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Six MakSPH Early Career Scholars Receive Seed Research Funds

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Six early-career scholars at the Makerere University School of Public Health have been awarded funding to support their research.

Cycle three (3) of the MakSPH Small Grants Program has six awardees that are: Rawlance Ndejjo, Solomon Wafula, Dr. Arthur Bagonza, Frederick Oporia, Catherine Ninsiima, and Bonny Enock Balugaba.

Each of the awardees is to receive up to US$5000 (about 18 million Uganda Shillings) for the research. The awards were announced by Dr. David Musoke, the newly appointed Grants and Research Capacity Building Committee chairperson in a virtual 32nd Meeting of the Committee held on Tuesday, March 23, 2021.

Representing the Seed Grant recipients, Mr. Rawlance Ndejjo, a Ph.D. Student and Research Associate at the School hailed the School management for the initiative towards supporting early-career scholars to grow their research capacity.

“On behalf of the recipients of this third round, I want to thank you. A big thank you to the Grants and Research Capacity Building Committee for awarding us these grants. It’s an honor. It’s always very nice to wake up to such good news. We want to thank you for giving us funding to implement some of our ideas,” Ndejjo said.

He also thanked the School Management and the Dean for starting this initiative to support young researchers.

“This will be a big stepping stone for us as we look forward to winning other grants. I also want to congratulate my colleagues for getting this far and I promise that we shall work as a team to move the different research agendas forward,” Mr. Ndejjo said.

On her part, Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, Professor and Dean, MakSPH congratulated the team of six researchers for emerging winners of the 3rd round of the seed grants from the School.

“They are seeds to grow our individuals and young faculty, our stars for tomorrow. They are also seeds because they are growing new areas of research where we are not doing as much as we ought to. But they are also seeds because they are growing us as a School,” Prof. Wanyenze said.

The Dean also appealed to the grantees to exhibit professionalism, ethics, and accountability.

“When you receive a seed, please do not eat it. This is meant to grow. Please make sure that it grows in various directions. Make sure that it grows you as an individual, and the subject of research you are going to work on. In other words, do a good study, look out for other grants that you can apply for to move that agenda forward, and also make sure that it grows the School. We are looking up to you and hopefully, this seed grant can add value to you all,” Prof. Wanyenze added.

Overall, a total of 11 applications were received but six were successful. Dr. David Musoke congratulated the grantees on the awards and encouraged them to conduct good quality research so as to be a stepping stone for better things in the future.

The studies:

Mr. Solomon Tsebeni Wafula, a Research Associate, Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health at MakSPH will be assessing the indoor air quality, risk factors, and potential health effects among residents in an urban informal settlement, Uganda.Solomon Wafula

Meanwhile, Mr. Rawlance Ndejjo, a Research Associate in the Department of Disease Control and Environmental at MakSPH Health will be studying the lifestyles of slum dwellers in Kampala with particular interests in cardiovascular diseases.Rawlance

Also, Dr. Arthur Bagonza, a veterinarian and public health fellow at MakSPH will be investigating the effect of COVID-19 on pediatric fever treatment among registered private drug sellers in East Central Uganda.Arthur Bagonza

Mr. Frederick Oporia, an Injury Epidemiologist and Research Associate in the Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health will be expanding his research on preventing drowning. Frederick

Mr. Oporia will be particularly investigating the effectiveness of Lifejackets used by boaters on Lake Albert, Uganda in the prevention of drowning.

With this funding, Catherine Ninsiima, a research associate at MakSPH will be undertaking a study on adherence to dietary approaches to stop hypertension diet and factors associated with adherence amongst hypertensive patients attending Uganda Heart Institute, Mulago Hospital.catherine

Bonny Enock Balugaba, a Research Associate in the Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health at MakSPH will be investigating the effect of lockdown measures on traffic injuries in Kampala.Bonny

Professor David Serwadda, the out-going chairperson of the Grants and Research Capacity Building Committee said the launch of the Small Grants, which was passionately championed by Professor Rhoda Wanyenze’s leadership, is one of the exciting achievements of the Committee.

“This resulted from our strategic planning where we realized that the young faculty members probably do not have many opportunities to engage in research,” Prof. Serwadda.

The Small Grants Program was initiated in 2018, and the committee was interested in public health fields that had initially been neglected. Later, the first cohort of grantees was awarded in 2019 and the second in 2020.

“This has been really very exciting for the young faculty. Recently, we had an evaluation of this program and it is extremely important that we continue this scheme. Despite the fact that funding from the Makerere Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) is available, we feel this is still very important for the School of Public Health,” Prof. Serwadda observed.

Already two peer-reviewed articles have been published in public health journals and about four are in advanced stages. This means that all the initial grantees will most likely publish with this support. “This program is intended to increase publications especially from the young faculty in the School. The grants are very successful and should be encouraged to continue,” Prof. Serwadda says.

