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17 Postdoctoral Research Teams Mentored as SECA Project Winds up

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SECA is an acronym for the Supporting Early-Career Academics Programme at Makerere University (2019-2022). SECA is the fifth “phase” of the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)’s support to Makerere, and follows in the steps of similar successful initiatives that date back to 1946 when the Corporation’s relations with Uganda started. On Thursday 12th January 2023, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and SECA Chairman Project Implementation Committee (PIC), Prof. Umar Kakumba was joined by the Director, Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT), Prof. Edward Bbaale as well as Academic Registrar and SECA Project Coordinator, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi to preside over the programme’s final dissemination workshop.

Held in the Telepresence Centre, Senate Building, the workshop accorded the opportunity to research teams to present and discuss their findings. SECA supported seventeen (17) Early-Career academics at Makerere University, eight (8) of whom were female and nine (9) male, to undertake postdoctoral research fellowships in their respective fields of specialty. Additionally, SECA supported professional skills enhancement courses, as well as tuition and research costs for seventeen (17) Masters students (7 female, 10 male) attached to the research teams.

Furthermore, SECA provided funds to fellows for writing and publication, supported mentorship and research team building, provided travel grants to international conferences, and supported fellows to disseminate their findings to academia, policy makers and the general public. To facilitate improvements in the university research environment, SECA provided access to a grant worth US$6,000 to each of the fellows’ host departments. Some of the activities undertaken using the grants included; conducting academic writing and dissemination workshops, holding symposia for PhD students and academic staff, development of academic programmes, renovating research infrastructure and acquiring equipment.

Front Row: Prof. Umar Kakumba (C), flanked by Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (L) and Prof. Edward Mwavu (R) listen to proceedings during the SECA Final Dissemination Workshop.
Front Row: Prof. Umar Kakumba (C), flanked by Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (L) and Prof. Edward Mwavu (R) listen to proceedings during the SECA Final Dissemination Workshop.

Delivering his remarks, Prof. Umar Kakumba congratulated both Prof. Buyinza and Prof. Bbaale upon their new appointments as Academic Registrar and Director DRGT respectively, and thanked them for contributing to SECA’s success. In the same breath, he recognized and introduced members of the PIC namely; Prof. Jesca Nakavuma, Prof. Nicholas Kiggundu, Dr. Pamela Khanakwa, Prof. Julius Kikooma and Dr. Euzobia Baine Mugisha and thanked them for the rigorous work done in reviewing applications by fellows.

“I wish to congratulate you the fellows. As part of the monitoring team for SECA, we visited what you were involved in and I must say that Makerere has great potential. We received close to 102 proposals, and selecting seventeen (17) was a huge task because every proposition was bankable and attuned to the relevance of our country” Prof. Kakumba remarked.

The DVCAA noted that all projects undertaken by fellows had the potential to co-create knowledge with the communities and respective sectors beyond SECA funding. He therefore called upon them to continue providing research leadership in their departments and communities. On this note, he appreciated the fellows for each mentoring a graduate student.

Prof. Kakumba equally acknowledged CCNY for the generous support accorded to Makerere and continually entrusting the University with various opportunities to enhance the research capacities of her staff. In this regard, he thanked the Mentors, Heads of Department and the PIC for ensuring that the fellows continued to perform well and compile their progressive reports on time. This feat, he acknowledged, has led to Makerere University securing a successor grant in line with SECA.

Addressing the fellows and audience, Prof. Bbaale paid tribute to his predecessor, Prof. Buyinza for his visionary leadership of DRGT that gave rise to initiatives such as SECA. “It is gratifying and heartwarming to have events of this nature that are in line with the research-led agenda of the University.

The Deputy Director DRGT and the Workshop Moderator, Prof. Julius Kikooma contributes to the discussion.
The Deputy Director DRGT and the Workshop Moderator, Prof. Julius Kikooma contributes to the discussion.

