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FAIMER Regional Institute Launched at MakCHS

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On 10th May 2023, the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER)[1], East Africa FAIMER Regional Institute (EAFRI) was launched at a colourful ceremony held at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS). The EAFRI will operate a multilateral partnership model, with MakCHS, serving as a host institution and Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), Faculty of Medicine, serving as MakCHS’s regional partner. Professor Sarah Kiguli from MakCHS will serve as Director of EAFRI assisted by Professor Samuel Maling from MUST as Associate Director.

MakCHS was competitively awarded to host the EAFRI making it the 10th regional FAIMER institute established across the world alongside the ones in Chile, China, Egypt, India and Indonesia. Since its establishment in 2000, FAIMER has to-date trained 2000 Fellows in 55 Countries world-wide. It is expected that the EAFRI will expand FAIMER’s reach to promote health professions education and workforce development in additional areas of interest and bring service closer to participants in the region.

The first cohort of 12-15 fellows for the EAFRI is expected in August 2023 selected through a competitive application process and the tuition for will be free.

The new institute will serve health professions educators in East Africa including Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, the Comoros, the Seychelles, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Mauritius. EAFRI will also consider applicants from other regions of Africa. The core curriculum of EAFRI will be based on that of the International FAIMER Institute based in Philadelphia, U.S.A, which teaches education methods, leadership & management, education scholarship & research, and project management and evaluation.

Prof. Damalie Nakanjako (L) presents the EAFRI Director-Prof. Sarah Kiguli a the launch, Davies Lecture Theatre, CHS, Makerere University, Mulago Hill, Kampala Uganda.
Prof. Damalie Nakanjako (L) presents the EAFRI Director-Prof. Sarah Kiguli a the launch.

Professor Annette Nakimuli, Dean-School of Medicine, MakCHS who was the Master of Ceremony at the launch welcomed guests to the event, more especially the FAIMER team that travelled from the USA. Guests in attendance physically and virtually included staff from Makerere University, MUST, FAIMER Fellows and partners.

In their remarks, the Intealth/FAIMER team: Dr. William Pinsky, Dr. Ron Blanck and Dr. Rashmi Vyas shared the strategy for the organisation. They congratulated Makerere University and MUST for being selected to host the EAFRI and look forward to having more FAIMER Fellows on board through the EAFRI.

In her remarks, Professor Damalie Nakanjako – Principal MakCHS welcomed guests to MakCHS, noting that this is a memorable event for the College and Makerere University.  ‘Warm welcome to the FAIMER team that travelled from USA to witness this important occasion and the FAIMER fellows attending physically and virtually’, Professor Nakanjako added. She reiterated that hosting the EAFRI is an honor for MakCHS because it matches the College’s core mandate of training and research; and brings a service closer to African participants as opposed to travelling to other institutions where costs are incurred.

In his remarks delivered virtually, Professor Celestino Obua, Vice Chancellor – MUST welcomed guests to the launch. He said, ‘as MUST we are very proud to be part of the consortium. There are multiple benefits not only for Uganda but other sub-Saharan nations, communities and health professions’.

Dr. Ngonzi Joseph, Dean-Faculty of Medicine, MUST reiterated the message of Professor Obua and said, ‘MUST is committed and looking forward to a fruitful relationship as the partners work to produce FAIMER fellows who will support health professions education’. He pledged on behalf of MUST, strong unwavering support to EAFRI.

Associate Director EAFRI, Prof. Samuel Maling makes his remarks, Davies Lecture Theatre, CHS, Makerere University, Mulago Hill, Kampala Uganda.
Associate Director EAFRI, Prof. Samuel Maling makes his remarks.

The new Director, Professor Sarah Kiguli and Associate Director, Professor Samuel Maling were presented to the members present.

Professor Kiguli said, ‘I have to believe that when one wishes for something to happen, it eventually does’. She noted that MakCHS has been working to have the EAFRI since 2007, which has been a long journey and engagement with FAIMER and therefore a dream is realized.

