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.
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.
Alliance for Global Health and Science 2021 Virtual Institute
The Alliance for Global Health and Science (the Alliance) is a partnership between the University of California, Berkeley and Makerere University. The Alliance seeks to make a tangible, enduring impact by focusing on locally identified health research needs and strengthening collaborations between faculty at UC Berkeley and Makerere University.
The Alliance Summer Institute is an opportunity for Makerere University students to learn cutting edge, vital skillsets for bioscience researchers from world class scientists from the University of California system, the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, SciDIP Global, and Makerere University. This year, the Institute will be held completely virtually, keeping in mind the public health crisis of COVID-19.
If you are interested in participating in the Summer Institute, please fill out this application form which can be found at: https://forms.gle/d1WZVBin3sbfyZdF6
All applications require 1) a letter of interest outlining which course(s) you are interested in participating in, how you will benefit from this coursework, and how you intend on using it to advance your scientific career, and 2) an up-to-date resume listing relevant prerequisites, experience, and coursework with references.
Applications are due by June 30th, 2021 at the latest. The courses being offered this year are as
- Introduction to Next Generation Sequencing and Genomic Epidemiology (July 19 – 30)
- Bioentrepreneurship: Small Molecule Therapeutic and Diagnostic Development (July 19 – 23)
- Bioinformatics: Covid19 Pandemic Genome Sequence Analysis and Phylogenomics (August 2 – 13)
- Scientific Diplomacy (August 2 – 13)
- Concepts and techniques in modern vaccine design for global infectious disease (July 26 – August 6)
- Scientific Grantwriting & Presentation (August 9 – 13)
Please see Downloads for details.
Call for Applications: MakNCD Non-Degree Research Support
The Makerere University Non-Communicable Disease (MAK-NCD) Research Training Program, funded by the United States National Institute of Health-Fogarty international centre is a collaboration between Makerere University College of Health Sciences and Johns Hopkins University. The overall goal of this training program is to develop a comprehensive mentored research-training program in Uganda that will build local capacity to address the challenges of NCD control and management and promote the use of research findings to inform decision-making and policy.
This call for applications is targeting mainly junior researchers and Graduates at Makerere University with interest in building an independent research career in NCD.
A stipend and mentorship support for up to 12 months will be available to the selected candidates
Criteria for selection:
- Must have a concept or a research idea proposal in one of the following NCD areas; Chronic Respiratory Diseases (CRD), Diabetes Mellitus (DM), Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) & Hypertension.
- Demonstrated interest in NCD research studies focusing on biomedical sciences, Clinical Research, Epidemiology, Implementation Science research and Policy.
- Commitment to develop and maintain a productive career devoted to NCD
- Must have two (2) mentors in the proposed area of research.
- Must commit 40% of their time (2 working days) to the fellowship. A letter of support from an immediate supervisor stating that you can commit this time is required
The following are the broad NCD Research priority areas (themes). Applicants are encouraged to develop concepts from these themes.
- (a) Chronic Respiratory Diseases
- (b) Cardiovascular Diseases
- (c) Diabetes
- (d) Renal diseases
- A monthly stipend will be provided upon development of a full proposal and clearance of the proposed study with appropriate IRB
- Short courses in Bioethics, Good clinical Practice, Good laboratory Practice, Grant writing, Data Analysis and Manuscript writing.
- Support to submit at least 1 paper in an indexed peer-reviewed journal as first author for publication
- Fellows that achieve set targets will be supported to apply for additional grant funding to conduct primary research
- Platform to develop into an independent Researcher in the NCD field
- Email Makncd.email@example.com to request for the application form and CV template
- Submit completed application, detailed CV, 2 letters of recommendation, letter of support from immediate supervisor stating that you can commit 40% of your time to the fellowship to Makncd.firstname.lastname@example.org, cc to Program Manager. Dr. Charles Batte email@example.com
Deadline for submission of applications: 9th July,2021.
“Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted”
MU-JHU Positions: Locum Midwives/Nurses – WOMANPOWER Study June 2021
The Makerere University-Johns Hopkins (MU-JHU) Research Collaboration – MU-JHU CARE LTD, a Kampala – based equal opportunities Clinical Research and Service Delivery Organisation with more than 350 employees is seeking interested, committed and reliable professionals with the described qualifications to apply for the Locum positions listed below in support of the EDCTP funded studies. The positions are Locum positions on short term contract for 6 months.
1. Locum Midwife/Nurse: multiple positions
Reports To: Nurse Coordinator
Duty station: MUJHU, Kisenyi HCIV and Kawempe National Referral Hospital
Required qualifications and profile:
A Diploma in Midwifery/Nursing, with current registration for practice from the Uganda Nurses and Midwives councils (UNMC) with interest in working in a busy labour ward with minimum supervision. The candidates are required to have worked for at least three (3) years in a busy health centre/institution. Previous work experience in a clinical research environment and/or with HIV, TB and/or MCH clinical care would be a strong advantage. Computer literacy is required. The successful candidates should be willing and able to work extended duty shifts i.e. 12 hour day, and 12 hour night shifts, including public holidays and weekends.
The holder of this position will work under the direct supervision of the Nurse Coordinator with guidance from the Head of Nursing Section, and will be responsible for the following duties:
- Working closely with other health professionals/research staff to obtain consents.
- Provide midwifery/nursing care to study participants as well as do phlebotomy, cord blood sampling and other sample collection as required.
- Collect data using tablets and laptops.
- Participate in study data quality assurance and control.
- Any other duties reasonably assigned by the relevant authorities.
- Maintain professional GCP/HSP accreditation and complete study specific training as required.
Applications with complete C.Vs, including 3 referees and their full addresses or contact Telephone numbers, copies of academic certificates and testimonials, should be hand delivered to: MU-JHU Human Resource Manager, through the reception on first floor, MUJHU 1 Building – not later than 25th June, 2021 by 5.30pm.
Only short-listed applicants will be contacted. Successful candidates will be expected to start work immediately.