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Next step for the fruitful collaboration between Makerere University and KI



One of KI’s largest international collaborations is with Makerere University in Uganda. In time for Makerere’s 100th anniversary, the partnership is to manifest itself in a Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health. A delegation from KI travelled in May to Uganda to cement the relationship.

“The foundation of a virtual centre for sustainable health gives us a totally new way to build international collaborations,” says KI president, Ole Petter Ottersen. “Mutuality and far-sightedness will pervade all our projects with the aim of improving health for all. The centre will enable more international collaborations, not just in Uganda but also with more countries in Africa, such as Somalia, and other parts of the world. In today’s turbulent world, it is especially important to work on a global stage and stand up for responsible internationalisation.”

From research to extensive collaboration

The partnership between Makerere University and Karolinska Institutet was established back in 2000. At first it was mainly focused on research, but it was soon extended to everything from student and teacher exchanges to joint doctoral studies. There is now a related alumni network containing hundreds of researchers and healthcare workers in Sweden and Uganda. 

One of the students who was quick to snap up the chance to change their study environment from Makerere University to Karolinska Institutet was Noeline Nakasujja. Today, she is a practising psychiatrist and departmental head at the Department of Psychiatry at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University

“I spent a month in Stockholm in 2005, which was a real eye-opening experience,” she says. “It opened a window onto our cultural differences and onto the differences in resources between universities. It made me realise how much we can achieve even with limited resources.”

Noeline Nakasujja, practising psychiatrist and departmental head at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University. Photo: Timothy Nkwasibwe
Noeline Nakasujja, practising psychiatrist and departmental head at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University. Photo: Timothy Nkwasibwe

Since the exchange programme began, some 300 students and teachers have participated. 

“During my time in Sweden, I almost immediately saw a clear difference in student-teacher relations,” she continues. “We have a much more marked hierarchy. At Karolinska Institutet, I saw how it was even possible to have a more relaxed relationship without compromising the seriousness of the teaching.”

After her exchange, Noeline Nakasujja also took the opportunity to take a joint PhD at KI and Makerere.

“My time as a doctoral student led to me receiving a doctoral student from KI,” she says. “That personal contact was the key to creating a platform that has enabled others to successfully navigate a foreign university.” 

Since then, Noeline Nakasujja and her department have accepted numerous students from KI, and she finds her first-hand experience of the Swedish study environment comes in very useful here. She now believes that the new Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health can deepen the relationship between the two universities even more.

“We need to strengthen the preventative work we’re doing in Ugandan healthcare,” she says. “Patients with Alzheimer’s can particularly benefit from early intervention, such as physical exercise and social activities that help to slow the onset of disease.”

She goes on: “The only way to create truly sustainable health and social care services is by breaking the circle and offering prophylactic intervention.”

There are several partners attached to the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health, including universities in Congo, Somalia, Kenya, Malawi and Ethiopia.

“The collaboration enables us to create an environment for the exchange of knowledge and experience that will have a knock-on effect on other international partnerships,” she explains.

Innovation developed in Uganda now implemented in Sweden

Susanne Guidetti, professor of occupational therapy at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society has been involved in developing student and teacher exchanges between Makerere and KI since 2004. Back then, she had just come home from having lived with her family in Nairobi for a few years and was put straight in touch with Julius Kamwesiga, an affiliate of Makerere University.

professor of occupational therapy at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society. Photo: Timothy Nkwasibwe
Professor of occupational therapy at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society. Photo: Timothy Nkwasibwe

The studies were conducted with Mulago National Specialised Hospital and gave the participants access to daily exercise with the help of their mobile phones. Stroke awareness is low in Uganda, where most people live in remote areas far from the nearest clinic. 

“When we can work together to offer more people stroke rehabilitation, we give them a real possibility to live a better life,” Guidetti says. “After the project, one of the participants came up to me and said: ‘The surgeon helped me survive, but my contacts with the occupational therapist made life worth living again’.”

The study will now undergo a larger-scale follow-up in Uganda, and its findings have prompted further studies in Sweden.

“What made our study unique was that we brought knowledge and experience from Uganda to Sweden. Here, our innovation will make it possible to help stroke patients in remote parts of Sweden, too,” she says. “There are now several mobile phone-based rehab options, but in Uganda we helped to pioneer the technique.”

