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I studied on Loans from Village Savings Group – Tabitha Audo, MakSPH First Class Graduand



Motivated to beat the statistic that none of the Irarak-Iworoi clan and her entire family has ever gone to university and obtained a degree, Ms. Tabitha Audo is graduating from Makerere Universiy, top of her class with a 4.63 CGPA in Bachelor of Environmental Health Sciences —BEHS.

Ms. Audo is overjoyed about accomplishing a major milestone of becoming the best performing undergraduate student at Makerere’s School of Public Health and setting the pace for her siblings.

She was born to Ms. Mary Immaculate Kiria and the late John Peter Ameu in April 1992 in Opiin village, Atiira Subcounty, in the Eastern Uganda District of Serere.

At the age of 6, Audo lost her father and that meant that the burden of raising her was left to her peasant mother. She was lucky that her step-mother Apio Angella, a VHT of Atiira Subcounty stood hand-in-glove with her mother to support her through her studies.

She sailed through her Primary education between 1998 and 2004 with the support of both mothers and obtained 19 aggregates at Apokor Primary School, Serere.

Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, MBChB, MPH, PhD, is a Professor and Dean of Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) congratulates Ms. Audo Tabitha (Left).
Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, MBChB, MPH, PhD, is a Professor and Dean of Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) congratulates Ms. Audo Tabitha (Left).

In 2005, she joined Rhema High School and sat her Uganda Certificate of Education in 2008 and obtained 43. But she would persist.

She had no hopes of joining A ‘level until a good Samaritan, Ms. Akwi Christine, the now  the Assistant District Health Officer Serere District Local Government, currently acting ADHO- Environmental Health identified her and encouraged her to join Mbale School of Hygiene. “She encouraged me to join the Course after seeing my conditions in our home. She also helped me to get a sponsorship under Mvule Trust Fund to pay for the certificate Course,” recalls Audo.

Between 2009 and 2011, Ms. Audo concentrated on acquiring a Certificate in Environmental Health which she excelled with a Distinction at Mbale School of Hygiene before upgrading to a Diploma in 2014-2016 which she equally scored highly with CGPA of 4.62.

Upon completing her certificate course, she was employed by Serere District Local Government as Health Assistant in 2012.

“The institution had motivated us that when you would pass a certificate, they would give you a government scholarship. However, when I passed with a distinction, I learnt that the government scholarship had been scrapped for upgraders. God blessed me to get a job immediately where I got money to pay for my Diploma.”

Audo says studying her Diploma was the hardest because it was a full-time study program that required a lot from her. Yet, additionally, she was paying fees for two of her siblings, one in Secondary School and another in a Tertiary Institution.

“I also had to pay for myself and I had just got a loan to support my tuition needs. It also happened that I had a baby who was just 8 months old. It was tough on me to pull of that Diploma. It was very tight to balance but I had to keep moving,” says Audo.

She recalls her low moments in School to manage family, work, and School. She said the initial loan cleared her two semesters and also paid for her siblings’ fees but it wasn’t sustainable in the long run.

“I was with Atai Faith in the same class. They knew my situation and supported me through discussion groups and with their help, I was also able to concentrate like any other person. I learnt that if you keep focused, even when challenges come, you still find ways. You can’t just sit down and say; ‘now, I can’t do anything’,” Audo recollects.

Her family background played a huge role in shaping her views on education and her desire to change her destiny. She says the pain her mother suffered in search of money to pay for her fees was an eye opener to her.

“My mother is a peasant. She stopped in S.2 and she didn’t have any job with her. She used to get weekly loans in village groups. I used to see all that suffering she was going through. Even feeding, everything was difficult. It gave me a motivation that ‘I don’t want to live in this kind of life again. So, even after I got a job, I wanted to relieve her from that suffering and that is why I had to carry the responsibility to pay fees for my siblings,” Audo reveals.

Joining MakSPH

In 2014, while Audo was still studying at the School of Hygiene -Mbale, the School held a careers session where a one Abel Wilson, then a Student at MakSPH spoke to them about the opportunities to advance their career through a Bachelor of Environmental Health. She was on the look-out until an advert for diploma entry-government admissions came out.

“Of course it was following Abel’s visit to School of Hygiene. So, I kept on waiting for the time of the advert and when it came, the first person who forwarded it to me was my supervisor, by then, the Serere District Town Council Clerk,” recounts Audo.

Mukula Max Martin, the former Serere Town Clerk, who is now the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Buvuma, a Central Uganda District coterminous with the Buvuma Islands scattered in Lake Victoria pushed Audo to study and further advance her career in 2018.

