position as a trusted institution for advanced genetic diagnostics in Uganda.
Prof. Moses L Joloba, the Director of the GMI Labs, expressed immense pride in the team’s dedication and expertise that led to this authorization. He highlighted the labs’ commitment to upholding the highest standards of ethical practice, confidentiality, and accuracy in DNA paternity testing, ensuring the delivery of dependable results crucial for legal, personal, and familial purposes.
The inclusion of DNA Paternity Testing within the GMI Labs’ list of services aligns with their overarching goal of advancing healthcare through state-of-the-art diagnostics, research, and education. This milestone represents not only a significant achievement for the labs but also a valuable resource for individuals seeking reliable and comprehensive genetic testing services. As the GMI Labs continue their unwavering commitment to excellence in healthcare and research, this new capability reaffirms their pivotal role in advancing the frontiers of molecular diagnostics and genetic testing in Uganda, working closely with reputable institutions such as Makerere University Hospital and other top-notch health facilities.
MNCH e-Post Issue 121: Learning from Nsambya Hospital Human Milk Bank to inform national scale-up & save preterm babies
Welcome to this exclusive interview with Prof. Peter Waiswa, lead expert from the Makerere University Centre of Excellence for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health. Dr. Victoria Nakibuuka from St. Francis Nsambya Hospital, and Dr. Jesca Nsungwa from Ministry of Health Uganda. In this video, they discuss a groundbreaking innovation in Uganda’s healthcare landscape: the country’s first-ever human milk bank at St. Francis Hospital Nsambya. This initiative represents a significant stride towards improving the survival rates of premature and vulnerable infants by ensuring access to essential breast milk, even when mothers are unable to produce enough. Watch Video
METS Newsletter October 2023
The Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support (METS) Program is a 5-year CDC-supported collaboration of Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Health Information Systems Program (HISP Uganda).
Highlights of the METS October 2023 Newsletter
- Strategies for Enhanced Disease Surveillance and Public Health Response in Uganda
- The MoH Department of Integrated Epidemiology Surveillance & Public Health Emergencies (IES&PHE) Head, Commissioner Allan Muruta (Dr) visited METS to acquaint himself with the various surveillance activities supported by the Program.
- Commissioner Muruta emphasized the need to build the capacity of districts and regions to conduct surveillance activities by training the relevant staff and establishing surveillance focal points at health facility levels.
- He further emphasized the importance of linking laboratory data to the District Health Information System (DHIS2) and ensuring that different systems are interoperable.
- Improving quality of data for HIV testing services (HTS) through regular assessments
- MoH has been conducting Data Quality Assessments and Improvement (DQAI) activities to inform program planning, monitoring, and performance management. HIV testing services (HTS) inter was conducted in 16 regions, 81 districts, and 111 health facilities in partnership with 26 Implementing partners.
- The HTS DQA has improved data management, infrastructure, and understanding of indicators. Specific staff assignment at each HTS entry point has proven effective, and use of the UgandaEMR system for reporting has yielded positive results.
- Shaping Uganda’s Healthcare Data Landscape
- METS has maintained a strong collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) providing invaluable technical support in developing various strategic guidelines for the country. These guidelines include the Uganda Health Information Exchange and Interoperability (HIE) Guidelines, the Uganda Health Data Protection and Confidentiality (HDPC) Guidelines, and the Uganda Health Data Sharing, Access, and Use Guidelines.
- HIE and HDPC guidelines have received the endorsement of the Health Information, Innovation and Research (HIIRE) Technical Working Group (TWG), awaiting presentation to the senior management team at the MoH for final approval.
- Empowering Health Professionals: PrEP Training in Hoima District
- MakSPH-METS has taken a proactive stance in supporting Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) for key populations through the development, management, and conducting trainings on the use of the PrEP tracker system across various agencies.
- METS conducted a 5-day training on the KP/PrEP Tracker system in Hoima district. Moving forward, facility staff will be able to enter data on PrEP services into the system in a timely manner, analyze the data, and use it for program improvement.
- HIV testing services (HTS) Data Quality Assessments and Improvement DQAIs
- Interagency cervical cancer on-site mentorships
- Orientation in KP tracker-Soroti
- TDY from CDC headquarters visit to METS
- M&E orientation meetings for new Implementing Partners
- Planning meeting for Cross Border Data Sharing-Busia
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