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Uganda’s Ministry of Health Embraces Family Planning Data, PMA Data to Influence Policy



Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 16, 2022 (MakSPH) – Commissioners at Ministry of Health in Uganda have applauded the Performance Monitory for Action -PMA Uganda project for its robust research in family planning.

Dr. Olaro Charles, the Director Health Services- Curative Services at the Ministry of Health says the Ministry is grateful for the work that PMA does, citing that it would cost government a lot of money since such work would require a consultant to do it.

“The data collected in this PMA survey inform monitoring and assessment, assessing the progress of the targets as we set in the Family Planning 2030 commitments and the costed implementation plan. I am happy that all of you were involved during the formulation and official launch of these commitments,” Dr. Olaro said at a recent dissemination of panel survey results for phase 2 at Golden Tulip Hotel in Kampala.  

Dr. Olaro Charles, the Director Health Services- Curative Services at the Ministry of Health
Dr. Olaro Charles, the Director Health Services- Curative Services at the Ministry of Health

PMA Uganda, a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded project at Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), a leading public health institution in Uganda and within the East and Central Africa region uses innovative mobile technology to support low-cost, rapid-turnaround surveys monitoring key health and development indicators.

Between September and November last year, MakSPH-PMA project led by Principal Investigator Dr. Fredrick Makumbi and Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Simon Peter Kibira conducted a survey from 4,399 households where 4,346 females of ages 15-49 were interviewed. Also, data was collected in 384 health facilities and 2,370 client-exit interviews conducted.

According to the results, the trends in use of Contraception among all women of age 15-49 increased from 35% in 2020 to 40% in 2021 in all methods. On further analysis, those using modern methods of contraception increased from 29.5% to 34% while those using traditional methods of birth control rose slightly from 5.5% in 2021 to 5.9%.

“I am also happy to mention that I sit in the FP20 global committee, and as you know this is great not only for our country but as well as the region. From the first PMA survey, we were seeing the country making progress, however slow it is towards increasing modern contraceptive usage. As you all know the FP2030 objectives were launched and we need to be able to work. I will soon share with you the considerable plan, which is also a precursor for us to be able to achieve our Family Planning 2020,” said Dr. Olaro.

The Government of Uganda set an ambitious goal to increase the modern contraceptive prevalence rate to 50% by 2020. This however was not achieved. In acknowledging this, Dr. Olaro notes that there are still unsolved challenges with the quality of family planning services especially the counselling of users.

“If you go to back to our commitments, one of them is purposed to address this challenge. To address family planning misconceptions, government committed to improve counselling and in it, we provide what options are available, possible side effects and how we manage them, and how the users pick on a different component. So, with implementation and measurements, we shall be able to overcome the challenge,” says Dr. Olaro.

Hons. Catherine Namuddu, Sylivia Bahireira, Joel Ssebikaali, Charles Ayume, Hope Nakazibwe, Ronald Bagaga and Bayiga Rulume, all Members of the Health Committee of Parliament attended the dissemination. 

Professor of Disease Control, Researcher, Public Health Expert and Dean, MakSPH, Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze says a lot of the work that done at MakSPH is geared towards ensuring equity and through evidence. According to Prof. Wanyenze, PMA program is one of the projects at MakSPH where researchers generate evidence and continue facilitating policy formulation.

“This program shows this because on the data we have generated, has to be used by all these stake holders here with us today. For example, we have just used the PMA data to inform Uganda’s FP2030 commitments and before that we were also looking at this data while implementing the costed development plan,” she said.

Professor of Disease Control, Researcher, Public Health Expert and Dean, MakSPH, Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze
Professor of Disease Control, Researcher, Public Health Expert and Dean, MakSPH, Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze

Speaking to an audience that had legislators under the umbrella of the Health Committee of Parliament, Professor Wanyenze said improving health requires holistic approach that includes several other sectors of development including education. She also appealed to the legislators and the sector planners to re-orient health by investing more in promotion of health and prevention of disease than focus only at treating people.

“We can also generate more evidence. You can tell us where it is that you need more evidence that you do not have so that we can work together to generate evidence. We are available and ready to work with you so you can make more evidence-based interventions,” she said.

 In light of the Makerere University centenary celebrations, Dean Rhoda pledged continued generation of evidence that adds value.

Dr. Olaro paid emphasis on need for concerted efforts of Ministry of Health an its partners required to solve family planning challenges.

“We need to develop and adopt the use of innovative strategies to inform programming in an effort to address some, if not most of these challenges and I want to implore you to implement what works based on the findings,” Dr. Olaro said.

Further adding that; “These statistics that guide in programming should be progressively pursued and we are looking forward to continue good working relationships as we strive for better health of our communities in which we serve and live.”

Dr. Richard Mugahi Adyeeri, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Reproductive and Infant Health said MoH appreciates Dean Rhoda’s comments especially the call for evidenced based Interventions and the ability of the ivory tower, to keep producing this evidence whenever it is needed.

