Connect with us

Health

Involve Stakeholders in COVID-19 Vaccine Priority Setting, Mak Bioethicists urge Government

Published

on

By Joseph Odoi

As Uganda rolls out vaccines in an effort to kick out coronavirus, Bioethicists from Makerere University have urged Government to involve all stakeholders in priority setting for COVID-19 vaccination.

This call follows a latest study which sought to establish ethical and social issues for COVID-19 vaccination in the country.

While disseminating preliminary findings of the study titled ‘Ethical And Social issues for COVID-19 vaccine priority setting and access in Uganda’, Associate Professor Joseph Ochieng from the Department of Anatomy, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University said one of the most effective ways for public buy-in for new interventions is effective stakeholder engagement using the down-up model so that all stakeholders feel they have a say and their input is valued.

“When people are adequately involved in the decision making, they tend to adequately accept the results and take them up because they feel they own them. So we set out to access the different stakeholders whether they’re aware of the ethical issues associated with priority setting and how they’re going to handle priority of vaccine access in Uganda,” he explained while at Anatomy Department Building on 19th March, 2021. 

Prof. Ochieng further noted that there should a proactive, open (to the public) and evidence-based engagement of as many stakeholders as possible in these and related processes.

’This is important to build and sustain public support to and trust in health systems, all of which are critical in ensuring an equitable and efficient health system’’ he added

With regard to priorities, the Bioethicists state that since the quantities for the COVID-19 vaccine coming in are small, there should be a pre-determined evidence-based criterion for deciding who gets what first, and who should lose out or wait for the next opportunity

“Setting those priorities of who is vaccinated when has a number of ethical and social issues with questions.

We came up with this study to see how we can contribute to this issue of priority setting and vaccine access so that everyone feels it’s a fair process. If people believe it’s fair, then it’s ethical and acceptable and likely to be taken up,” Prof. Ochieng explained.

Findings

As Part of the preliminary findings, Dr. John Barugahare, Co-investigator and Senior Lecturer at Department of Philosophy, Makerere University said COVID-19 could be controlled by first attending to people who are likely to spread the disease like travelers; including truck drivers who have been associated with this disease whenever they traverse the country.

“We’ve heard from taxi drivers and conductors saying that they’re exposed to the risk of infections from passengers everyday by virtue of their work and they increase the risk of transmission to other passengers. However, they don’t understand why the elderly in rural areas are having priority over them,” he said.

Dr. Baruhagare further says that there is need to harmonize WHO immunization guidelines by setting priorities which fit into the local context as each country has its unique challenges.

Moving forward, the researchers recommend public engagement to create awareness on vaccination guidelines

“If the guidelines are developed, they should be freely available and well publicized. There should also be a continuous process of priority setting,” Prof. Ochieng noted.

“In future, such processes of setting priorities should be more open and transparent. There should be sufficient efforts to involve the public and seek opinions on what they think as opposed to having a few individuals to guide in the decision making process,” added Dr. Barugahare.

Funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), the study involved key informant interviews and in-depth interviews with a number of key stakeholders in COVID-19 intervention like bioethicists, clinicians, public health experts, policy makers, lawyers, human rights activists and scientists.

Health

Fostering Continuous Improvement of Public Health Laboratory Services In Uganda: IDI’s Contribution (2018-2020)

Published

on

One of the staff uses the Abbott m2000 RealTime System in the Core Laboratory (CL), IDI, Makerere University.

The Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), Makerere University houses a state of the art laboratory – the Core Laboratory (CL) – certified by the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and accredited by the Uganda Ministry of Health (MoH) as a lead partner in strengthening laboratory systems.

In line with its 5-year (2018-2023) goal of ‘providing high-quality lab services at IDI to meet both clinical and research demands, to support the sustained improvement of lab capacity across Uganda with systems of assured and consistent quality’ to conduct routine testing, specialized clinical research trials, and detection of virulent pathogens of epidemic outbreak nature.

To match internationally standards for clinical laboratory methodologies and clinical applications, the CL has maintained a 25-year record of conducting at least 01 internal audit, 04 external audits annually, besides bi-annual inspections by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), to incorporate the latest best practices. Further, the CL continuously improves its technology and automation to increase productivity and enhance testing turnaround time (TAT).

The CL operates in a One IDI approach, where sister Technical Programs source its support, besides the Ministry of Health of Uganda, local and international academic research institutions and individual research fellows. The outbreak of COVID-19 in December 2019 was an opportunity for growth and expansion for the CL, to support national and global preparedness and response to infection prevention and control (IPC). To date, the CL has registered several milestones in enhancing disease laboratory TAT for COVID-19 testing, strengthening human capacity at the forefront on COVID-19 IPC, sustaining laboratory services for other communicable and non-communicable diseases as well as answering research questions.

Please see Downloads for the full technical brief.

Continue Reading

Health

UniCare App: 24/7 Access to Counselling

Published

on

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.

Enquiries:

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

Continue Reading

Health

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

Published

on

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.

Eligibility

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]gmail.com 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]gmail.com). 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]gmail.com

Timelines:

  • 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.

Continue Reading

Trending