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Mak Staff Vaccination for COVID-19 Kicks Off

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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.

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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

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METS Newsletter May 2024

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The newly appointed CDC Uganda Country Director, Dr. Adetinuke Mary Boyd (7th from left) met with country implementing partner Executive Directors to get insights on ongoing projects, discussed leveraging of partnerships as well as strategizing for how best to strengthen health systems. Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI)-McKinnell Knowledge Centre, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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 May 2024 Newsletter

  • Enhancing Response to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
    • Responding to and preventing Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and Violence Against Children (VAC) are critical components of Uganda’s national HIV prevention program. METS developed a new app designed to improve support for SGBV survivors. This followed an assessment in December 2022, that revealed gaps in service access and coordination in Fort Portal and Kampala Regions.
    • The METS team, in collaboration with regional implementing partners, is scaling up the app’s use in pilot districts such as Masaka, Kiryandongo, Fort Portal, and Mubende. The team visited facilities and police stations to install the app and train selected focal persons on its use.
  • Assessing Readiness for Integrated HIV and NCD Care Services
    • METS supported the Ministry of Health to conduct a site readiness assessment for integrated delivery of HIV and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) services from 22nd to 26th April 2024, in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and various implementing partners. The activity was conducted in selected health facilities in Acholi, Mubende, Kayunga, and Rwenzori regions to determine their feasibility for participating in a comprehensive NCD evaluation.
    • The 48 facilities visited have already integrated NCD services (mental Health, diabetes, and hypertension). Of these, 78% have integrated mental health services in their PMTCT clinics. 40% of the facilities have a dedicated NCD services physicians /doctor in the ART Clinic, 29% have doc have dedicated physicians in the PMTCT clinics. 90%. Most of the facilities have clinical and nurses in the ART than PMTCT facilities but more nurses offering NCD services in PMTCT sites.
  • Digitalizing the health sector through strategic partnerships
    • In collaboration with CDC and METS, the MoH organized a national Electronic Medical Records (EMR) stakeholders meeting to orient stakeholders on the national EMR agenda and transition towards a comprehensive digital health facility package. Key actions discussed included expanding the rollout of the EMR and Community Health Information System (eCHIS) and urging development partners to support prioritized health information and digital health investments.
    • The introduction of electronic medical records (EMRs) in health facilities aims to improve the quality of health service delivery by providing real-time accountability transparency, and traceability of medical supplies, monitoring health worker absenteeism, enhancing patient satisfaction through efficient care provision, reducing unnecessary or duplicate diagnostic tests, and offering easy access to management reports for decision-making. Additionally, EMRs will lay the foundation for the implementation of national health insurance.
  • UgandaEMR+ Implementation Showcased at Kisenyi HCIV
    • METS and Reach Out Mbuya (ROM) showcased the implementation of UgandaEMR+ to representatives from the USG and the Ministry of Health (MoH) at Kisenyi HCIV. The visit was aimed at providing a clear understanding of the system’s functionality at the health facility, which serves over 1,200 outpatients daily and supports over 1600 clients on ART.
    • Dr. Peter Akonyera, the ART Clinic In Charge shared positive end-user experiences, noting simplified data use and analysis, efficient data retrieval, and the system’s popularity among users despite existing challenges. He appreciated METS’ support in maintaining system synchronization. The data visualization tools have been particularly useful for clinicians to manage patient schedules and workload distribution effectively, ensuring timely and efficient healthcare delivery.
  • METS Showcases Research at INTEREST 2024 Conference in Benin
    • The International Conference on HIV Treatment, Pathogenesis, and Prevention Research (INTEREST) brought together global scientists to share cutting-edge knowledge in HIV diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. The conference also aimed to build a community of African physicians and scientists to develop local solutions for managing HIV and preventing its transmission.
    • METS submitted an abstract titled “Enhancing HIV Case Identification through a National HIV Testing Services (HTS) Continuous Quality Improvement” based on support to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in designing, implementing, and evaluating initiatives to increase the identification of HIV-positive clients, crucial for achieving the global target of 95% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) knowing their status.
  • Gallery
    • New CDC Director meets Country implementing partner Executive Directors
    • UgandaEMR+ support supervision at Kisenyi HCIV visit
    • EMR Stakeholders meeting
    • CBS guidelines meeting
    • INTEREST 2024 conference – Benin
    • Key Populations assessment – Ishaka district