“We also appreciate your comment about the partnership with education, given the fact that the determinants of health, some of them fall in education, others are housed in agriculture, and we need a total rethink of our post pandemic public health interventions,” Dr. Mugahi observes.

Dr. Richard Mugahi Adyeeri, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Reproductive and Infant Health shares with the PMA PI and Deputy Dean MakSPH Dr. Frederick Makumbi
Dr. Richard Mugahi Adyeeri, the Assistant Commissioner in charge of Reproductive and Infant Health shares with the PMA PI and Deputy Dean MakSPH Dr. Frederick Makumbi

The Head of surveys at Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) Mr James Muwonge, while representing the Executive Director Dr. Chris Ndatira Mukiza congratulated MakSPH for pulling off this national survey and for having consistent data.

He encouraged research entities to continuously share information and best practices, as well as coordinate research efforts across different agencies. He also committed on behalf of UBOS to continue working together with MakSPH.

“The Dean has talked about the need to utilise information. There is a lot of information that is collected, but probably not much is being used but looking at the audience in here, I am encouraged and feel contented that the information is getting as far as the parliament because it influences policy and the fact that within the audience we have the policy makers, to me it is a testimony and really important,” said Muwonge.

The Head of surveys at Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) Mr James Muwonge
The Head of surveys at Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) Mr James Muwonge

National Population Council (NPC) Director General, Dr. Jotham Musinguzi said they advised Parliament on the need to invest in the population, reduce fertility in this country, and investments in education as a means to reduction of fertility.

NPC was established by the National Population Council, Act 485, 1994, to advise Government on all population matters. Dr. Musinguzi observes that if we do not reduce fertility fast enough, we will not be able to benefit from the demographic dividend.

“We have an opportunity now that Fredrick (Makumbi) and Simon (Kibira) have shown us that we can impact on contraceptive work, we can push it firmly, we need to make sure that education, health are working together so that the population moves from a pyramid that is very heavy at the bottom, to a pyramid that has a lot of people in the middle and these people get education, health and have skills,” he said.

National Population Council (NPC) Director General, Dr. Jotham Musinguzi
National Population Council (NPC) Director General, Dr. Jotham Musinguzi

In the last decade, Dr. Musinguzi says Uganda has been reducing on mortality and fertility rates citing that that’s when the country enters the realm of opportunity.

“I want say that this is something very important and we need to continue leaning to reproductive health and family planning especially use of contraceptives and through working with the Ministry of Health and other development partners. That is the only way we are going to achieve big impact on health, education of the population,” he said.

Dr Betty Kyadondo, the head of Family Health Department at NPC
Dr Betty Kyadondo, the head of Family Health Department at NPC

Dr. Betty Kyadondo, the head of Family Health Department at NPC noted that while there was an increase in the uptake of family planning services and that modern contraceptives, the country still needed to do more.  

She says great attention to the issues of use of contraceptive by certain groups such as adolescents and men, that are largely under looked and misrepresented is important.

“They don’t get adequate counselling in times they need the service but we are seeing an increasing number of teenage pregnancy rates and if we don’t work with these young people, its risky and sensitive issue and many people are shy to talk about it but its high time we faced it and addressed sexually active adolescents about the use of family planning methods,” Dr. Kyadondo says.

She advances the need to leverage on the existing efforts in improving family planning service delivery such as human capital development program, community mobilisation and mindset change to reduce negativity and misconceptions about family planning, utilization of the parish development model through its pillars as well as integration of integrate technology into our family planning agenda.


Digital Mobile Technologies to Study Tuberculosis: A Multi-Discplinary Program



An aerial view of the Makerere University School of Public Health construction site on the Main Campus. To the Right is the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) and in the background are Dag Hammaskjold Hall (Green roof) and University Hall (Brown tiles).



Makerere University School of Public Health under D43 multi-disciplinary training program in digital mobile technologies to study tuberculosis that was recently funded by the NIH, through the University of Georgia (UGA) has an opportunity for funding of a masters’ research thesis. This is available to two (02) first year students of the Graduate programmes offered at Makerere University who have progressed to concept proposal development stage of their graduate program. These should be in good academic standing and have or are about to complete year 1 in Academic Year 2023/24. The support will start at the beginning of Academic Year 2024/25, i.e., end of August 2024 when the students are starting their year 2.  Students of geography and or digital health related courses are encouraged to apply, females too.  Students will be provided with secondary data to address the following, or similar, issues relating to tuberculosis (TB):

  1. Characterizing mobility patterns between urban and rural areas of Uganda using archived cell-phone (CDR) metadata
  2. Correlation between self-reported geolocated mobility patterns of TB patients and CDR data
  3. Differences in mobility patterns of TB patient’s pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis
  4. Gender differences and relationship between IGRA and TST in a prospective cohort
  5. Patterns of change in serial IGRA test results by sex, age, HIV status
  6. Temporal changes in contact, mobility and geographic networks in TB converters and non-converters
  7. Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) of social contacts and location patterns of movement by residents at risk for TB infection

Interested students are encouraged to attend an information session on Wednesday 17th July 2024 at MakSPH Annex Kololo where details about the research questions and funding opportunity will be provided to prospective applicants. Prospective applicants will be required to work with their mentors and training grant personnel to develop a 2-5-page concept that will be vetted for possible funding by training faculty of the training program.

