Researchers at Makerere University College of Health Sciences have given recommendations on how the education and health sectors can support HIV/AIDS prevention among students.
The researchers advised that the health sector should develop communication strategies and materials specific to university students and increase support to provide youth-friendly HIV prevention services at universities. The education sector working with University management should include: life skill programs during orientation of new students; HIVST delivery through peers and freshman orientations; Increase sensitization & access to PEP/PrEP by high-risk students; and update and disseminate institutional HIV policies.
The recommendations were made at a dissemination meeting for a study titled ‘HIV risk and factors associated with use of novel prevention interventions among female students at Makerere University’ held on the 30th September 2022 at the Food Science & Technology Hall, Makerere University Campus.The study funded by Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research & Innovations Fund (MakRIF) was conducted by Dr. Lorraine Oriokot (Principal Investigator), Dr. Ivan Segawa, Dr. Sabrina Bakeera-Kitaka, Dr. Andrew Mujugira and Ms. Sharon Okello.
The objectives of the study were: to know the percentage of female students at risk of HIV; and to know the characteristics of students that have used the newer HIV prevention methods, which are HIV self-testing; Pre-exposure prophylaxis; and Post-exposure prophylaxis.
A total of 534 female students with an average age of 22years completed the survey. The results and findings of the study were:
- Behavioural characteristics (12% of the respondents were in multiple sexual relationships; 21% of the respondents had a partner ≥ 10 years from their age; 29% of the respondents used emergency contraceptive (in the past 6 months); 21% of the respondents had never tested for HIV; and 10% of the respondents believed that they were at high risk for HIV)
- The study considered a person was high risk if they: Had a partner who was HIV positive; Had multiple sexual relationships, anal or transactional sex; Used drugs especially injectable drugs; Had 2 or more sexually transmitted episodes in one year; Were pregnant or breast feeding; Were or had partners who sex workers, fishermen, long-distance truck driver, boda-boda rider, or army officers
- Overall, 21% students were deemed high risk for HIV; 19% of students had ever used HIV self-test kits; 64% had ever heard of oral HIVST; 93% were willing to use HIVST; HIVST was more likely to be used by older students; HIVST can bridge the HIV testing gaps among students
- 80% had ever tested for HIV far below the global targets of 95%; Self-test kits are freely available at the University Hospital; Test kits can be purchased over-the-counter in pharmacies
- For PEP it was found that:3% of students had ever used PEP; 9% among those eligible for PEP; 70% had ever heard of PEP; 65% were willing to use PEP; PEP use was linked to having a partner and high-self risk perception; PEP is currently the only way to reduce the risk of HIV infection in an individual who has been exposed to HIV; PEP is available at Makerere University Hospital at no cost
- For PreP it was found that:1% of students had ever used PrEP; 2% among high-risk students; 45% had ever heard of PrEP; 52% were willing to use PrEP; PrEP has been linked with decreased new infections of HIV; PreP is currently available as oral tablets. Vaginal rings and injectable forms are being tested for wide roll out; and PrEP is available at KCCA health facilities and facilities offering HIV care.
METS Newsletter November 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 November 2023 Newsletter
- Strengthening Regional Referral Health Systems: A Year of Progress
- In 2021, MakSPH-METS in collaboration with MoH designed a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Health System building blocks was developed. This framework employs a Progression Model to measure improvements in health systems capacity.
- The framework was piloted at the RRH in 2022 to obtain a baseline on the existing health capacities at the hospitals. A follow-on assessment was conducted in 2023 to measure if there were improvements in the health systems capacities. Overall, significant improvements were observed across the six health system building blocks: Governance and Leadership; Medicines, Health Supplies, Vaccines and Equipment; Health Information System and Integrated Disease Surveillance & Response; Human Resource
- for Health; Health financing; and Service delivery.
- Welcoming new Implementing Mechanisms (IMs)
- METS, the lead Strategic Information (SI) mechanism, in collaboration with CDC, organized an orientation workshop to support new implementing mechanisms as they transition to take on work load in the various regions in Uganda.
- The new mechanisms are Trust AIC Foundation supporting Soroti Region, Reach Out Mbuya Community Health Initiatives in Kampala Region. METS will continue supporting the new mechanisms to ensure compliance with national and PEPFAR requirements.
- Unlocking Scientific Excellence Through Collaborative Learning
- The METS program and CDC Uganda’s Office of Science collaborated on a five-day writing workshop aimed at synthesizing program results and advancing the development of scientific papers for publication.
- Key focus areas included reporting methods, analytic approaches, manuscript writing best practices, and regulatory protocols. Moving forward, the plan involves sustaining momentum by engaging program teams, utilizing regular touch-base sessions with CDC Office of Science and Subject Matter Experts to ensure quality and coherence in scientific content.
- Enhancing Client-Centered Care through use of Innovative Tools
- In a concerted effort to revolutionize client centered care, the Ministry of Health (MoH), working closely with MakSPH-METS and USAID – Uganda Health Activity (UHA), introduced an audit tool, embedded within the national quality improvement collaboratives.
- A one-day national Training of Trainers (ToT) was organized to not only enhance client-centered care but also empower regional teams as Trainers for the widespread implementation of this tool.
- The scientific writing workshop
- The Union World Conference on Lung Health 2023
- Workshop on Leveraging the HIV platform for Hypertension control in Uganda
- Lauch of National Global Alliance campaign aimed at eliminating AIDS in children by 2030
- South African Health Informatics Association Conference 2023
- The 1st National Digital Health Conference 2023
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
General2 weeks ago
Application Forms for Admission to Public Universities 2024/2025
General2 weeks ago
African Universities urged on developing comprehensive safeguarding policies with critical elements of safety & protection
Agriculture & Environment2 weeks ago
Soybean Breeders Deliberate Strategies for Improving Productivity
General1 week ago
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
Engineering, Art & Tech2 weeks ago
Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled