Connect with us

Health

Mak Staff Vaccination for COVID-19 Kicks Off

Published

on

By Judith Grace Amoit, Brenda Namata & Davidson Ndyabahika

Rev Canon Diana Nkesiga Priest in charge of Kabanyolo receives her COVID-19 Jab
Rev Canon Diana Nkesiga Priest in charge of Kabanyolo receives her COVID-19 Jab

Makerere University through the University Hospital has today March 26, 2021, rolled out vaccination of its staff.

This is also in conjunction with the Ministry of Health, Kampala Capital City Authority -KCCA and World Health Organization -WHO, starting with staff from the College of Health Sciences and administrative units at the University Hospital. The exercise is deemed to occur between 9:00 AM and 03:00 PM.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University, upon receiving his jab, urged all staff to get the vaccination and affirmed its safety.

Nawangwe
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University receive his COVID-19 jab at Makerere University Hospital on Friday March 26, 2021. Photo by Davidson Ndyabahika.

 “I have just received the first Jab for COVID-19 vaccine here at the Makerere University Hospital. I want to assure all Makerere Community, all Ugandans that the Vaccine is safe,” Professor Nawangwe said after receiving the jab.

“Please make sure that you get your jab if you are in the priority group because this is the only opportunity you have to ensure that you are protected. Please come according to the schedule that you have received,” he added.

Dr. Josaphat Byamugisha, Associate Professor and Director of University Hospital upon receiving his jab also appealed to staff to heed the call and take the chance to receive the vaccine.

Byamugisha
Dr. Josaphat Byamugisha, Associate Professor and Director of University Hospital receives his Jab. 

According to Dr. Byamugisha, Makerere University Hospital has received 500 Jabs to kick-start the process. He says they intend to vaccinate all the 3,150 Makerere University staff.

“I want to encourage the University community to come and get the vaccine. The information available is that this vaccine is safe and it is going to protect all of us from this severe disease. So it is very important that each one of us endeavors to come and get the vaccine. It is labor-intensive and so we would like people to adhere to the schedule provided,” Dr. Byamugisha said.

The Hospital Director adds that; “We must say we are very grateful to the Ministry of Health, Kampala Capital City Authority, and the WHO whom we are very closely collaborating with in terms of training, vaccinations, and follow-up in case there is any side effects.”

This reassurance informs a public doubt towards the AstraZeneca vaccine following said side effect severity and withdrawal of vaccine uptake by some western countries and African like Congo. The WHO has since cleared the vaccine citing that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh its risks and recommended its continued use.

The Chaplain, St. Francis Chapel, Rev. Onesimus Asiimwe speaking after receiving the jab urged the Christians to embrace the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

IMG Reverand
Chaplain, St. Francis Chapel, Rev. Onesimus Asiimwe receiving his COVID-19 jab. He has urged the Christians to embrace the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Photo/ Davidson Ndyabahika

“I have just received the COVID-19 jab here at Makerere University Hospital. And so far, so good. No immediate reaction. In fact, one of the things, I feared most other than the effects was the pricking of my body but it was done so gently, professionally. So, I want to encourage you friends, St. Franciscans, Makerere University community, and fellow citizens to respond to this call,” Rev. Asiimwe said.

He adds; “You need to be safe. There has been a lot of conspiracy theories about the vaccine but I want to encourage you to take this vaccine and be safe because COVID-19 is an enemy and God has provided a solution through the vaccine. God Bless you and prepare to receive yours.”

As of 24th March 2021, Uganda’s cumulative confirmed COVID-19 cases were 40,751. A total of 46,444 vaccinated persons against COVID-19. The Minister for Health, Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng says that government plans to cascade this vaccination process until the entire population is covered to prevent severe disease and death.

“We thank the COVAX facility and the Government of India for enabling Uganda to access the initial 964,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. So far, a total of 663,520 doses have been distributed to all districts in the country,” Dr. Aceng noted.

