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Mak Launches Project to Aid Remote Health Facilities

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Makerere University on 8th December 2021 officially unveiled an African project to Benefit Health Facilities across the continent. The Project is called sustainable Off-grid solutions for Pharmacies and Hospitals in Africa (SophiA).

The launch was presided over by the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Professor Barnabas Nawangwe. The SophiA project will benefit both Makerere and the Health system in remote parts of the country by granting access to off-grid carbon-neutral electricity, heating and cooling of food and medicines, storage of vaccines up to -70°C as well as access to safe and clean drinking water.

Makerere is partnering with 13 organizations across Europe and Africa in the project funded by the European Union to ensure extended support to Health Centre Fours (HC IVs) across four African countries. It will be a 4-year multi-disciplinary project with activities in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Malawi, and Uganda.

The SophiA system components and layout (Courtesy Photo)
The SophiA system components and layout (Courtesy Photo)

Makerere University will take the lead in two of the project’s nine work packages. Work Package 1 (WP 1) is aimed at assessing the needs of several health facilities in the above mentioned countries in order to identify and match in each country ONE most significant and suitable health facility. The facility, which must be located in a rural remote region of the country will then be served by a SophiA system on a pilot basis.

Makerere will also take the lead in work package 7 (WP 7), which will investigate the environmental, economic, and social aspects to demonstrate the benefits of SophiA solutions.

During the launch, Vice Chancellor congratulated the team upon winning the grant adding that it is projects of this nature that will help Makerere implement its new strategic plan.

“First of all, I want to congratulate the team of Dr. Kiggundu, Dr. Bimbona, and Dr. Muhangi upon winning this grant. Makerere has a strategic plan which seeks to make the University even more research-intensive and we are only going to succeed in that if we have got the requisite human resource that not only applies for and wins grants but also does the research and disseminates the findings”. Prof Nawangwe stated.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (3rd R) with R-L: Prof. Bernard Bashaasha, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi, Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu, Dr. Denis Muhangi, Dr. Sarah Bimbona and Mr. John Tumuhimbise-Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development at the SophiA launch. (Photo by Alex Mugalu)
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (3rd R) with R-L: Prof. Bernard Bashaasha, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi, Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu, Dr. Denis Muhangi, Dr. Sarah Bimbona and Mr. John Tumuhimbise-Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development at the SophiA launch. (Photo by Alex Mugalu)

“This is a very good example of the capacity built by Makerere University over the years to improve its capacity in doing research and also wining grants. At the moment more than 50% of all the money for research that is coming into Makerere is either by individual researchers or groups of researchers or consortia like the one we are seeing here. I therefore want to believe that Makerere has really has reached the capacity of doing research of the highest standard with big grants won competitively at an international level and I want to congratulate you once again” the Vice Chancellor added.

In the same spirit, Professor Nawangwe acknowledged the European Union for considering Makerere‘s application for the grant and supporting the University in the implementation of the project. He also applauded the researchers and their partners for joining efforts to see that this project is a success.

“I thank the European Union for the grant, as well as the other partners of the project and all researchers for their efforts. It’s now my honor to launch the SophiA project.” Professor Nawangwe said.

Team Leader-Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu (C) with colleagues Dr. Sarah Bimbona (L) and Dr. Denis Muhangi (R) at the Launch of SophiA (Photo by Alex Mugalu)
Team Leader-Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu (C) with colleagues Dr. Sarah Bimbona (L) and Dr. Denis Muhangi (R) at the Launch of SophiA (Photo by Alex Mugalu)

Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu the project team leader from the Department of Agricultural and Bio systems Engineering, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) made it clear that the project will focus on four major areas including availing electricity to health facilities, preservation of medicine, water purification and improving hospital room temperatures.

“You may have heard in the past that Uganda might not get certain vaccines for COVID-19 because most of our facilities don’t store such vaccines, so this project will restore that possibility. We have a challenge of purified water whereby when you go to the hospital and are given some medicine to swallow but the water is not safe. And so we shall be able to purify water in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way without mixing the chemicals such as chlorine. We shall also make sure that the rooms in the hospital are cool”. Dr. Kiggundu said.

Dr. Denis Muhangi from the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) noted that this project will be multidisciplinary so as to find comprehensive solutions for health challenges in Uganda.

