The President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will officially open the World Health Summit Regional Meeting Africa on Sunday 27th June 2021. The Regional Meeting is hosted by Makerere University and the Government of Uganda and will run from 27th to 30th June 2021 at the Speke Resort Munyonyo.
During this meeting, the President is expected to have a one-on-one discussion with Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization, where he will advocate for vaccine equity and access for African countries including Uganda.
The World Health Summit held every October in Berlin, Germany is complimented by a Regional Meeting in a different part of the world. Health is a truly global challenge—most health issues affect people everywhere. At the same time, different regions and cultures have different health priorities.
At the World Health Summit Regional Meeting, these local and regional topics come to the forefront. Each meeting is hosted and organized by the M8 Alliance member holding the World Health Summit International Presidency, which rotates every year. M8 Alliance is a consortium of Academic Health Centres, Universities, and National Academies currently with 25 leading medical Schools in the world.
This will be the first time the World Health Summit Regional Meeting is held in Africa. The largely virtual meeting will be conducted under strict observance of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) outlined by the Ministry of Health. Only sixty international and local delegates have been cleared to attend the sessions physically at Munyonyo.
The Central topics of the Regional Meeting are: COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa; Non-Communicable Diseases; Universal Health Coverage; Global Health Security & Infectious Diseases; Advancing Technology for Health in Africa; Intersectoral Action for Health; and The Health of the African Youth.
In his welcome message to delegates, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe noted that the Regional Meeting is being hosted at a trying and therefore particularly important time for the whole world. As such, he said, discussions on the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to take center stage.
He therefore rallied Ugandans as hosts to attend and actively participate in the largely virtual event, which will also feature exhibitions by Makerere University Staff and Students.
“We are extremely delighted to be leading the preparations for the World Health Summit Regional Meeting. With health professionals and other stakeholders in government and the private sector coming together, I’m optimistic that the meeting will stir us all to think better and work harder to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, all of which pertain to health, whether directly or indirectly,” says Prof. Charles Ibingira, International President of the World Health Summit 2021 and former Principal of the College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University.
Explaining how the 80% virtual event will proceed, Prof. Tonny Oyana, Finance Chairperson of the World Health Summit Regional Meeting said, “We have planned the technologies; ZOOM, YouTube and other means to be able to overcome the challenges that arise when you host virtually.
“And so, it is an opportunity to first of all inspire our young people that this is what can happen if you become the best in the country” added Prof. Oyana.
Highlighting the benefits that come with hosting the summit, Dr. Bruce Kirenga, Chairperson of World Health Summit Regional Meeting Scientific Committee says, “It is a very good platform for advocating for Global Health and it happening in Uganda and in Africa at this point in time is going to create an opportunity to bring experts from all over Africa and other continents to discuss the issues concerning how to deal with the pandemic.”
Picking up from where Dr. Kirenga left off, Prof. Damalie Nakanjako, Principal College of Health Sciences (CHS) notes that, “This World Health Summit will give an opportunity for African Scientists and African Investigators to engage on the international scene with scientists, pharmaceutical companies and industry to illustrate that what happens in Africa is of global importance.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely strained the delivery of essential health services. Talking about how the session she will participate in will address this, Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze, Dean School of Public Health says, “We have been doing a study in four countries in Africa including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda and we’ll have an opportunity to explore how these countries have performed and what they have done to ensure that we continue to deliver essential health services even as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies is the academic foundation of the World Health Summit. It is a growing network and currently consists of 30 members in 20 countries, including the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), which represents the national academies of medicine and science in 130 countries.
The World Health Summit is one of the world’s leading strategic forums for global health with 6,000 participants onsite and online, 300 speakers from 100 nations and 50 sessions. This year’s World Health Summit will take place from October 24-26 in Berlin and virtually.
With over thirty sessions lined up for the Regional Meeting 2021, participants should expect lively discussion, new ideas, and major progress for global health—in the region and around the world.
Please visit the conference website here: https://regionalmeetinguganda.com/
Mak’s GMI Labs Authorized to Conduct DNA Paternity Testing
The Genomics, Molecular, and Immunology Laboratories (GMI Labs), operating under the auspices of the Makerere University Biomedical Research Center (MakBRC), have achieved another significant milestone in their journey of diagnostic excellence. The labs, renowned for their pivotal role in infectious and non-infectious disease research, have received official approval from the Director General Health Services at the Ministry of Health (MoH), Uganda, to conduct DNA Paternity Tests.
Situated at the Dept of Immunology & Molecular Biology under the School of Biomedical Sciences at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, the GMI Labs have been at the forefront of cutting-edge research, diagnostic testing, and training initiatives. Their remarkable contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, where they conducted nearly a million PCR tests, underscored their unwavering commitment to public health and scientific advancement. The labs’ exemplary performance and reliability were further highlighted by their successful management of two critical COVID-19 prevalence surveys. The findings of these surveys served as foundational data for crucial decisions guiding the country’s lockdown strategies and phased reopening, earning commendation from the President and the Ministry of Health.