Professor JYT Mugisha, Principal CONAS taking his jab.
Professor JYT Mugisha, Principal CONAS taking a COVID-19 Jab. Photo: Davidson Ndyabahika

The exercise follows a consultative meeting on Friday, March 19, 2021, between Makerere University communications officers, University Hospital representatives, and the Ministry of Health team.

Led by Dr. Driwale Alfred, the assistant Commissioner Vaccines and Immunization (UNEPI), the meeting aimed at developing schedules for the effective rollout across all the nine colleges of the institution.

gg
Dr. Driwale Alfred, the assistant Commissioner Vaccines and Immunization (UNEPI) presenting a consultative meeting on Friday, March 19, 2021, between Makerere University communications officers, Makerere Hospital staff and Ministry of Health

During the consultative meeting, Dr. Driwale related that Ministry Health had arranged and trained people along local government structure to implement the vaccination activities and to advocate and sensitize leaders and create awareness on COVID-19 vaccination.

‘’We got six members in five teams of vaccinators per district and this is in rural districts, so when it came to Kampala district being more complex, each division in Kampala will have 5 teams of vaccinators and of which Makerere University falls under the Kawempe division”.

He added that Makerere University has got a very big and complex community and therefore two teams had been assigned to Makerere-Mulago hill because of its six and nature.

Communications officers, Mak Hospital staff Being rallied for COVID Vaccination Campaign
Communications Officers, Mak Hospital staff Being rallied for COVID Vaccination Campaign

During the training, Dr. Byamugisha observed that the training on vaccinations was to prepare the community and hospital staff for any possible effects that may develop.

“It’s very important to note that there is a national database for these vaccinations so it is a very well-organized exercise so that if anything happens, it can even be detected very early and will inform the rest of the activities.”

The Ministry of Health developed the vaccination deployment plan to be followed in administering the vaccine, inclusive of teachers and staff in all education institutions – public and private not-for-profit, as well as private for-profit will follow, among the priority categories.

 They estimated to have 550,000 teachers and lecturers who are to be vaccinated against coronavirus and this is a local Government mandate.

Uganda targets to vaccinate 49.6 percent of the population, which is about 21,936,011, in a phased manner. Each phase is planned to cover 20 percent of the population – approximately 4.38 million people.

Also, among those that have so far received their jabs at the Makerere University Hospital are; Dr. Vincent Ssembatya, Director Quality Assurance, Makerere University, Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah, the Academic Registrar, Dr. Helen Byamugisha, Associate Professor and University Librarian, Mr. Godwin Okiror, Human Resources Officer MakCHS, among others.

According to a schedule provided by the Makerere University Hospital, the Program for vaccination will runup to April 1st, 2021. Staff from the College of Health Sciences and all administrative units are expected to take their jabs on Friday, March 26, 2021.

On Monday, March 29, 2021 staff from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and BioSecurity (CoVAB), College of Natural Science (CONAS), and Jinja Campus will receive their COVID-19 shots.

Meanwhile, staff from the College of Engineering, Design, Art, and Technology (CEDAT), College of Business and Management Science (CoBAMS), and the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) will receive their COVID-19 jabs on Tuesday, March 30th, 2021.

On Wednesdays March 31st, Colleges of Education and External Studies (CEES) and Agricultural and Environmental Science (CAES) will have their staff vaccinated.

The last day of vaccination for staff according to the hospital schedule is Thursday, April 1st for staff from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) and School of Law.

Article originally published on MakSPH

Health

Researchers call for interventions to support HIV/AIDS prevention among University Students

Published

on

Group photo of Study team and Participants at the Dissemination meeting.

Researchers at Makerere University College of Health Sciences have given recommendations on how the education and health sectors can support HIV/AIDS prevention among students.

The researchers advised that the health sector should develop communication strategies and materials specific to university students and increase support to provide youth-friendly HIV prevention services at universities. The education sector working with University management should include: life skill programs during orientation of new students; HIVST delivery through peers and freshman orientations; Increase sensitization & access to PEP/PrEP by high-risk students; and update and disseminate institutional HIV policies.