“Postdoctoral research is high quality research, which can go a long way in informing policy for societal transformation. We greatly value each of the projects you have undertaken and we are confident that they have the potential to contribute to the national development agenda. Therefore, we must bring on board targeted dissemination beyond this general dissemination” said Prof. Bbaale.

He explained that targeted dissemination is the gateway to different institutions of Government that are either users or potential users of policy recommendations and different projects that need to be scaled up across the country. Beyond SECA, Prof. Bbaale urged the fellows to form a cluster of researchers as a platform for continued collaboration and a multidisciplinary entity to compete for research grants.

“The world over, postdoctoral research is an engine that must propel the university into a research-led direction… As DRGT, we are soon going to propose a policy on postdoctoral degrees that will pave the way for different units to admit many more postdoctoral fellows” added Prof. Bbaale.

Makerere’s strategic thinking in terms of research is informed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), National Vision 2040, African Charter 2063 and the Institutional Research Framework, which implies that we are running a coherent research agenda” said Prof. Buyinza as he commenced his remarks.

Dr. Kavuma Namirembe Susan from the Department of Policy and Development Economics, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) presents her findings on the evaluation of Spatial Connectivity and Firm Productivity.
Dr. Kavuma Namirembe Susan from the Department of Policy and Development Economics, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) presents her findings on the evaluation of Spatial Connectivity and Firm Productivity.

The Academic Registrar added that the realization of these aspirations is dependent on grooming a crop of critical thinkers who can contribute to the knowledge economy. He therefore expressed his gratitude at being able to participate in a number of phases of CCCNY’s support to Makerere, aimed at achieving this objective.

“I have been privileged to participate in the Next Generation of African Academics I, Next Generation of African Academics II, Nurturing Emerging Research Leaders through Post-Doctoral Training (NERLP) and Supporting Early-Career Academics (SECA), which we are closing today, and the successor consolidating the Supporting Early-Career Academics (SECA) programme” he explained.

Turning to SECA, Prof. Buyinza noted that the project was designed to expand Makerere’s community of research leaders and doctoral supervisors through four (4) specific objectives. These included;

  1. To consolidate the capacity of fellows to conduct quality research with appropriate mentorship at Makerere,
  2. To strengthen the enabling environment to encourage the retention of fellows at Makerere,
  3. To strengthen research management and research leadership capacity at Makerere, and
  4. To increase the capacity for scientific communication of research outputs into publicly accessible writing.

“We believe that we have built an integrated, institutionalized, research mentorship culture at this University because of our model of delivery of this project. It is a three-tier model consisting of the Senior who is the Mentor, the PI (Principal Investigator) who is the Early-Career fellow and the Masters student” said Prof. Buyinza.

Dr. Andrew Tamale from the Department of Wildlife and Aquatic Animal Resources, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) presents his findings on Management of Bacterial Diseases in Fish Hatcheries.
Dr. Andrew Tamale from the Department of Wildlife and Aquatic Animal Resources, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) presents his findings on Management of Bacterial Diseases in Fish Hatcheries.

He added that this architecture enabled the SECA team to build synergies between the different levels of research development and in so doing, ensure sustainability by institutionalizing mentorship. Prof. Buyinza therefore encouraged the fellows to continue posting their successes on the SECA portal and holding the lunchtime seminars in their departments.

“I want to believe that your skills have been enhanced, your vision to research has been touched beyond publishing an article to looking at the wider spectra of events that form you as a regional research leader. We want you to form a regional network so that together you can write research grants, supervise graduate students and influence the research agenda in the different countries” concluded Prof. Buyinza.

Details of the fellows and their research projects may be viewed in the table below.

