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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.

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

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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.

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UniCare App: 24/7 Access to Counselling

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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

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

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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.

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