Some of the graduands of BEHS programme in a group photo with the Principal Registrar of MakSPH Ms. Gladys Khamili shortly after graduation.
Some of the graduands of BEHS programme in a group photo with the Principal Registrar of MakSPH Ms. Gladys Khamili shortly after graduation.

“Mukula motivated me and told me that he was sure I could make it. He told me I should study when I was still young and finish. He cautioned me against being comfortable and assured me that if I get admitted, I would get a study leave,” Ms. Audo says.

Her admission in 2018 was the proudest moments of her life but more to parents, she recalls.  “The family didn’t know what government sponsorship means. But for them, they were overjoyed that I was going to study from Makerere University. They were happy for me because for the first time, I was going to stay in Kampala.”

Her admission however came on the heels of her promotion to Health Inspector of Serere District that had been affected in March 2018. She thought given that she had just been promoted, it would be difficult to secure a study leave; “My immediate boss, Mr. Mukula called me to his office and congratulated me. He straight away started processing for my study leave. When my study leave was approved by the district service commission in November 2018, it was with pay and this was a serious relief.

Her appeal to bosses is to never seat on employees’ opportunities to study and believes any employee with interest and opportunity to study should be given a chance. She is passionate about changing the health situation in her current employment station. Although she dreams of working with the Ministry of Health, international organisation such as the United Nations, UNICEF.

Ms. Audo Tabitha (Extreme Right) together with her colleagues L-R; Mike Wejuli, Irene Nakaziba and Arac Oscar all of whom obtained first Class Degrees in BEHS of Makerere University.
Ms. Audo Tabitha (Extreme Right) together with her colleagues L-R; Mike Wejuli, Irene Nakaziba and Arac Oscar all of whom obtained first Class Degrees in BEHS of Makerere University.

Audo says she is interested in improving water and waste management situation in Uganda’s towns/cities. “When you look at our towns, both liquid and solid waste is a serious gap that we have to work on. Waste is everywhere, people are not sorting waste, it’s not being well managed I should say. Look at the towns, small or big. I expected Kampala to be better. Even liquid waste, over floors are everywhere every time and we need to surely improve!”

He key take away from the course is the diversity of knowledge in all fields. “Being a preventive medicine course, that involves working directly with the community to address problems, the course is one of those that involves you and builds your research capacity. I admire the level of research and quality of researchers at School.”

The College of Health Sciences (CHS) Leadership in a group photo at the 72nd Graduation Ceremony. Photo by Davidson Ndyabahika
The College of Health Sciences (CHS) Leadership in a group photo at the 72nd Graduation Ceremony. Photo by Davidson Ndyabahika

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METS Newsletter May 2024



The newly appointed CDC Uganda Country Director, Dr. Adetinuke Mary Boyd (7th from left) met with country implementing partner Executive Directors to get insights on ongoing projects, discussed leveraging of partnerships as well as strategizing for how best to strengthen health systems. Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI)-McKinnell Knowledge Centre, Makerere University, 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 May 2024 Newsletter

