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Dr. Kakumba Officially Opens HPE Conference 2021



The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)-DVCAA, Dr. Umar Kakumba on Thursday 27th May, 2021 officially opened the two-day Health Profession’s Education Conference based on the theme; “Transforming Health Professions Education (HPE) in the 21st Century: From Theory to Practice”. The Conference was organised by the Eastern Africa Health Professions Educators’ Association (EAHPEA), and the Health Professions Education Partnership Initiative (HEPI) Project co-hosted by the College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University.

The project; Health Professions Education and training for Strengthening the Health System and Services in Uganda(HEPI-SHSSU), is an innovative Education Research NIH-funded program implemented by a partnership between CHS, Busitema University School of Health Sciences, Kabale University School of Medicine, Clarke International University, Mulago School of Nursing and Midwifery, The African center for Global health and social transformation (ACHEST), Yale University and John Hopkins University (JHU). Prof. Sarah Kiguli from the School of Medicine, CHS is the project’s Principal Investigator and the Conference’s Chairperson Organising Committee.

The goal of the HEPI program, which started in August 2018 is to improve service delivery of the Ugandan health system through strengthened interdisciplinary health professional education and research training to produce graduates with competencies to address the priority health needs of the population.

Dr. Kakumba in his remarks noted that health is a critical success factor towards sustaining and promoting high levels of human development and it is therefore important that all stakeholders are involved in strengthening education and training systems for Health Professionals.

In this regard, he said that EAHPEA and the HEPI Project both provide opportunities and platforms for stakeholders to collaborate, plan and implement strategies that will improve the competence of educators and ultimately, the quality of graduates and health of communities.

“At institutional level, Makerere is especially aware of the dire need to recruit adequate numbers of well qualified staff, who should be developed in knowledge, and other competencies. Indeed a number of actions continue to be undertaken in the units with most critical need” he shared.

The DVCAA made specific mention of CHS’ proposed; pre-entry exam to improve the process of admitting medical students, and establishment of the Health Professions Education Centre to support faculty development at the college and other Institutions, as interventions that will contribute to the University’s efforts to implement student-centred learning.

“I equally bid to support the establishment of the Health Professions Education Centre” he vouched.

Dr. Kakumba therefore urged the College to strengthen its partnership with Government, particularly the Ministries of Health and Education as well as development partners and the community to ensure that meaningful transformation in Health Professions Education is achieved.

“I extend special thanks to all the Keynote Speakers, Partner Institutions represented, and the National Institutes of Health that has funded the conference through the Makerere University HEPI Project” he concluded.

The Principal CHS, Prof. Damalie Nakanjako thanked Dr. Kakumba for being supportive of the college’s innovations, particularly the proposal to establish the Health Professions Education Centre. She added that CHS had since followed it through to the next level. “The proposal is already under review by the Senate sub-Committee.”

Prof. Nakajanko shared that CHS was proud to have led the transformation of traditional curricular into the student-centred curricular. This curricular is grounded in problem-based learning and community-based education and services. The college has also embraced inter-disciplinary education.

Prof. Nelson Sewankambo (Left) and Prof. Sarah Kiguli (Right) from the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda are winners of 5-Year Fogarty International Center Awards
Prof. Nelson Sewankambo (Left) and Prof. Sarah Kiguli (Right) from the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda are winners of 5-Year Fogarty International Center Awards

“All these innovations would not have been possible without the efforts of; Prof. Nelson Sewankambo, Prof. Sarah Kiguli and Prof. Elsie Kiguli Malwadde” remarked Prof. Kiguli to applause from the audience.

She added that the Professors have since gone beyond CHS to support and work with all other Health Education Programmes in the country. “It is because of you that our Medical Education continues to be the leader in the region and we thank you very much.”

The Principal said her college was able to carry on teaching despite restrictions to institutions aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 thanks largely to the pedagogical support provided by the HEPI program. She therefore called for the need to reclassify computers and e-Learning equipment as teaching materials at procurement stage, so as to facilitate increased roll-out of online education.

Prof. Nelson Sewankambo is a Professor of Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine, CHS. Having served as Associate Dean and Dean of the School of Medicine and thereafter Principal CHS, he has been at the helm of various academic and administrative innovations and dedicated his efforts to improving medical education both in Uganda and internationally. Recently awarded Professor Emeritus of Makerere University, he was therefore the perfect candidate to deliver the opening ceremony’s keynote address on “Transformative Health Professions Education: Owning and Changing Our Future”.

“As we think about transformation of education, we need to link education and health systems. We cannot or should not work with one system and not the other. We as health profession educators should contribute to building the health systems as well” said Prof. Sewankambo as he tackled the need for holistic transformative education.

Reflecting on the three types of learning of health professions education; Transmissional, Transactional and Transformational, Prof. Sewankambo said that the latter; Transformative learning involves experiencing a deep, structural shift in the basic premises of thought, feelings and actions.

“Many of you know that young people join health professions training institutions with a lot of vigour and interest to do wonderful things and by the time they leave these institutions they have given up; they are not thinking the way they did when they were coming in” he shared solemnly.

This point then drove him to ask “So, how can we lay the foundation for transformational learning?” and as his audience pondered he answered, “We need to analyse the main opportunities and challenges which are facing the health workforce… and then we need to recognise and accept the need for change.”

Prof. Sewankambo acknowledged that we are in most cases our own barriers because we do not recognise the need for change. “We have therefore, before we talk about transformative education, to transform our own minds, then we can plunge into transformative education.”

Other factors identified by Prof. Sewankambo in laying the foundation for transformative education included; Strategic vision and change management, Balancing the top-down and bottom-up approach and above all, Transformative leadership and a learning system/institution.

He further warned that a failure to re-lay the foundations would most likely result in Uganda and the region risking a “continued deterioration of service provision, worsening health outcomes and a system poorly equipped to respond to future health challenges.”

Prof. Sewankambo in conclusion tasked the delegates who were drawn from various institutions within Uganda and the region to come up with a call to action. This, he opined, would serve as the turning point for ensuring transformative health professions education in the period following the conference.


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



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



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.


Tel: +256-751-700897
Email: rbaguma[at], henry.nsubuga[at]

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



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.


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] 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] 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]


  • 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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