The recommendations were made at a dissemination meeting for a study titled ‘HIV risk and factors associated with use of novel prevention interventions among female students at Makerere Universityheld on the 30th September 2022 at the Food Science & Technology Hall, Makerere University Campus.The study funded by Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research & Innovations Fund (MakRIF) was conducted by Dr. Lorraine Oriokot (Principal Investigator), Dr. Ivan Segawa, Dr. Sabrina Bakeera-Kitaka, Dr. Andrew Mujugira and Ms. Sharon Okello.

The objectives of the study were: to know the percentage of female students at risk of HIV; and to know the characteristics of students that have used the newer HIV prevention methods, which are HIV self-testing; Pre-exposure prophylaxis; and Post-exposure prophylaxis.

A total of 534 female students with an average age of 22years completed the survey. The results and findings of the study were:

  • Behavioural characteristics (12% of the respondents were in multiple sexual relationships; 21% of the respondents had a partner ≥ 10 years from their age; 29% of the respondents used emergency contraceptive (in the past 6 months); 21% of the respondents had never tested for HIV; and 10% of the respondents believed that they were at high risk for HIV)
  • The study considered a person was high risk if they: Had a partner who was HIV positive; Had multiple sexual relationships, anal or transactional sex; Used drugs especially injectable drugs; Had 2 or more sexually transmitted episodes in one year; Were pregnant or breast feeding; Were or had partners who sex workers, fishermen, long-distance truck driver, boda-boda rider, or army officers
  • Overall, 21% students were deemed high risk for HIV; 19% of students had ever used HIV self-test kits; 64% had ever heard of oral HIVST; 93% were willing to use HIVST; HIVST was more likely to be used by older students; HIVST can bridge the HIV testing gaps among students
  • 80% had ever tested for HIV far below the global targets of 95%; Self-test kits are freely available at the University Hospital; Test kits can be purchased over-the-counter in pharmacies
  • For PEP it was found that:3% of students had ever used PEP; 9% among those eligible for PEP; 70% had ever heard of PEP; 65% were willing to use PEP; PEP use was linked to having a partner and high-self risk perception; PEP is currently the only way to reduce the risk of HIV infection in an individual who has been exposed to HIV; PEP is available at Makerere University Hospital at no cost
  • For PreP it was found that:1% of students had ever used PrEP; 2% among high-risk students; 45% had ever heard of PrEP; 52% were willing to use PrEP; PrEP has been linked with decreased new infections of HIV; PreP is currently available as oral tablets. Vaginal rings and injectable forms are being tested for wide roll out; and PrEP is available at KCCA health facilities and facilities offering HIV care.

Continue Reading

Health

Research findings show that Iron levels of blood donors in Uganda are low

Published

on

Members of the research team at the dissemination on 15th November 2022.

Makerere University researchers have released research findings showing that some blood donors in Uganda have low iron levels,low iron stores are common in blood donors, and that the donors who are deferred for low blood levels have limited insight into their situation. The findings were presented at a research dissemination workshop held on the 15th November 2022 at Makerere University College of Health Sciences.

In his remarks, Dr. Aggrey Dhabangi, Principal Investigator (PI) of the study explained that lack of iron may result in anaemia, which in turn makes blood donors ineligible to donate. ‘Other complications arising from low iron include, fatigue, low energy, and depression’, he added.

Statistics show that Uganda collects about 300,000 blood donations per year which is below the WHO recommended target of one donation per 100 population per year. As such, more donations are needed to increase blood supply. However, 10% of potential donors are turned away (deferred), 25% of these are due to low blood levels (anaemia); these missed donations may further exacerbate blood shortages in the country. Thresholds for eligibility to donate are 12.5g/dL and 13.5 g/dL for women and men respectively.