Prof. Maling said, ‘the quality of health services and life are as good as the educators and the products they produce. It is the plan of EAFRI to deliver the good educators who will contribute to the health services and quality of life’.

The Directors acknowledged the support of FAIMER in agreeing to establish EAFRI. They also expressed the appreciation of the leadership at Makerere University and MUST. The directors pledged to do their best in delivering the dream of the EAFRI.


[1] FAIMER was established in 2000 as a non-profit foundation of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG). FAIMER and ECFMG now are members of Intealth, which brings together the expertise and resources of the two non-profit organizations to advance quality in health care education worldwide to improve health care for all. Intealth unites FAIMER and ECFMG under a common vision: to be the trusted global authority on health care education.

Health

METS Newsletter March 2024

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A team documenting the background and other governance structure requirements in the EMR Implementation Guidelines during the stakeholder workshop held from 26th February to 1st March 2024. Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), METS Program, 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 March 2024 Newsletter

  • Development of National Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Implementation Guidelines
    • To date, multiple Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems have been rolled out to health facilities without implementation guidelines to inform the standard EMR process/clinical workflows within a typical health facility, minimum requirements for various EMRs to integrate and exchange patient information, insurance and billing workflows, human resources management, among others.
    • METS Program and USAID/SITES organized a five-day stakeholder workshop on 26th February to 1st March 2024, to develop and validate the EMR Implementation Guidelines for Uganda.
  • Improving the Quality of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision
    • In February 2024, the METS Program, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Implementing Partners (IMs), conducted targeted onsite mentorship across 56 safe male circumcision sites in CDC-supported regions of Uganda.
    • Key findings highlighted the overall facility performance score of 78%, with 5 out of 8 thematic areas scoring above 80%. Notably, 99% of circumcised males had received Tetanus vaccines.
  • Innovation To Strengthen National Health Care Quality Improvement
    • The 10th National Health Care Quality Improvement (QI) conference brought together health service providers from various parts of the country to share experiences and what they are doing to improve service delivery to patients.
    • The Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, called for solutions that will provide answers especially in areas of governance and leadership, health workforce, information systems, service delivery, financing, special groups, and health products.
    • METS made a presentation on improved service delivery models focusing on empowering young women to stay HIV-free with the help of the Determined Resilient Empowered AIDS-free Mentored and Safe (DREAMS) initiative.
  • Gallery
    • Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) launches state-of-the-art auditorium
    • Deploying latest EMR Version at Hoima RRH
    • Training of KCCA staff on use of Point of Care (POC) EMR
    • Stakeholder Workshop on Development of EMR Implementation Guidelines

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New Study Reveals Breastfeeding Mothers Embrace Nutrient-Rich Dish for Health Benefits

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Climbing beans on stakes in one of the gardens visited during the Efd-Mak Kabale District Sensitization in November 2021. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

A study whose results were recently published in Food Science Nutrition, a peer-reviewed journal for rapid dissemination of research in all areas of food science and nutrition has revealed that there is a growing preference for wholesome meals, highlighting its numerous health benefits.

Titled; Lactating mothers’ perceptions and sensory acceptability of a provitamin A carotenoid–iron-rich composite dish prepared from iron-biofortified common bean and orange-fleshed sweet potato in rural western Uganda,” this study was conducted among pregnant and breastfeeding mothers seeking care at Bwera General Hospital, in Kasese district, western Uganda, between 4th and 15th of August 2023.

Researchers in a 2019 study published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth among pregnant and breastfeeding women in Northwest Ethiopia discovered that pregnant and breastfeeding women bear the highest burden of this deficiency due to heightened physiological demands for iron and vitamin A. These demands increase significantly during pregnancy to meet fetal needs and continue during lactation to support breastfeeding.

The 2020 report on Developments in Nutrition among 204 countries and territories for 30 years since 1990 highlights the substantial impact of dietary iron deficiency and vitamin A deficiency on women of reproductive age in low- and middle-income countries across Africa and Asia. These micronutrient deficiencies are of paramount concern in public health nutrition due to their adverse effects.

