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.
MakSPH, Partners Commended for supporting Antimicrobial Stewardship in Uganda
By Davidson Ndyabahika
Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom has given an award for exceptional performance to Makerere University School of Public Health—MakSPH for its outstanding role in strengthening antimicrobial stewardship in Uganda.
The award was in recognition for the collaborative work on antimicrobial stewardship with Nottingham Trent University, Buckinghamshire NHS Healthcare Trust and other partners. This recognition was received at the Antibiotic Guardian Shared Learning and Awards 2020 (UK) under the category of Multi-Country Collaboration held late last month via zoom.
Delivering a certificate of recognition to Dr. David Musoke, the Uganda project lead, Dr Diane Ashiru-Oredope while representing the Antibiotic Guardian Shared Learning & Awards Planning Group observed that it was a highly competitive contest but MakSPH demonstrated great performance, hence the honour for its commitment to promotion of responsible use of antimicrobials to prevent antimicrobial resistance.
“We received the highest number of entries ever this year and so your award is an achievement to be proud of,” said Dr. Diane Ashiru-Oredope.
She hailed the Ugandan team for the “incredible work to keep antibiotics working” and urged them to submit more of this “great work for next year’s shared learning and awards.”
For ten years now, the MakSPH and Nottingham Trent University (NTU), UK have through this partnership supported efforts aimed at strengthening community health systems particularly supporting village health teams (VHTs) in Uganda and largely focusing on Wakiso district.
During its implementation, the project, titled, “Strengthening Antimicrobial Stewardship in Wakiso district using a One Health approach, has trained a total of 86 health practitioners, including animal health workers, and 227 community health workers on antimicrobial stewardship.
Mak-UiB-Karolinska-Padua Paper Published in New England Journal of Medicine
Results from the Neonatal Supraglottic Airway (NeoSupra) Trial on neonatal resuscitation conducted at the Labour Wards of Mulago National Referral Hospital and Kawempe Specialised National Referral Hospital have been published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The paper was co-authored by Makerere University’s Dr. Josaphat Byamugisha, Dr. Jolly Nankunda and Dr. Clare Lubulwa, the University of Bergen (UiB)’s Dr. Nicolas J. Pejovic and Dr. Thorkild Tylleskär, Karolinska Institutet (KI)’s Dr. Susanna Myrnerts Höök, Dr. Tobias Alfvén, Dr. Mats Blennow as well as other authors from the University of Padua (Italy).
The collaborative paper published on 26th November 2020 concluded that in neonates (newborns) with asphyxia (deficient supply of oxygen to their bodies), the Laryngeal Mask Airway (LMA) was safe in the hands of midwives but was not superior to face-mask ventilation with respect to early neonatal death and moderate-to-severe hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy.
Please see Downloads for the paper. It may also be retrieved from the NEJM webpage at the link below: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2005333
UAPS 8th African Population Conference Report 2019
During African Population Conferences, a day is always dedicated to the Host Country to organise events with emphasis on thematic areas of relevance to the country and other African countries. The Uganda Day events took place on Wednesday, 20 November 2019. The day’s events commenced with an opening ceremony which featured welcome remarks from the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as well as the Chairperson of the National Organising Committee of the 8th APC and Director General of Uganda’s National Population Council, Dr. Jotham Musinguzi. The Hon. Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development, David Bahati and the Right. Hon. Speaker of Parliament of Uganda, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga presented the opening statements. The keynote address was presented by the Minister of State for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Chris Baryomunsi while Dr. Fred Wabire-Mangen of Makerere University was the chair of the opening ceremony programmes. Three other sessions organised on this day focused on thematic areas of Population and Development, Young People, and Statistics. A Uganda Day debate panel titled Harnessing Youth Development Potential in Africa: Have We Failed? was the last session for the Uganda Day programme of events. The Uganda Day events took place from 9:00am to 4:00pm while other conference sessions for the day started at 2:00pm. Uganda Day culminated in a well-attended official reception/dinner gala which featured diverse Ugandan cuisine and exciting performances by dance troupes.
Read the Full Report here