View on METS

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SIMCS-Trial Vacancy Announcement: Twenty-Five (25) Research Assistants

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An elevated shot of the School of Health Sciences and School of Medicine Building, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University. Mulago Campus, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Makerere University College of Health Sciences School of Medicine in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine received funding from US National Institutes of Health – Fogarty International Center to carry out a study on “Development and evaluation of an information management and communication system for population-wide point of-care infant sickle cell disease screening (SIMCS-Trial)”. The program seeks to recruit 25 research assistants at its study sites. 

Roles and responsibilities  

  • Identify and screen participants for possible enrolment into the study according to the Study Protocol.
  • Obtain informed consent from caregivers of eligible participants as per protocol accordance with GCP and HSP principles.
  • Counsel and explain study procedures to the caregivers of study participants using the mobile app.
  • Enrol eligible participants into the study to meet the study accrual targets.
  • Complete study CRFs, correctly and accurately in compliance with trial procedures/ SOPs and GCP standards.
  • Ensure study participants’ safety and privacy, data integrity and confidentiality.
  • Participate in collection of appropriate study samples/specimens from the participants as per protocol and SOPs as well as performing the test.
  • Carry out any other duties as assigned by superiors in line with your work.

Required Qualification and experience 

  • A degree in any health-related discipline, and registered with the relevant national bodies.
  • Knowledge and familiarity with Microsoft word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access as well as basic internet applications 
  • Skills in using common relevant computer packages and mobile technology for data collection
  • Previous work in a research environment is added advantage.
  • Basic knowledge of clinical research regulatory procedures. 
  • Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training and Research Ethics training skills and knowledge
  • Excellent command of English (written and oral) as well as the local languages (Luganda or Lusoga)
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to develop relationships with participants.
  • Experience of living and or working both in urban and rural environment.
  • Team-working skills to work effectively as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team 
  • Time management skills and ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented and self-motivated/driven. 
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. 
  • Ability to professionally communicate in writing, verbally or other means deemed appropriate. 

Reports to: The SIMCS Co-Investigator/SIMCS Trial Coordinator 

Expected start date: July 2024

How to apply: 1-page type written application letter addressed to the Principal Investigator SIMCS Trial MakCHS SOM together with current CV, copies of academic certificates, and recommendation letters from two past employers should be e-mailed as ONE PDF DOCUMENT to makimpact22@gmail.com

Deadline for receiving applications: Friday 20th June 2024 at 5:00 pm

Only shortlisted candidates will be invited to the interview. 

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CTCA Call for Proposals: Enhance Tobacco Control Institutional Capacity in Africa

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Call for Proposals - Project Title: Enhance Tobacco Control Institutional Capacity in Africa; Grant #339. Deadline 30th June 2024, by 5pm EAT. The Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA), School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Project Title: Enhance Tobacco Control Institutional Capacity in Africa; Grant #339

Introduction:

The Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA) received funding from the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) for the 2024-2026 to implement a project on institutional capacity. The project investments are geared towards sustaining human resource capacity and knowledge generation to reduce use of all forms of tobacco products in Africa. Specifically, the project aims to:

  1. Enhance training opportunities for African governments and relevant actors in tobacco control in
    the continent
  2. Increase access to knowledge for guiding tobacco use prevention and control in Africa
  3. Reinforce the institutional development of CTCA for an optimal performance of its functions
    and processes.

In 2020, CTCA developed a Tobacco Control Research Agenda (TCRA) with the aim of providing a guide for generating local evidence to drive tobacco control policy formulation and implementation in Africa.

