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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.


Makerere University Research shows challenges facing Forcibly Displaced Persons (FDPs) with Chronic Disease in Northern Uganda



Left to Right: Dr. Esther Nanfuka Kalule, a postdoc fellow on this study; Emma Ikwara, a researcher at CHDC; PhD student Onesmus Kamacooko at CHDC and Dr. Ritah Nakanjako interacting after the colloquium.

By Agnes Namaganda

Preliminary findings from a study by Child Health and Development Centre (CHDC) -Makerere University have revealed several challenges faced by Forcibly Displaced Persons (FDPs) with chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. This study is specifically looking at FDPs in northern Uganda. Accessing food, water, medicine, clothing, toilet facilities, privacy and support is a challenge for healthy FDPs but for those with chronic diseases, these provisions may mean the difference between life and death.

According to Drs, Ritah Nakanjako and Esther Nanfuka Kalule, who are post-doc fellows at Makerere University, FDPs with chronic diseases are unable to access facilities with medicines. Speaking at the February monthly colloquium of CHDC, Dr. Nanfuka said, “Medicines and medical forms are sometimes forgotten by these patients yet some do not know the names of their medicines. For others, these medicines get finished along the way due to the abrupt movements.” These disturbances in the continuity of care affects their health and wellbeing.

Left to Right: Dr. Esther Nanfuka, Dr. Ritah Nakanjako, Dr. Godfrey Siu who is giving the presenters feedback about their presentation and Dr. Aggrey Dhabangi.
Left to Right: Dr. Esther Nanfuka, Dr. Ritah Nakanjako, Dr. Godfrey Siu who is giving the presenters feedback about their presentation and Dr. Aggrey Dhabangi.

As an example, she referred to the constant need to monitor blood pressure or blood sugar for these FDPs. “Even when facilities are available, you may not have the money to refill medicines or you may not remember the name of the medicine.” She added that the stress and trauma of this kind of situation usually exacerbates these conditions.

Speaking about the rationale for doing this research, Dr. Nakanjako said that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are largely unrecognized and inadequately addressed in humanitarian settings, something which the Red Cross calls ‘a neglected crisis’.  Yet, studies conducted among refugees and asylum seekers across the world report a high burden of NCDs. Uganda hosts over 1.5m refugees, the highest proportion in sub-Saharan Africa with the majority comeing from South Sydan.

“The objective of this study is to examine the experiences of FDPs- which will contribute to knowledge on innovative ways of chronic disease care. This will also contribute to the management of NCDs in humanitarian, low resource settings,” Dr. Nakanjako explained.

Dr. Godfrey Siu (Left) and Dr. David Kyaddondo who is the Principal Investigator of this project interacting with other members of CHDC after the CHDC monthly colloquium which takes place every last Wednesday of the month.
Dr. Godfrey Siu (Left) and Dr. David Kyaddondo who is the Principal Investigator of this project interacting with other members of CHDC after the CHDC monthly colloquium which takes place every last Wednesday of the month.

This 5-year study that started in 2022 will run till 2026 and is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation under the Mobility-Global Medicine and Research Fund. It is a collaboration between three institutions; Makerere University, the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and the Sudan Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies in South Sudan. This research is taking place in Nyumanzi Reception Center in Adjumani district; Nyumanzi Refugee Settlement also in Adjumani district; IDP Settlements in South Sudan; and the Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement in Yumbe District.

Other challenges revealed by the FDPs with chronic diseases include the fear of drinking recommended amounts of water before or during travel to manage urine and to avoid stop-overs for security reasons.

After arrival at Nyumanzi Reception Centre in Uganda, these FDPs with chronic diseases do not receive any special care. It is only those with communicable diseases like TB. Cholera or Covid19 that get special care. Other challenges include; “a limited range of drugs, maintenance of cold chains for insulin, rationed water, lack of drinking water, lack of sanitary facilities and the congestion.

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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Short Course 2024



Some of the 22 participants that successfully completed the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) certificate course joined by course facilitators and administrators show off their certificates in July 2022 at MakSPH. Makerere University School of Public Health, New Mulago Hospital Complex, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Did you know that with just a Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) or its equivalent, along with at least 1 year of working experience in WASH, you qualify to join our Short Course in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene?

The Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health at Makerere University School of Public Health brings you yet another opportunity to enhance your skills and knowledge in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene from for the 2024 intake, scheduled to run from 20th May to 12th July 2024.

Designed to equip practicing individuals with the necessary attitudes, skills, and scientific knowledge for effective WASH management, this course is open to officers with limited training in WASH and Environmental Health Practitioners seeking continuous professional development. For more details and application instructions, please refer to the attached course poster or visit the course website at

Apply before Thursday, 28th March 2024 for a rewarding learning experience!

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Call for Abstracts: Annual Health Professions Education Scientific Conference



The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Centre Mak tie) with participants at the Health Professions Education Conference held 11th to 12th May 2023 at Hotel Africana, Kampala Uganda.

The Health Professions Education and Training for Strengthening the Health System and Services in Uganda Project (HEPI-SHSSU) at Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) is organizing the Annual Health Professions Education Scientific Conference.

Venue: Hotel Africana, Kampala, Uganda

Conference Dates: 10th, 11th and 12th April 2024

Theme: Advances in Health Professions Education:  Research, Innovations in Teaching and Learning, Quality Assurance


  1. Quality Assurance and Accreditation
  2. Health Professions Education Research
  3. E-Learning 
  4. Innovations in teaching and learning
  5. Graduate Education
  6. Simulation-based Learning

Abstracts are welcome in any of the above areas for oral presentations, mini-workshops, thematic poster sessions, and didactic sessions.

We welcome abstracts from all people involved in the education and training of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, students, health providers, and other stakeholders.

Abstract Submission:

Abstracts should be structured into:

Background, Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusion

For Education innovations: What was the problem, What was done, Results, and Conclusion (300-word limit).

Include the details of the corresponding author, the author(s), their contacts, and Affiliation.

Send your abstract to:

Deadline for Submission of abstracts: Saturday 23rd March 2024

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