  • Enhancing Response to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
    • Responding to and preventing Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and Violence Against Children (VAC) are critical components of Uganda’s national HIV prevention program. METS developed a new app designed to improve support for SGBV survivors. This followed an assessment in December 2022, that revealed gaps in service access and coordination in Fort Portal and Kampala Regions.
    • The METS team, in collaboration with regional implementing partners, is scaling up the app’s use in pilot districts such as Masaka, Kiryandongo, Fort Portal, and Mubende. The team visited facilities and police stations to install the app and train selected focal persons on its use.
  • Assessing Readiness for Integrated HIV and NCD Care Services
    • METS supported the Ministry of Health to conduct a site readiness assessment for integrated delivery of HIV and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) services from 22nd to 26th April 2024, in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and various implementing partners. The activity was conducted in selected health facilities in Acholi, Mubende, Kayunga, and Rwenzori regions to determine their feasibility for participating in a comprehensive NCD evaluation.
    • The 48 facilities visited have already integrated NCD services (mental Health, diabetes, and hypertension). Of these, 78% have integrated mental health services in their PMTCT clinics. 40% of the facilities have a dedicated NCD services physicians /doctor in the ART Clinic, 29% have doc have dedicated physicians in the PMTCT clinics. 90%. Most of the facilities have clinical and nurses in the ART than PMTCT facilities but more nurses offering NCD services in PMTCT sites.
  • Digitalizing the health sector through strategic partnerships
    • In collaboration with CDC and METS, the MoH organized a national Electronic Medical Records (EMR) stakeholders meeting to orient stakeholders on the national EMR agenda and transition towards a comprehensive digital health facility package. Key actions discussed included expanding the rollout of the EMR and Community Health Information System (eCHIS) and urging development partners to support prioritized health information and digital health investments.
    • The introduction of electronic medical records (EMRs) in health facilities aims to improve the quality of health service delivery by providing real-time accountability transparency, and traceability of medical supplies, monitoring health worker absenteeism, enhancing patient satisfaction through efficient care provision, reducing unnecessary or duplicate diagnostic tests, and offering easy access to management reports for decision-making. Additionally, EMRs will lay the foundation for the implementation of national health insurance.
  • UgandaEMR+ Implementation Showcased at Kisenyi HCIV
    • METS and Reach Out Mbuya (ROM) showcased the implementation of UgandaEMR+ to representatives from the USG and the Ministry of Health (MoH) at Kisenyi HCIV. The visit was aimed at providing a clear understanding of the system’s functionality at the health facility, which serves over 1,200 outpatients daily and supports over 1600 clients on ART.
    • Dr. Peter Akonyera, the ART Clinic In Charge shared positive end-user experiences, noting simplified data use and analysis, efficient data retrieval, and the system’s popularity among users despite existing challenges. He appreciated METS’ support in maintaining system synchronization. The data visualization tools have been particularly useful for clinicians to manage patient schedules and workload distribution effectively, ensuring timely and efficient healthcare delivery.
  • METS Showcases Research at INTEREST 2024 Conference in Benin
    • The International Conference on HIV Treatment, Pathogenesis, and Prevention Research (INTEREST) brought together global scientists to share cutting-edge knowledge in HIV diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. The conference also aimed to build a community of African physicians and scientists to develop local solutions for managing HIV and preventing its transmission.
    • METS submitted an abstract titled “Enhancing HIV Case Identification through a National HIV Testing Services (HTS) Continuous Quality Improvement” based on support to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in designing, implementing, and evaluating initiatives to increase the identification of HIV-positive clients, crucial for achieving the global target of 95% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) knowing their status.
  • Gallery
    • New CDC Director meets Country implementing partner Executive Directors
    • UgandaEMR+ support supervision at Kisenyi HCIV visit
    • EMR Stakeholders meeting
    • CBS guidelines meeting
    • INTEREST 2024 conference – Benin
    • Key Populations assessment – Ishaka district

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SIMCS-Trial Vacancy Announcement: Twenty-Five (25) Research Assistants



An elevated shot of the School of Health Sciences and School of Medicine Building, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University. Mulago Campus, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Makerere University College of Health Sciences School of Medicine in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine received funding from US National Institutes of Health – Fogarty International Center to carry out a study on “Development and evaluation of an information management and communication system for population-wide point of-care infant sickle cell disease screening (SIMCS-Trial)”. The program seeks to recruit 25 research assistants at its study sites. 

Roles and responsibilities  

  • Identify and screen participants for possible enrolment into the study according to the Study Protocol.
  • Obtain informed consent from caregivers of eligible participants as per protocol accordance with GCP and HSP principles.
  • Counsel and explain study procedures to the caregivers of study participants using the mobile app.
  • Enrol eligible participants into the study to meet the study accrual targets.
  • Complete study CRFs, correctly and accurately in compliance with trial procedures/ SOPs and GCP standards.
  • Ensure study participants’ safety and privacy, data integrity and confidentiality.
  • Participate in collection of appropriate study samples/specimens from the participants as per protocol and SOPs as well as performing the test.
  • Carry out any other duties as assigned by superiors in line with your work.

Required Qualification and experience 

  • A degree in any health-related discipline, and registered with the relevant national bodies.
  • Knowledge and familiarity with Microsoft word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access as well as basic internet applications 
  • Skills in using common relevant computer packages and mobile technology for data collection
  • Previous work in a research environment is added advantage.
  • Basic knowledge of clinical research regulatory procedures. 
  • Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training and Research Ethics training skills and knowledge
  • Excellent command of English (written and oral) as well as the local languages (Luganda or Lusoga)
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to develop relationships with participants.
  • Experience of living and or working both in urban and rural environment.
  • Team-working skills to work effectively as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team 
  • Time management skills and ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented and self-motivated/driven. 
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. 
  • Ability to professionally communicate in writing, verbally or other means deemed appropriate. 

Reports to: The SIMCS Co-Investigator/SIMCS Trial Coordinator 

Expected start date: July 2024

How to apply: 1-page type written application letter addressed to the Principal Investigator SIMCS Trial MakCHS SOM together with current CV, copies of academic certificates, and recommendation letters from two past employers should be e-mailed as ONE PDF DOCUMENT to

Deadline for receiving applications: Friday 20th June 2024 at 5:00 pm

Only shortlisted candidates will be invited to the interview. 