Today, Guidetti has an important part to play in the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health. 

“Our project is a good example of how we can create an equivalent platform for sharing knowledge. Hopefully, we’ll be able to develop it further at the Centre and take new steps together towards sustainable health.”

The Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health enables not only the sharing of knowledge and experiences, but also the development and spread of innovations that can bring the goal of sustainable global health closer to being achieved. The knowledge and the network  that the centre possesses make it easier for us to take on today’s pressing societal challenges together, not only in Sweden and Uganda but globally, too. 

“We have an incredible amount to learn from each other,” says Professor Ottersen. “Let us be inspired by each other’s solutions, big and small, and together find more ways to tackle global health challenges. With the founding of the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health, our partnership takes the step from aid funding to being a true partner-driven collaboration.”

More about Susanne Guidettis’ research project

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Makerere Medical Journal: Golden Jubilee Edition 2022



Cover Page of the Makerere Medical Journal Golden Jubilee Edition 2022.

It’s with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Golden Jubilee edition of this phenomenal journal. Yes, The Makerere Medical Journal marks 50 years of publication with this year’s edition and all this has been made possible by the endless efforts and contributions of the Makerere University College of Health Sciences Staff and students because without your research submissions and financial support, the journal wouldn’t have made it this far. To you reading this, thank you for contributing to the sustainability of this great project, year in year out.

Here’s a quote to ponder on as you delve into this year’s well-crafted articles and it’s by Zora Hurston (1891-1960), “Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” And doesn’t that just define our purpose as researchers?!

This edition’s articles cover pertinent topics ranging from Antimicrobial Stewardship, COVID-19 interventions, Oral Health amongst others. It also features student projects, write-ups on student-led organizations and societies that are making a difference in the life of a health sciences’ student and many more interesting writings. Featured in this issue are international manuscripts from countries like Nigeria and we were also honored to work with other universities within the country and feature some of their students’ articles.

I would like to extend my most sincere gratitude to my team of editors that engaged in a rigorous peer review process to ensure that the articles published are up to standard. As the editorial team, we are quite pleased to see the number of undergraduates involved in research steadily increasing and all the efforts that have been put in by the different stakeholders to see this happen are commendable.

With that said, I hope you enjoy every second of your read!!!


Research and Writers’ Club 2021-2022

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Call for Applications: HEPI Masters Support Fellowship



Panelists L-R: Professor Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde, Professor Francis Omaswa, Professor Jehu Iputo and Professor Joel Okullo at the HEPI-ACHEST Health Professions Education Symposium, 17th June 2022, Makerere University.

Applications are invited for the Health Professional Education Partnership Initiative (HEPI-SHSSU) Masters fellowship programme support from postgraduate students of:

  • Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS)
  • Kabale University School of Medicine
  • Clarke International University
  • Faculty of Health Sciences, Busitema University

The programme will support graduates in their final year of training leading to the award of a Masters degree on any of the Master’s graduate training programs at the stated University for a maximum of 19 successful candidates.

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 30th September 2022.

Inquiries and Applications must be submitted to

See attachment for more details 

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Call for Applications: Faculty Research Training



The Principal MakCHS-Prof. Damalie Nakanjako (6th R), Prof. Sarah Kiguli-PI HEPI (R), Prof. Francis Omaswa-ED ACHEST (8th R), Dr. Safina Museene-MoES (5th R), Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze (3rd R), Prof. Joel Okullo (9th R), Prof. Josephine Namboze (7th R), Prof. Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde - ACHEST (2nd R) and other Health Experts at the Symposium on 17th June 2022, MakCHS, Makerere University.

Applications are invited from faculty at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kabale School of Medicine, and Clarke International University to undertake training in research.

Limited research funding will be available for research focusing on community-based, clinical, operational, health professions education, epidemiological, biomedical, and research in Communicable Diseases (e.g. HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, etc.) or non-communicable diseases of importance to Uganda.

Up to 15 applicants will be selected and they will undergo a brief (2 days) didactic training in research proposal development prior to embarking on their research projects. Up to 4,000 US dollars per applicant (depending on budget) will be available to support the research.

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 3rd October 2022.

Inquiries can be forwarded to the PI, HEPISU Program on

See attachment for more details

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