No.NameUnitProject Title
1.Dr. Dhabangi AggreyChild Health and Development Centre (CHDC), CHS.Hemolytic Disease of the New-born in Uganda: Burden and Clinical Characteristics
2.Dr. Edopu Nabuyungo RitahDepartment of Fine Art, MTSIFA, CEDAT.Community Product Design Education for Improved Market Access.
3.Dr. Kabagenyi AllenDepartment of Population Studies, CoBAMS.Adolescent Motherhood, pre and postnatal New-born care practices, perceptions and barriers in Eastern Uganda (AMNEP).
4.Dr. Kambugu RobertDepartment of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, CAESModeling of long-term development scenarios for plantation forestry and forest industries in Uganda.
5.Dr. Kavuma Namirembe SusanDepartment of Policy and Development Economics, CoBAMSEmpirical Evaluation of Spatial Connectivity, Urban structure, Density and Firm Productivity: Evidence from Kampala.
6.Dr. Kindi Immanuel FredrickSchool of Women and Gender Studies, CHUSS.Gender, Oil and Migration in the Albertine Graben Region, Uganda.
7.Dr. Mayanja Nanziri MaureenDepartment of Bio-security, Ecosystem and Veterinary Public Health, CoVAB.Ethnoveterinary Medicinal Plant Technology Information Pathways and Prospective for Sustained Usage among Transhumant Pastrolists in Karamoja.
8.Dr. Muhanguzi DenisDepartment of Bio-molecular and Bio-Laboratory Sciences, CoVABTargeting hotspot villages to accelerate the eradication of Acute Sleeping Sickness (ASS) from Uganda.
9.Dr. Mwesigye Rutabatiina AbrahamDepartment of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism, CAES.Epidemiological survey of populations exposed to heavy metals and trace elements from Mining activites in Uganda. A case study of Kilembe copper mine catchment.
10.Dr. Mwikirize CosmasDepartment of Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering, CEDAT.Efficacy of Deep Learning-aided Platform for Diagnosis of Breast Cancer using Ultrasound Images in the Ugandan Population.
11.Dr. Najjemba Harriet P.Institute of Open Distance and E-learning, CEES.Using Emerging Technologies to Capture and Disseminate Indigenous Agricultural Practices for Improved Food Production in Uganda: A case of Luweero District (INDIGRIC).
12.Dr. Nambi RebeccaDepartment of Humanities and Language Education, CEES.Supporting refugee access and participation in higher education: A case of Makerere University.
13.Dr. Nasirumbi B. LosiraSchool of Agricultural Sciences, CAES.Intra-household gender dynamics and uptake of agricultural technologies for sustainable livelihoods in Uganda.
14.Dr. Semujju BrianDepartment of Journalism and Communication, CHUSS.Evaluating Digital Literacy to Create a Policy for Digital Media use at Makerere University.
15.Dr. Ssekuubwa EnockDepartment of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism, CAES.Enhancing the use of Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration for mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity and improving livelihoods in Uganda’s Cattle Corridor (FMNR).
16.Dr. Tamale AndrewDepartment of Wildlife and Aquatic Animal Resources, CoVAB.Operationalization of Phages for Management of Bacterial Diseases in Fish Hatcheries
17.Dr. Zawedde AminahMinistry of ICT and National Guidance. Formerly CoCIS.QATE: A Public Participatory Approach for Quality Assessment of e-Government Services to Enable Sustainable Development.
SECA Project Postdoctoral Research Teams (2019-2022)

General

Advert: Admission to PhD in Public Health Programme 2024/2025

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The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites applications from suitable candidates for admission to a Three Year Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health (By Coursework & Dissertation) with the following Tracks for the 2024/2025 Academic Year tenable in the College of Health Sciences:

  • Health Systems,
  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics,
  • Community Health and Behavioural Sciences,
  • Disease Control and
  • Environmental Health

In addition to the general admission requirements of Makerere University, Applicants should possess the following qualifications:

A master’s degree from a recognized and chartered university in health sciences e.g. Medicine (Human and Veterinary), Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Public Health, etc;

OR

A masters’ degree in Biological Sciences, Environmental Sciences, or Laboratory Sciences;

OR

A masters’ degree in Social Sciences i.e. Social Work, Sociology, Economics, Statistics, Demography, Monitoring and Evaluation with at least three consecutive years’ working experience in a health related program.