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CTCA Call for Proposals: Enhance Tobacco Control Institutional Capacity in Africa



Call for Proposals - Project Title: Enhance Tobacco Control Institutional Capacity in Africa; Grant #339. Deadline 30th June 2024, by 5pm EAT. The Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA), School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Project Title: Enhance Tobacco Control Institutional Capacity in Africa; Grant #339


The Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA) received funding from the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) for the 2024-2026 to implement a project on institutional capacity. The project investments are geared towards sustaining human resource capacity and knowledge generation to reduce use of all forms of tobacco products in Africa. Specifically, the project aims to:

  1. Enhance training opportunities for African governments and relevant actors in tobacco control in
    the continent
  2. Increase access to knowledge for guiding tobacco use prevention and control in Africa
  3. Reinforce the institutional development of CTCA for an optimal performance of its functions
    and processes.

In 2020, CTCA developed a Tobacco Control Research Agenda (TCRA) with the aim of providing a guide for generating local evidence to drive tobacco control policy formulation and implementation in Africa.

Therefore, CTCA with support from ACBF is seeking researchers across the African continent to be awarded 6 small grants of USD 5000 to implement research that aligns with the TCRA thematic areas below:

  1. Patterns and trends of tobacco use and exposure for all tobacco products including the new
    products at country and regional levels (sex, age, region, types of products, new products).
  2. Effects of tobacco use and exposure on sustainable development (poverty, education, culture, food security, environment, HIV, TB, reproductive health, NCDs).
  3. Tobacco use and populations at risk (youth, young adults, women/gender, elderly, residents
    of urban areas, miltary, prisoners, mental health patients, populations in low socio-economic
    dwellings like slums).
  4. Tobacco control policy research and analysis (smoke free, TAPS, GHWs, ceasation) of cost
    effectiveness, impact, drivers, enablers, innovation, challenges, communication and advocacy
    for tobacco control.
  5. Sociocultural context of tobacco use
  6. Tobacco industry and tobacco control policy
  7. Tobacco production, alternative livelihoods and environment (distribution, value chain,
    environmental impact, historical and determinants of tobacco production)
  8. The economics of tobacco and tobacco control (product, pricing, illicit tobacco trade,

The full research Agenda can be accessed in English and in French.


We are pleased to invite submissions from researchers based in Africa. Successful proposals should align with any of the 8 thematic areas of the CTCA Research Agenda. Innovative proposals that address critical issues and contribute to evidence-based policy and practice in the respective areas to inform Tobacco control in Africa are particularly encouraged.


These grants will fund work that relates to the CTCA Research Agenda. Activities will include
proposal development, data collection and analysis, report writing and dissemination. All research to be implemented will be approved by the institutional review board and published in peer reviewed journals. These grants are intended for; 1) Researchers based in Tobacco Control Programs/Response; 2) post graduate students who would like to complete their research projects aligned to this call and 3) early and middle career researchers. It is required that this research is executed, and the report completed within 12 months. The applicant should have a mentor in an established institution.


Eligibility is restricted to Africa-based researchers. This refers to individuals who are (a) currently studying at a university or research institute in Africa, and/or b) currently working within a university, research institute, or in tobacco control in Africa. All persons associated with tobacco industry will not be funded and therefore should not apply. Successful applicants will be required to sign a declaration of interest that they do not have any relationship with tobacco industry.

Evaluation criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by a group of experts and researchers. Projects will be assessed against six, equally weighted evaluation criteria:

  • Knowledge contribution in respect to policy, strategy, and evidence to answer local
    Does the study articulate the research gap? Does study make a significant
    contribution toward advancing knowledge in the tobacco control field? Does it answer
    new questions or introduce novel methods, measures, or tobacco control interventions? Is
    it aligned to the WHO FCTC and tobacco control local context requirements? Does the
    study add to the existing body of research?
  • Policy relevance: Will results from the research have generalizable implications? How,
    if at all, will the “lessons learned” have relevance beyond the study? Will the study
    outcomes influence decisions in tobacco control?
  • Technical design: Do the methods appropriately answer the objectives and the questions
    outlined in the proposal? Is the proposed study feasible in one year?
  • Project viability: Are there any other logistical or political obstacles that might threaten
    the completion of the study, for example, government authorization or Human Subjects
    review, civil strife, social cultural sensitivity?
  • Value of research: Is the cost of the study commensurate with the value of expected
    contributions to policy? Are the planned activities justified and coherent?
  • Ethics: Reviewers will consider whether there are any risks of harm to research
    participants, what the proposed risk mitigation strategies are, and how the possible
    benefits of the research compare to the possible harms.

Application Process

Apply HERE not later than 30th June 2024, by 5pm EAT. Applicants are required to provide a
recommendation/support letter from their supervisors or heads of department.

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