A total of 500 donors were involved in the cross-sectional study conducted within the central region blood collection sites of the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services (UBTS). The key findings of the study included:

  • The results showed that, of all potential donors screened to donate, 20.6 % had low iron stores. Among donors with blood levels acceptable to donate, 11.5% had low iron stores, while among those already turned away from donating for low blood levels, 61.5% also had had low iron.
  • The prevalence of low iron stores was higher among females (33.0%) compared to males (2.5%), but even higher among younger females i.e., 24 years and below (35.4%).
  • Further analysis revealed that, NOT eating an“iron-rich” diet was a major factor linked to low storesamong blood donors.
  • Interviews with donors turned away from donating for low blood levels revealed that many did not receive sufficient explanations as to why they were turned away, and what they were told was sometimes confusing to them.
  • Although the majority were surprised to be found with low blood levels and seemed frustrated for being turned away; deferral for low blood levels was generally poorly understood. Some interpreted it to mean, they had just ‘enough blood for themselves, but not enough to donate’. Others took the issue very lightly, yet their iron measurements have shown that 61.5% of these individuals besides being low on blood, they also had low iron.

The researchers gave the following recommendations:

  • Dietary (Iron-rich diet):Action – The population should be encouraged to adopt healthy eating lifestyle/diet which is iron-rich.Foods like leafy greens (bbugga, dodo, nakati), liver, beef, beans among others should be included in diets.
  • Behavioural change communicationon nutrition should be instituted to get the populations to change their diets and eating habits.
  • Consider Iron supplements for the population to repleteiron stores. The UBTS/Ministry of Health can offer iron pills to the affected donors. In the past this was done.
  • Identify donors at risk of Iron Deficiency through screening to identify affected persons early enough for interventions.
  • Improved communication is necessary for better handling of blood donors; the capacity of UBTS staff should be built; produce IEC materials for deferred donors: anaemia treatment, and prevention
  • Referral – to physicians for work-up and further management of anaemia

This study was made possible through collaboration between Makerere University College of Health Sciences and Uganda Blood Transfusion Services. Funding support was provided by the Government of the Republic of Uganda, through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) – Round 3, financial year 2021/22.

Research Team: Dr. Aggrey Dhabangi (Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-PIs Dr. Godfrey Siu, Dr. Ronald Ssenyonga, Dr. Susan Acan, Mrs. Dorothy Kyeyune, and Dr. Imelda Bates.

Continue Reading

Health

METS Newsletter October 2022

Published

on

Mabel from METS takes Biostatisticians through eCBSS during the DHIS2 training. Photo: MakSPH METS.

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 August 2022 Newsletter

  • Advancing health information security, privacy and confidentially
    • With support from the Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) – METS Program and other partners, the MoH has developed the national Health Information Exchange (HIE) and Interoperability guidelines that will guide the implementation of HIE initiatives within the health sector.
  • Inaugural HIV Recency Testing Data Quality Assessment
    • The inaugural HIV Recency Testing Data Quality Assessment (DQA) was conducted from 28th August – 10th September 2022, with an aim of designing interventions for improving data quality for public health action.
    • The DQA was carried out in a representative sample of 170 facilities geographically distributed across the country by 15 teams of members from MoH, METS, UCSF, implementing partners (IPs) and districts health teams.
  • Case Based Surveillance Learning Exchange in Kenya
    • The main objective of the learning visit was to benchmark the Kenyan CBS program with the aim of harnessing the implementation modalities, lessons learned, and best practices that will guide program improvements in Uganda.
    • The key lessons learnt for implementation of the CBS program in Uganda will require key steps including; strong leadership, coordination and involvement by MoH and partners, alignment of funding priorities with national needs; clear documentation of policies and guidelines; adoption of a unique identifier to manage de-duplication of patients across the health sector; strengthening communities of practice within the workforce capable of maintaining and extending the CBS implementation and development of a national data warehouse for surveillance.
  • Milestones in equipping health facilities to track commodities
    • UgandaEMR is an electronic medical records system that is currently in use in over 1,400 health facilities in Uganda. UgandaEMR currently supports the following service areas such as HIV, TB, MCH, Laboratory, SMC, and Cervical Cancer, among others. Since 2015, the MakSPH-METS program has been supporting the Ministry of Health in the design and development of UgandaEMR.
    • One of the latest modules added to UgandaEMR by MaKSPH-METS is the stock management and dispensing (SMD) module that supports the documentation of essential medical supplies distributed and/or received at health facilities from the national medical warehouses.

Continue Reading

Trending