Candidates whose first language is not English or did not go through an education system with

English as the medium of instruction will be required to prove that they have sufficient command of the English language to cope with post-graduate studies at Makerere University.

Candidates for the Epidemiology and Biostatistics track should have undertaken both MPH 7103 Applied Biostatistics I and MPH 7203 Applied Biostatistics II, and any other course in statisticswith equivalent content, with a pass grade point of at least 3.0.

Candidates for the Health Systems track should have had at least three consecutive years work in a health related program except holders of master’s in health sciences.

Strictly observe the closing date of 31st May, 2024

Contact the offices of the Dean, School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences for any further information regarding the programme.

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Research

11 CARTA Fellows Triumph with Postdoctoral Awards

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Dr. Henry Zakumumpa, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH). Photo: YouTube/Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC). Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

We celebrate our 11 outstanding fellows for receiving postdoctoral awards from CARTA after a competitive selection process. Among them are four recipients of fellowship grants: Nanfizat Abiket Alamukii, Adeyinka Olufolake Adefolarin, and Blessings Nyasilia Kaunda-Khangamwa. Additionally, seven fellows have received re-entry grants: Skye Nandi Adams, Christine Minoo Mbindyo, Priscille Musabirema, Oyeyemi Olajumoke Oyelade, Eniola Olubukola Cadmus, and Alex John Ntamatungiro. Join us on a journey to explore the topics, significance, and uniqueness of each fellow’s research, deserving of this prestigious recognition.

Fellowship Grants

Henry Zakumumpa

Affiliation: Makerere University, School of Public Health

Host institution: Moi University, College of Health Sciences

What is your research topic?

Leveraging differentiated service delivery models in Uganda to address the syndemics of HIV, hypertension, and diabetes

Why is your research important?

In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), we’re confronting a health crisis with rising non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like hypertension and diabetes, alongside ongoing challenges in HIV treatment. While diseases like HIV and malaria receive global support, NCDs like diabetes and hypertension often get overlooked. It’s frustrating, but we must bridge this gap to ensure care reaches those in need.

What is unique about your research?

Since 2004, Uganda’s received $5B+ in donor aid for HIV, driving innovations in care and treatment access. Building on this success, my study leverages HIV care platforms to combat hypertension and diabetes epidemics. Exploring community-based drug distribution, I aim to extend medication access for HIV and NCDs in Uganda and beyond.

What can you tell CARTA and your affiliation?

Thanks to CARTA and Makerere University, I can conduct crucial research on rising non-communicable diseases in Africa, contributing to vital solutions. Their commitment to empowering African-led research is pivotal in advancing agendas continent-wide. Grateful for this opportunity!

Source: CARTA

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Business & Management

Study Reveals Taxation Issues in Uganda’s Informal Economy

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Lack of a structured taxation framework for informal businesses - a significant cause of tax non-compliance among traders in Uganda. Underlying factors contributing to the shadow economy and its implications for the national tax system, a collaborative research project involving eight university scholars. Dissemination workshop by Principal Investigator Dr. Ismail Kintu and others, 25th April 2024, Nansana Municipality Council, Wakiso District, Uganda. East Africa. Group photo of the workshop participants.

A recent study by researchers at Makerere University’s College of Business and Management Sciences has identified the lack of a structured taxation framework for informal businesses as a significant cause of tax non-compliance among traders in Uganda. This revelation came from a collaborative research project involving eight university scholars, who examined the underlying factors contributing to the shadow economy and its implications for the national tax system.

The findings were presented by Dr. Ismail Kintu, the study’s Principal Investigator, at a dissemination workshop held in Nansana Municipality Council, Wakiso District, on Thursday. The research, initiated in 2022, aimed to assess traders’ perceptions of fairness within the taxation system and how this relates to voluntary tax compliance.