Article originally published on MakSPH

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Assoc. Prof. Annettee Nakimuli wins US$1M grant for Maternal Health Research

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Associate Professor Annettee Nakimuli, Dean School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University.

Associate Professor Annettee Nakimuli, Dean – School of Medicine has been awarded US$1M grantfor Maternal Health Research from the Gates Foundation Calestous Juma Science Leadership Fellowship. The five-year grant, entitled “Enhancing prediction of adverse pregnancy outcomes in Africa through partnerships and innovation” will focus on Great Obstetrical Syndromes (GOS), such as pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, stillbirth, intrauterine growth restriction;to help develop context-relevant interventions for prevention and treatment.

This is a major research project because GOS is a major killer in sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 60% of the deaths of mothers. Maternal mortality in Uganda remains high in the region at 336/100,000 live births which is approximately a 14-seater bus of women dying per day.

Dr. Nakimuli, a graduate of Makerere University College of Health Sciences, is an internationally-recognized research leader in maternal health for Africa. Her work can be traced back to 2006 when she was appointed an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, Makerere University. She then enrolled for PhD in 2009 to investigate how KIR and HLA-C genetic variants contributed to the pre-eclamptic risk in Ugandans which was the first genetic case-control study of pre-eclampsia in indigenous Africans – despite African ancestry being a predisposing factor to pre-eclampsia. She concluded that African women are at greater risk of preeclampsia than other racial groups. Dr. Nakimuli has researched extensively on maternal health, mentored young scientists and supervised manymasters and PhD students.

She will establish a cohort study of 4000 healthy pregnant women at Mulago and Kawempe Hospitals in Kampala, Uganda will be conducted where detailed clinical, biological and demographic information from mothers throughout pregnancy and from their babies at the time of birth will be collected. The study has potential to shed light on determinants, mechanisms and solutions for the excess burden of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality in SSA and for women with African ancestry elsewhere in the world. This study builds on Dr. Nakimuli’s project where she is investigating predictors of pre-eclampsia in a cohort 1,500 healthy pregnant women; supported by the Future Leaders–African Independent Research (FLAIR) fellowship project funded by the Royal Society through the African Academy of Sciences.

Some of the products from the grant/study include: i) the biobank from this research will provide an important resource for future research studies. ii) build capacity for African scientists to solve problems of the Africa continent other than dependence on foreign experts iii) develop regional partnerships iv) multidisciplinary research where scientists from various areas work together.

Dr. Nakimuli expressed her appreciation for the opportunity given to her by the Gates Foundation to undertake the study as well as the support from colleagues at College of Health Sciences and Makerere University. She also highlighted the work accomplished through partnership with scientists at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cambridge, U.K headed by Prof. Gordon Smith.

Zaam Ssali is the Principal Communication Officer SoL & MakCHS

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Monitoring & Evaluation in Global Health Course

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The Makerere University Lung Institute (MLI) premises, College of Health Sciences, Mulago Campus. Date taken: April 2019

Makerere University Lung Institute through its NIH funded Non-Communicable Diseases Research training program #D43TW011401 aims to develop capacity for researcher to learn and understand the necessary tools to develop and implement M&E frameworks tailored to the needs of their NCD research programs in Uganda. As part of the program the Institute will sponsor participants with interest in NCD research to undertake a Monitoring and Evaluation in Global Health course with the University of Washington.  This course provides practical M&E skills that are required to create models and frameworks, indicators, design and deployment of M&E plans, quantitative and qualitative data collection, and data verification methods for working in complex local, regional, national, and global health environments.

How to Apply:

  1. Create an eDGH account: go to https://edgh.washington.edu, select ‘Log in’ on the top right, and then ‘Create a new account’. This will allow you to apply to the course and the account will keep track of your application and data
  2. Once you have created your account, go to  https://edgh.washington.edu/courses/participant-application
  3. Select the “Site-Based Participant” option when applying and select your site as “Uganda Kampala Makerere University Lung Institute” from the list on the application:
    1. Note: You may be asked if you understand that you may be responsible to contribute to site fees – select yes, but please note that there will be no cost to you for taking this course with our group.
    2. You will receive a confirmation email once you have submitted your application.

Please make sure you submit this application form by 08th December, 2021.

Contact Information:

Dr. Charles Batte
Program Manager,
Makerere University Non-Communicable Diseases Training Program (MakNCD)
makncd.chs[at]mak.ac.ug
+256700800618

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Call for Applications: CTCA Study Coordinator (Nov 2021-Nov 2026)

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A screenshot of African Governments supported by the Center for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA), Makerere University School of Public Health.