Therefore, CTCA with support from ACBF is seeking researchers across the African continent to be awarded 6 small grants of USD 5000 to implement research that aligns with the TCRA thematic areas below:

  1. Patterns and trends of tobacco use and exposure for all tobacco products including the new
    products at country and regional levels (sex, age, region, types of products, new products).
  2. Effects of tobacco use and exposure on sustainable development (poverty, education, culture, food security, environment, HIV, TB, reproductive health, NCDs).
  3. Tobacco use and populations at risk (youth, young adults, women/gender, elderly, residents
    of urban areas, miltary, prisoners, mental health patients, populations in low socio-economic
    dwellings like slums).
  4. Tobacco control policy research and analysis (smoke free, TAPS, GHWs, ceasation) of cost
    effectiveness, impact, drivers, enablers, innovation, challenges, communication and advocacy
    for tobacco control.
  5. Sociocultural context of tobacco use
  6. Tobacco industry and tobacco control policy
  7. Tobacco production, alternative livelihoods and environment (distribution, value chain,
    environmental impact, historical and determinants of tobacco production)
  8. The economics of tobacco and tobacco control (product, pricing, illicit tobacco trade,
    taxation)

The full research Agenda can be accessed in English and in French.

Submissions

We are pleased to invite submissions from researchers based in Africa. Successful proposals should align with any of the 8 thematic areas of the CTCA Research Agenda. Innovative proposals that address critical issues and contribute to evidence-based policy and practice in the respective areas to inform Tobacco control in Africa are particularly encouraged.

Requirements

These grants will fund work that relates to the CTCA Research Agenda. Activities will include
proposal development, data collection and analysis, report writing and dissemination. All research to be implemented will be approved by the institutional review board and published in peer reviewed journals. These grants are intended for; 1) Researchers based in Tobacco Control Programs/Response; 2) post graduate students who would like to complete their research projects aligned to this call and 3) early and middle career researchers. It is required that this research is executed, and the report completed within 12 months. The applicant should have a mentor in an established institution.

Eligibility

Eligibility is restricted to Africa-based researchers. This refers to individuals who are (a) currently studying at a university or research institute in Africa, and/or b) currently working within a university, research institute, or in tobacco control in Africa. All persons associated with tobacco industry will not be funded and therefore should not apply. Successful applicants will be required to sign a declaration of interest that they do not have any relationship with tobacco industry.

Evaluation criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by a group of experts and researchers. Projects will be assessed against six, equally weighted evaluation criteria:

  • Knowledge contribution in respect to policy, strategy, and evidence to answer local
    challenges:
    Does the study articulate the research gap? Does study make a significant
    contribution toward advancing knowledge in the tobacco control field? Does it answer
    new questions or introduce novel methods, measures, or tobacco control interventions? Is
    it aligned to the WHO FCTC and tobacco control local context requirements? Does the
    study add to the existing body of research?
  • Policy relevance: Will results from the research have generalizable implications? How,
    if at all, will the “lessons learned” have relevance beyond the study? Will the study
    outcomes influence decisions in tobacco control?
  • Technical design: Do the methods appropriately answer the objectives and the questions
    outlined in the proposal? Is the proposed study feasible in one year?
  • Project viability: Are there any other logistical or political obstacles that might threaten
    the completion of the study, for example, government authorization or Human Subjects
    review, civil strife, social cultural sensitivity?
  • Value of research: Is the cost of the study commensurate with the value of expected
    contributions to policy? Are the planned activities justified and coherent?
  • Ethics: Reviewers will consider whether there are any risks of harm to research
    participants, what the proposed risk mitigation strategies are, and how the possible
    benefits of the research compare to the possible harms.

Application Process

Apply HERE not later than 30th June 2024, by 5pm EAT. Applicants are required to provide a
recommendation/support letter from their supervisors or heads of department.

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