This latest authorization from the Ministry of Health marks a significant expansion of the GMI Labs’ diagnostic capabilities. With the approval to conduct DNA Paternity Tests, the labs are now equipped to offer a crucial service addressing the need for accurate and reliable genetic testing for determining biological parentage. In a letter dated 22nd November 2023, the Director General Health Services emphasized the laboratory’s rigorous adherence to international standards, proficiency in molecular biology techniques, and their proven track record in delivering precise and credible results. This approval further solidifies the labs’ position as a trusted institution for advanced genetic diagnostics in Uganda.
Prof. Moses L Joloba, the Director of the GMI Labs, expressed immense pride in the team’s dedication and expertise that led to this authorization. He highlighted the labs’ commitment to upholding the highest standards of ethical practice, confidentiality, and accuracy in DNA paternity testing, ensuring the delivery of dependable results crucial for legal, personal, and familial purposes.
The inclusion of DNA Paternity Testing within the GMI Labs’ list of services aligns with their overarching goal of advancing healthcare through state-of-the-art diagnostics, research, and education. This milestone represents not only a significant achievement for the labs but also a valuable resource for individuals seeking reliable and comprehensive genetic testing services. As the GMI Labs continue their unwavering commitment to excellence in healthcare and research, this new capability reaffirms their pivotal role in advancing the frontiers of molecular diagnostics and genetic testing in Uganda, working closely with reputable institutions such as Makerere University Hospital and other top-notch health facilities.
MNCH e-Post Issue 121: Learning from Nsambya Hospital Human Milk Bank to inform national scale-up & save preterm babies
Welcome to this exclusive interview with Prof. Peter Waiswa, lead expert from the Makerere University Centre of Excellence for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health. Dr. Victoria Nakibuuka from St. Francis Nsambya Hospital, and Dr. Jesca Nsungwa from Ministry of Health Uganda. In this video, they discuss a groundbreaking innovation in Uganda’s healthcare landscape: the country’s first-ever human milk bank at St. Francis Hospital Nsambya. This initiative represents a significant stride towards improving the survival rates of premature and vulnerable infants by ensuring access to essential breast milk, even when mothers are unable to produce enough. Watch Video
METS Newsletter October 2023
The Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support (METS) Program is a 5-year CDC-supported collaboration of Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Health Information Systems Program (HISP Uganda).
Highlights of the METS October 2023 Newsletter
- Strategies for Enhanced Disease Surveillance and Public Health Response in Uganda
- The MoH Department of Integrated Epidemiology Surveillance & Public Health Emergencies (IES&PHE) Head, Commissioner Allan Muruta (Dr) visited METS to acquaint himself with the various surveillance activities supported by the Program.
- Commissioner Muruta emphasized the need to build the capacity of districts and regions to conduct surveillance activities by training the relevant staff and establishing surveillance focal points at health facility levels.
- He further emphasized the importance of linking laboratory data to the District Health Information System (DHIS2) and ensuring that different systems are interoperable.
- Improving quality of data for HIV testing services (HTS) through regular assessments
- MoH has been conducting Data Quality Assessments and Improvement (DQAI) activities to inform program planning, monitoring, and performance management. HIV testing services (HTS) inter was conducted in 16 regions, 81 districts, and 111 health facilities in partnership with 26 Implementing partners.
- The HTS DQA has improved data management, infrastructure, and understanding of indicators. Specific staff assignment at each HTS entry point has proven effective, and use of the UgandaEMR system for reporting has yielded positive results.
- Shaping Uganda’s Healthcare Data Landscape
- METS has maintained a strong collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) providing invaluable technical support in developing various strategic guidelines for the country. These guidelines include the Uganda Health Information Exchange and Interoperability (HIE) Guidelines, the Uganda Health Data Protection and Confidentiality (HDPC) Guidelines, and the Uganda Health Data Sharing, Access, and Use Guidelines.
- HIE and HDPC guidelines have received the endorsement of the Health Information, Innovation and Research (HIIRE) Technical Working Group (TWG), awaiting presentation to the senior management team at the MoH for final approval.
- Empowering Health Professionals: PrEP Training in Hoima District
- MakSPH-METS has taken a proactive stance in supporting Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) for key populations through the development, management, and conducting trainings on the use of the PrEP tracker system across various agencies.
- METS conducted a 5-day training on the KP/PrEP Tracker system in Hoima district. Moving forward, facility staff will be able to enter data on PrEP services into the system in a timely manner, analyze the data, and use it for program improvement.
- HIV testing services (HTS) Data Quality Assessments and Improvement DQAIs
- Interagency cervical cancer on-site mentorships
- Orientation in KP tracker-Soroti
- TDY from CDC headquarters visit to METS
- M&E orientation meetings for new Implementing Partners
- Planning meeting for Cross Border Data Sharing-Busia
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