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Mak Researchers Develop Alcohol and Drug Abuse Surveillance System



Substance abuse is one of the leading risk factors for high burden of disease globally. Although the highest levels of alcohol consumption are in Europe, Africa bears the heaviest burden of disease and injury attributed to alcohol.

 According to the 2018 Global status report on Alcohol and health, the total Alcohol per capita for Uganda in the year 2016 was 9.5 compared to 6.3 for the whole Africa region.

Despite its significance to the public health burden in Uganda, these key risk factors have been largely neglected.

Compelled by a major interest in the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse in Uganda, Makerere University researchers carried out a study aimed at understanding the plight of alcohol and drug abuse in Rehabilitation Facilities in the Kampala Metropolitan Area.

In the project entitled; “Setting up an epidemiological Alcohol and Drug Abuse Surveillance System,” the researchers designed a tool for abstracting information from clients’ files, trained health workers on to fill the tool and how to enter the data in a data base and how to report about it.

The health workers and records officers were shown how they can produce monthly reports from the data. As a demonstration of benefits of such a system the researchers were able to establish trends and patterns of alcohol and drug use among the clients of these rehabilitation facilities.

 According to the Principal Investigator Assoc. Prof. Nazarius Mbona Tumwesigye, the Alcohol, and Drug abuse surveillance system has the potential to establish the magnitude of the problem to advise policy development at the national level, guide local training, mobilize researchers and attract new research initiatives.

As part of their study findings, Dr. Mbona noted that alcohol and drug abuse are increasingly becoming a public health problem in Uganda as shown in spiking numbers of clients in 10 rehabilitation facilities. “The commonest substance of abuse was alcohol (52%) across the ten facilities in a period of eight months (November 2019 to June 2020),” reads in part, the key findings of the study.

The study was successfully executed with funding from the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF). The study team consisted of Assoc. Prof. Nazarius Mbona Tumwesigye, Assoc.Prof. Ponsiano Ocama, Dr. David Basangwa, Dr. Flavia Matovu, Dr. Catherine Abbo, Mr. Twaibu Wamala, Claire Birabwa, Cissie Namanda, and Ronald Twesigomwe.

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UniCare App: 24/7 Access to Counselling



UniCare App: 24/7 Access to Professional Counselling Services. Available on Google Play Store.

The Counselling and Guidance Centre (CGC) has developed UniCare, a counselling App for the Makerere University community members (Staff and Students).

Do you have personal concerns that need addressing?

Do you need to improve your life skills?

Are you struggling with something and need to talk to someone professional in confidence?

Then download UniCare from the Play Store and use it at any time of your convenience.

You can access counselling services through instant messaging, phone calls and other forms.


Tel: +256-751-700897
Email: rbaguma[at], henry.nsubuga[at]

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Call for Applications: PhD Fellowships in Bioethics (4th Cohort)



The Davies Lecture Theatre (Right), School of Biomedical Sciences (Blue) and other buildings at the College of Health Sciences (CHS), Mulago Campus, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Applications are invited for PhD fellowships in bioethics from Makerere University College of Health Sciences (CHS) faculty and individuals who participate in the academic activities of the college who are interested and COMMITTED to becoming bioethics scholars.

Successful applicants should be willing to become bioethics scholars as they work within the structured and mentored training programme with a focus on any aspect of international research bioethics related to Health Sciences. Funding will be available to support 2 successful doctoral candidates up to 3 years of accelerated training leading to the award of the Makerere University doctoral degree.


This training is open to faculty including people who contribute to teaching and research at Makerere University or one of its partner institutions in Uganda, who meet any of the following criteria:

a. Able to articulate a clear research bioethics problem of interest to them.
b. Demonstrate prior participation in bioethics, beyond having submitted research proposals to an IRB.
c. Demonstrate a basic understanding of bioethics in order to know that this is an appropriate next step for the applicant.
d. Demonstrate past active participation in bioethics in health service delivery or at the interface of health related ethical-legal issues
e. Provide evidence of experience in research in bioethics and or authorship in this field
f. Prior master’s level or fellowship level training in bioethics or related fields.

Criteria for Selection

  1. Demonstrated interest in doctoral research training and conducting research with a focus on
    research bioethics.
  2. Potential to handle rigorous academic requirements of the doctoral program.
  3. Having a plan for career development
  4. Capacity towards attaining research leadership and international recognition in bioethics.
  5. Female candidates and medical doctors are especially encouraged to apply

Application Process

Applications must be submitted to makbioethics[at] and should consist of a cover letter (1 page only), a resume (not more than 3 pages), a personal statement (Maximum 1 page), a Makerere University formatted PhD research concept (Maximum 10 pages) and two letters of recommendation (sent separately by the referees to makbioethics[at] The personal statement should include your contribution to the academic and research life of a department at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, your aspirations for career progression in the next 5-7 years, research interests and any information you consider relevant.

Closing date for the receipt of applications is 8th October 2021.

Enquiries can be forwarded to the PI, of the PhD bioethics research training Program on makbioethics[at]


  • Application deadline: October 8, 2021
  • Interviews: October 15, 2021
  • Notification date: October 22, 2021
  • Proposed start date: November 1, 2021

Part of this training will take place at Johns Hopkins University Berman Institute of Bioethics in the USA in Year 1 for a total of 2-3 months. Successful candidates will receive a monthly stipend based on USA National Institutes of Health regulations, tuition, research funds and travel to the USA. Applicants should demonstrate excellent communications skills and will be expected to work as part of a highly motivated, result oriented bioethics group.

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IDI Supports Wakiso’s Point of Care Electronic Medical Records



Representatives from IDI, Mildmay Uganda and Wakiso District Leadership that took part in the handover of equipment to support EMR-POC on 13th September 2021.

The Makerere University Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) Kampala Region HIV Project handed over equipment worth UGX 460,000,000 to the Wakiso District Leadership to support Point of Care Electronic Medical Records (EMR-POC). This was made possible with support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The equipment includes Computers, furniture, biometric scanners and networking equipment for a wireless mesh. In attendance was the Wakiso District Leadership led by the Principal assistant secretary, Ms. Babirye Olivia, as well as representatives from IDI and Mildmay Uganda.

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