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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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Understanding & Preventing Drowning in Uganda

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Cover page of the "Understanding and Preventing Drowning in Uganda" Report 2020 by the Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH).

Drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death; accounting for 7% of all injuries. Over 90% of the estimated 322,000 annual global drowning deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries. Although the burden of drowning is believed to be highest in the WHO-African region, data
collection and surveillance for drowning in African countries is limited. Drowning prevention strategies require adequate data on the burden and circumstances of drowning to help ensure data-driven prevention efforts. The World Health Organization recommends that all countries take steps to improve drowning data so that prevention strategies can be context-specific.

This report presents findings of a two-phased study that was conducted in 60 districts of Uganda for a period of 2.5 years (from January 1st, 2016 to June 30th, 2018). In the first phase, records concerning 1,435 drowning cases were found in the 60 study districts. Other than stating that the individual had drowned, there was very little information that could potentially guide prevention efforts.

The second phase was limited to only 14 of the initial 60 districts. In the 14 districts, a total of 2,066 drowning cases were identified by community health workers and confirmed through individual interviews with witnesses/family members/friends and survivors of drowning. Most (1,332; 64%) of these were deaths. Using the community approach, as opposed to official records, revealed more than three times the number of drowning deaths in the same 14 districts. Almost half of all people who drowned were engaged in an occupational activity at the time of the incident.

These results show that drowning is a major cause of premature death in Uganda, especially among young adults whose livelihoods depend on water activities. However, most drownings are preventable through policies and regulations that reduce exposure to drowning risk, and institution of interventions to ensure safety around water. Drowning is a multisectoral issue, and all stakeholders (local and national government, water transport, water sport, education, fishing, health, and law enforcement) should coordinate to develop a national water safety strategy and action plan. The strategy could address matters of leadership coordination, funding, advocacy, awareness raising, prioritization, target setting, and monitoring and evaluation.

Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze,
Professor & Dean, School of Public Health, Makerere University

Please Downloads for the full report.

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Call for Applications: Leadership and Management in Global Health

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The Gardens at the College of Health Sciences (CHS), Mulago Campus, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Makerere University Lung Institute through its NIH funded Non-Communicable Diseases Research training program #D43TW011401 aims to develop capacity for researchers to lead and manage NCD research programs in Uganda. As part of the program the Institute will sponsor participants with interest in NCD research to undertake a Leadership and Management in Global Health course with the University of Washington.  This course provides practical leadership and management skills that are required 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.

Application Deadline: 19th August, 2021.

Contact Information:

Dr. Charles Batte
Program Manager,
Makerere University Non-Communicable Diseases Training Program (MakNCD)
Email: dr.cbatte[at]gmail.com | makncd.chs[at]mak.ac.ug
Tel: +256700800618

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MakSPH Position: Program Officer – Uganda DDP for WH

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Job Advert: Program Officer Position - Uganda Data Driven Policy Initiative for Women’s Health, MakSPH.

Makerere University School of Public Health (Department of Community Health and Behavioural Sciences) in collaboration with Vital Strategies is looking for a Program Officer for an exciting new program to reduce maternal mortality in Uganda.

Vital Strategies also promotes public health programs that include road safety, mental health, and activities to strengthen public health data systems and the use of public health data to guide policy and decision-making in Uganda.

About the Program

Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) with funding from Vital Strategies will implement a program to promote women’s health by address leading causes of morbidity and mortality. This program under the name Data-Driven Policy Initiative to Improve Women’s Health (DDP for WH) aims to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality resulting from unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and complications of pregnancy and childbirth in Uganda. Other countries where this project is being implemented are Bangladesh and Rwanda.

The program officer will work closely with ministry of health to strengthen capacity to collect, analyze and apply data to develop evidence-based policies. This Initiative applies a data-to-policy model to support improved access to, and surveillance of, family planning, contraceptives, abortion care, and other sexual and reproductive health services. The program complements existing efforts in Uganda and leverages Vital Strategies’ expertise in health data, epidemiology, surveillance, health policy and public health law, and strategic communication and advocacy.

The program’s theory of change is based on the assumption that clear and compelling data and evidence, along with effective advocacy, is fundamental to create meaningful and impactful policy and program improvements. Anchoring the first-year activities in building capacity and understanding in the data and its gaps will serve as the basis for policy analysis and development. Also through support and partnership with others currently working in this space, will complement ongoing advocacy and communications, and implementation efforts in the initial year and beyond.

The Position

This is a two-year, grant funded position but may extend for additional years. The Program Officer will be responsible for supporting Uganda-specific program results. S/he will serve as a subject matter expert in epidemiology/health data/Health Management Information Systems and will guide and provide technical support to Ministry of Health (MoH) of Uganda counterparts. The program officer will report to the Principal Investigator at the MakSPH. Progress will be discussed with Program Director based at Vital Strategies, the MoH and the Kampala based Investigators. The primary responsibilities of this position will be to ensure that the implementation of Initiative-activities in Uganda are country-owned and country-driven, technically sound and sustainable. They should also be in line with program goals and objectives, best practice standards, approved work plans, and budgets. S/he will ensure that Initiative activities are continuously monitored, and that implementation obstacles are identified and reported in a timely manner.

This position requires expertise and experience in the technical dimensions of this work, i.e., reproductive and sexual health, familiarity with sources and analytic approaches for data related to reproductive health, safe abortion and post-abortion care, and the use of data for policymaking and program management. The officer will be embedded in the Ministry of Health and MakSPH with dual accountability to MakSPH and Vital Strategies.

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Term of Service

Initial consultant contract will be 12 months and may be renewed, subject to satisfactory performance. A three-month probationary period will apply.

How to Apply

Please submit your application, a CV including salary expectations to the Dean, MakSPH via the link below.

Application link: https://forms.gle/w5GPpqTCVgftQJvFA

The deadline for applications is August 6th 2021. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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