Project Title

Quit4Life+: Adapting and Evaluating a Phone-Based Tobacco Use Cessation Program for People Living with HIV in Uganda and Zambia

Introduction

The Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa is open for applications from suitably qualified candidates to coordinate a 5-years study in the field of HIV, tobacco use cessation and mHealth. The project targets young professional with a background in Public Health and clinical medicine from recognized university or any other related field institutions. The candidate should be interested in furthering research skills in the domains of HIV, tobacco control, mHealth, clinical trials and desirous of pursuing a PhD. The project provides opportunities for PhD.

About the Project

The Centre for Tobacco in Africa (CTCA), a constituent entity of Makerere University School of Public health responsible for capacity building and research for tobacco control in Africa. CTCA and the University of Southern California (USC) will be implementing a 5-year research project titled “Quit4Life+: Adapting and Evaluating a Phone-Based Tobacco Use Cessation Program for People Living with HIV in Uganda and Zambia”. This randomized control trial study aims to promote smoking cessation among HIV infected persons through adapting a standard short message service (SMS) for tobacco cessation program and the efficacy of SMS-based program tailored to meet the needs of PLWH (Quit4Life+) in comparison to the current standard of care in Uganda and Zambia.

The study will provide insights into the efficacy, feasibility, and applicability of delivering tobacco cessation interventions through health care professionals at HIV treatment centers in two countries with different tobacco use patterns, policy environments, and health care resources and provide needed information to providers and policymakers looking for cost-effective tobacco cessation interventions to inform scale-up of tobacco use cessation in LMICs worldwide. The project is therefore targeting public health professionals with experience in clinical trials and interested in fortifying their research skills who want to do a PhD.

While the PhD sponsorship is not embedded in the study, the project provides opportunities for a 5-year hands-on practicum the study coordinator will optimize to further his/her research and writing skills. The study coordinator will be expected to participate in teaching and to co-mentoring students interested to conduct research in the fields covered by the study. The candidate will be assigned an academic mentor from within the study team to further his/her career objective.

Scope of Work

The objective of recruiting a study coordinator is to strengthen coordination of the study to attain the project deliverables in the projected timelines. Therefore, the project seeks to recruit a professional responsible for holding the research program together in support of the project goal and specific aims to understand tobacco use cessation among HIV positive clients in health care settings. The search is for a full-time professional to hold the different components of the research project linked and desirous of undertaking a PhD. The successful individual will undergo a 6 months’ probation. The contract is renewable after successful performance appraisal for up to 5 years. In fulfilment of the PhD support, part of the individual salary will pay his/her tuition at Makerere University. The individual will use data from the project to write his/her thesis and also participate in the capacity building activities/session at the School of Public Health.

The study coordinator will;

  1. Develop the quarterly and annual work plans for the project
  2. Draft communication letters and memos for signature by the PI or his/her designate
  3. Schedule and convene virtual/physical meetings
  4. Act as secretary for the meetings
  5. Prepare terms of reference and job descriptions of project staff including field research teams
  6. Coordinate research capacity building activities and keep liaison with the study site teams in the two countries
  7. Ensure the study tools are up to date and protocols are submitted to IRB including renewals
  8. Support the procurement of the needed equipment to conduct the data collection
  9. Field supervision of study activities
  10. Supervision and appraisal of research assistants
  11. Overseeing data management and analysis, maintain, and update the research database for ease of follow up and reference
  12. Ensure quality assurance of the data collected
  13. Tracking progress against targets and documenting the study progress for timely and quality research outputs
  14. Preparing and submitting weekly progress reports to the PI
  1. Planning and management tasks for the smooth running of the research project.
  2. Track progress against targets and document the study process through compilation of monthly reports
  3. Coordinate the consent disclosure language and authorization, data collection, management, analysis and transmission
  4. Generate activity plans and the requisite operational schedules.
  5. Participate in preparation of manuscripts for publication in scientific journals.
  6. Compile monthly, quarterly, and annual report for review by the PI
  7. Participate is translating research outputs into peer reviewed journal articles, manuscripts, and publications.
  8. Organize dissemination of research information through various dissemination channels
  9. Any other duties related to the study that may be assigned by the PI

Key deliverables along the project path

The required deliverables include;

  1. Study tools
  2. Quarterly and annual work plans & budgets
  3. Performance Reports; Monthly, quarterly annual
  4. Term of references for the various level of the project team
  5. Checklists of project team
  6. A publication per year
  7. Supervision of students at master’s level
  8. Submission of a research grant for funding
  9. A PhD dissertation

Application Procedures

The applicant should submit electronically by 15th December 2021 at 5.00pm EAT;

  1. A cover letter
  2. A detailed Curriculum Vitae highlighting relevant research experience
  3. Copies of academic transcripts
  4. A statement of motivation that indicates reasons for applying for this post
  5. Reference letters from two referees with active phone numbers, and email addresses
  6. Address your application EOI[at]ctc-africa.org

Preference will be given to applicants interested in pursuing a PhD and demonstrated ability to contribute to the overall project goal.

Call originally posted on CTCA website

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