Interested students should register their attendance with the training Coordinator, Mr Ivan Mutyaba by sending an email expressing interest in attending the session to by close of business on Thursday, 11th July 2024.

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METS Newsletter June 2024



Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) Dean, Prof Rhoda Wanyenze (Left), MoH Director General, Dr. Henry Mwebesa (Right) and other stakeholders join Dr. Amy Boore (2nd Right) to cut cake at her farewell event. Golden Tulip Hotel, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

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 June 2024 Newsletter

  • Tracking Trends in HIV Outcomes: The Implementation of HIV Case-Based Surveillance
    • METS in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and various implementing partners, is spearheading the HIV Case-Based Surveillance (CBS) initiative across Uganda. By February 2024, CBS had been activated in 504 health facilities, with 349 sites (69%) actively transmitting data.
    • Trends of New HIV Diagnosis: An analysis trends over a 20-year period (2000-2022) revealed an increase in new HIV diagnosis over time, peaking in 2014 and 2018, before starting to decline. Diagnoses among females consistently exceeded those among males each year.
    • Case-Based Surveillance (CBS) complimenting other HIV surveillance programs: CBS provides valuable insights into infection patterns and highlights the need for targeted interventions, particularly among females. Next steps include continued scale up of CBS implementation to reach 80% of ART sites; improving data transmission from facility to the national repository to achieve at least 90% of the CBS activated sites; and strengthening data analytics and use of the data for program improvement.
  • Enhancing HIV Prevention Data Collection Through Bootcamps
    • METS in collaboration with HISP Uganda held a workshop in Mbarara to update the Health Management Information System (HMIS) tools for PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) in the HIV Prevention Tracker. The workshop focused on digitizing paper forms to efficiently collect data on key and priority populations.
  • Electronic Medical Records (EMR) upgrades in Eastern Uganda
    • The two-week activity kicked off with a week-long training session at Northeast Villa in Kumi focused on the enhancements of UgandaEMR+, including improved point-of-care (POC) functionalities and data visualization techniques.
    • The initiative successfully trained over 15 AIDS Information Centre (AIC) staff members, including M&E leads, IT personnel, data officers, and M&E managers, in the practical use of UgandaEMR+. Additionally, the two facilities, Ochero HCIII and Kapelebyong HCIV, were upgraded and their staff trained on the new system.
  • Tribute to Dr. Joshua Musinguzi (9/09/1963 – 7/06/2024)
    • Dr. Joshua Musinguzi’s efforts to minimize HIV incidence and death strategically focused on translating knowledge into policies and actions, which has helped Uganda manage the HIV epidemic.
  • Gallery
    • Bidding farewell to Dr. Amy Boore, Program Director, Division of Global Health Protection – CDC
    • Analysing the UgandaEMR Clinical Laboratory Module
    • UgandaEMR+ training for USAID SITES
    • Training for clinicians at Ruharo Mission Hospital on SARI and ILI
    • HIV Treatment Services (HTS) Implementers Meeting

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Job Opportunity at MakSBSREC: Assistant Administrative Officer



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, East Africa.

Makerere University is pleased to announce a vacancy for the position of Assistant Administrative Officer (REC Administrator) within the School of Biomedical Sciences Research Ethics Committee (MakSBSREC). This is an excellent opportunity for qualified individuals to contribute to the ethical oversight of research involving human participants.

Position Details:

  • Job Title: Assistant Administrative Officer (REC Administrator) – MakSBSREC
  • Reports to: Chairperson MakSBSREC
  • Engagement: Full-time
  • Duration: 1 Year, renewable upon satisfactory performance
  • Duty Station: Kampala

Qualifications, Desired Skills, and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and Humanities, Medicine and Surgery, Ethics and Human Rights, or any related field.
  • Master’s degree in Bioethics (an added advantage).
  • Up-to-date training in Human Subject Protection or Good Clinical Practice.
  • Proficiency in English (both spoken and written).
  • Prior experience in regulatory work in research studies or projects.
  • Excellent communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work independently with minimal supervision and meet deadlines.

How to Apply:

Qualified and interested candidates are invited to submit a soft copy of their application documents and a motivation letter to with the subject line “Application for the position of Assistant Administrative Officer (REC Administrator)”. Address your application to the Dean, School of Biomedical Sciences.

Deadline for submission: July 2, 2024, by 5:00 pm Ugandan time.

Please provide a reliable 24-hour phone contact. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interviews.

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