“If this project provides refrigeration to the health centres in remote parts of the country, solar energy, as well as all these water treatment and safe storage facilities, we will for sure have solved the bulk of challenges facing health centres in this country.” Dr. Muhangi said.

Engineering, Art & Tech

A Successful Ph.D. Defense by Vianney Andrew Yiga

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The CEDAT community is proud to share our congratulations to Vianney Andrew Yiga following his successful Ph.D. defense that happened yesterday Monday 3rd October 2022 at the College of Engineering, Design, Art, and Technology (CEDAT).

His Thesis was titled; Thermal Stability of Fiber- Reinforced Polylactic Acid Composites for Flameretarded Applications.

The candidate was supervised by Eng. Dr. Michael Lubwama and Eng. Dr. Peter W. Olupot both from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at CEDAT.

Dr. John Wasswa, Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences (CONAS), Makerere University was the opponent that interrogated the candidate to enable a clear understanding of the study.

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Makerere University Launches National Parenting Draft Manual

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The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo (Centre) and Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC (Right) interact with a participant at the workshop on 22nd July 2022, Kampala.

By Agnes Namaganda

On July 22nd 2022, Makerere UniversityChild Health and Development Centre (MakCHDC) launched a draft manual for the National Parenting Standards. The Centre has been working together with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) with funding from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund), to develop standards that are agreeable to all organisations in the country that are involved in parenting work. The draft manual was being presented to members of a consortium that brings together all these organisations together, called the Parenting Agenda Consortium.

“We produce many documents and they are shelved,” Irene Ayot Chono, who was speaking on behalf of UNICEF said. “We hope that this document will not be one of them,” she emphasized.

Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.
Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC who presented the draft manual to participants, emphasized that if any organization is doing parenting work, there should be a minimum package that they should offer.

Draft Manual Content

The manual which will have several modules. These modules will be delivered face-to-face in 1.5 hour sessions. Some of these include; Module 6 which will focus on “understanding responsible masculinity and fatherhood” and on “understanding the concept of head of family.”The draft manual also proposed that Module 11 focuses on Parenting in the 21st Century. Some of the sessions in this module will include Children and Technology, Contemporary Influence on Children and Modernity, Culture and Morality.Module 9 will focus on Parenting for Adolescents and some of the suggested sessions within this module are Needs for Adolescents and The Art of Communicating with Adolescents. Module 5 will focus on Preventing Violent Parenting and Promoting Alternative Discipline Strategies while Module 10 will be about Parenting to Address the Mental Health for Children and Adults.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.
Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.

Participants’ suggestions

After the presentation, participants raised several suggestions for discussion and consideration. These included whether there should be a module on spirituality since Uganda is a strongly religious nation. There was also the concern of how children in remand homes should be parented. Another concern raised by a participant was as to whether teachers who make an undeniable contribution to parenting, should be taken through the parenting manual.

A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.
A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.

In her closing remarks, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo, the Director of Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) said that the manual is for the parenting organisations to utilize and not for MGLSD.

The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.
The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.

Ms. Chono also adjured the team behind the manual to use picture illustrations in the manual that can be relatable by the Ugandan parents.

Contact: Agnes Namaganda – agnesvioletnamaganda@gmail.com

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Launch of Mak-RIF Round 4 Awards & PhD Call for Proposals

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Mak-RIF 4 Awards and PhD Call For Proposals, 29th September 2022, 9:00 to 10:00 AM EAT.

Makerere University received funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support high impact Research and Innovations. This unique initiative arose after engagements between the top University Management and the Government of Uganda. This fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of development and transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. 

In the Financial years 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 the Government of the Republic of Uganda through Mak-RIF has funded implementation of over 750 multidisciplinary research and innovations within the various Colleges, while engaging multiple stakeholders within and outside Makerere University. The Grants Management Committee (GMC) has finalized the award process for the Mak-RIF round 4 call for funding for this Financial Year 2022/2023.

The Grants Management Committee (GMC) hereby invites you to the Launch of the Mak-RIF Round 4 awards and PhD Call for Proposals scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday 29th September 2022 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. EAT. 

Please use the following details to join the launch.

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpcu-urDIjE9ZgxdsbEmA2IkNMMiJVECt_ 
Meeting ID: 884 5662 9992
Password: 292624

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