“Traders said the system is unfair to them,” Dr. Kintu explained during the workshop. “Our research aimed to understand what fairness means in Uganda’s context.” According to the study, fairness in the tax system is crucial for voluntary compliance, suggesting that taxes should be aligned with one’s revenue, and penalties should be applied equitably.

Dr. Kintu the PI of the research project. Lack of a structured taxation framework for informal businesses - a significant cause of tax non-compliance among traders in Uganda. Underlying factors contributing to the shadow economy and its implications for the national tax system, a collaborative research project involving eight university scholars. Dissemination workshop by Principal Investigator Dr. Ismail Kintu and others, 25th April 2024, Nansana Municipality Council, Wakiso District, Uganda. East Africa.
Dr. Kintu the PI of the research project.

The researchers developed a proposed framework for taxing the informal economy, emphasizing the importance of consulting key stakeholders, such as district commercial officers, tax consultants, and leaders from traders’ associations, before implementing tax policies. The framework recommends engaging these stakeholders in meetings with the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and the Ministry of Finance to ensure that new tax policies are inclusive and fair.

The study also suggests the need for flexibility in tax collection, advocating for payment in installments and prior notification to traders before collecting taxes. This approach, the researchers argue, would help build trust and encourage compliance among informal traders.

The researchers’ proposed framework includes annual mapping of policy gaps in the informal economy and developing solutions to address them. This process would involve regular consultations with stakeholders to refine the tax system and maintain fairness.

Mr Festo Tandeka, the Town Clerk of Nansana Municipality. Lack of a structured taxation framework for informal businesses - a significant cause of tax non-compliance among traders in Uganda. Underlying factors contributing to the shadow economy and its implications for the national tax system, a collaborative research project involving eight university scholars. Dissemination workshop by Principal Investigator Dr. Ismail Kintu and others, 25th April 2024, Nansana Municipality Council, Wakiso District, Uganda. East Africa.
Mr Festo Tandeka, the Town Clerk of Nansana Municipality.

Local officials who attended the workshop expressed support for the research findings. Mr. Festo Tandeka, Nansana Municipality town clerk, encouraged traders to cultivate a culture of paying taxes but cautioned against excessive taxation. He recommended allowing tax payments in installments to avoid overburdening traders.

Similarly, Mr. Shaffic Ali Nsubuga, Nansana Municipality Deputy Resident District Commissioner, urged tax officers to approach tax collection with compassion, suggesting that prior notices be given to traders before taxes are collected.

The findings of the Makerere University study arrive at a critical time, as Ugandan traders have recently protested against increasing taxes. Mr. Joshua Mawerere, a youth representative from the Kampala City Traders Association, welcomed the study, noting that it brings clarity to issues surrounding tax policies. He urged the government to raise awareness about new tax systems, like the Electronic Fiscal Receipting and Invoicing Solution (EFRIS), which some traders mistakenly perceive as additional taxes.

The study’s comprehensive approach to understanding the informal economy’s taxation challenges may pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable tax system in Uganda, fostering greater compliance and reducing the size of the shadow economy.

The research was funded by the government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF). Speaking at the stakeholders’ engagement on April 25th, Ms Evelyn Nyacho who represented the chair of the grants committee, congratulated Dr. Kintu and team upon the timely research finding. She said the findings would help URA and the traders coming after a traders’ strike over taxation. She said Mak-RIF was happy to sponsor research that is aimed at solving society issues like taxation. “I was happy to learn that taxes can be pay in installments. I hope traders can embrace this flexibility in paying taxes,” she said. She appreciated government for the research funding to the university. The government commits Shs30 billion annually to research at Makerere University in an effort to spur development of the country.

The research team

Dr Kintu (PI), Prof Eria Hisali (Co. PI), Dr Fred Bateganya, Dr Willy Kagarura, Mr Patrick Lumala, Mr Nicholas Musoke, Ms Marion Atukunda, and Ms Winfred Nalwoga.

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