A 2022 study published in The Lancet Global Health reveals that progress in addressing anemia among women of reproductive age (15–49 years) is inadequate to achieve the World Health Assembly’s global nutrition target of reducing anemia prevalence by 50% by 2030 in low- and middle-income countries, including Uganda.

Breastfeeding mothers require a higher intake of iron, ranging from 10–30 mg/day, compared to 8 mg/day for adult males. To help meet this increased need, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends iron supplementation programs during the postpartum period, starting immediately after delivery and continuing for the first 6 weeks.

On the other hand, the WHO advises against vitamin A supplementation during the postpartum period, as it offers no noticeable health benefits to either the mother or the infant. Instead, it encourages breastfeeding mothers to maintain a diversified diet that includes vitamin A-rich foods. However, it’s important to highlight that supplementing with vitamin A and iron during this time could enhance the content of these nutrients in breast milk.

In rural Uganda, breastfeeding mothers often face deficiencies in vital nutrients particularly vitamin A and iron. This is as a result of over reliance on plant-based local foods, like sweet potato and non-iron biofortified common bean like Nambale, which lack sufficient amounts of provitamin A and iron, respectively.

To improve vitamin A and iron intake among breastfeeding mothers, Uganda’s government, in collaboration with HarvestPlus, a global program dedicated to ending hunger through providing nutrient-rich foods launched biofortification programs. These initiatives introduced orange-fleshed sweet potato rich in provitamin A and iron-biofortified common bean as staple food in Uganda.

As part of his postdoctoral study, Dr. Edward Buzigi, a Nutritionist and Food security expert, at University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, evaluated the perceptions and sensory acceptability of a dish made from a combination of orange-fleshed sweet potato and iron-biofortified common bean, known for their high levels of provitamin A carotenoids and iron.

The aim was to determine whether the test food could replace the traditional white-fleshed sweet potato and non-iron biofortified common beans, which lacks these essential nutrients.

Ninety-four breastfeeding mothers took part in the study comparing two foods. Participants assessed the taste, color, aroma, texture, and overall acceptability of both the test and control foods using a five-point scale. Ratings ranged from “dislike very much” to “like very much,” with attributes deemed acceptable if participants rated them as “like” or “like very much.”

Also, focus group discussions were held to explore participants’ thoughts on future consumption of the test food alongside statistical analysis done using the chi-square test to compare sensory attributes between the two food options, while the qualitative data from focus group discussions were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Findings revealed that taste, color, and aroma were satisfactory to the mothers and showed no significant difference between test food and control food. Mothers had favorable views of the taste, aroma, and color of orange-fleshed sweet potato and iron-biofortified common bean but expressed concerns about the soft texture of orange-fleshed sweet potato. Despite this, breastfeeding mothers expressed positive attitudes towards consuming orange-fleshed sweet potato and iron-biofortified common bean, as long as it was accessible, affordable, and easy to prepare.

Dr. Buzigi lecturers at the Department of Community Health and Behavioural Sciences at Makerere University School of Public Health in Uganda.

Read the scientific article here;  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/fsn3.4053

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Call for Applications: AWE Change Masters fellowship programme support

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L-R: The Departments of Family Medicine (School of Medicine) and Human Anatomy (School of Biomedical Sciences) Buildings, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Mulago Hill, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Makerere University College of Health Sciences in collaboration with Duke University, USA are conducting a national collaborative research study on Epilepsy with local leading researchers in the fields of neurology and psychology in Uganda and international experts in the field of neurology and neurosurgery in the USA. The study aims to investigate the panorama of epilepsy in Uganda across the life span by clinically characterizing its features, comorbidities, and risk factors among the general population, with a focus on stigma among adolescents.

Applications are invited for the AWE Change Masters fellowship programme support from postgraduate students of:

  • Makerere University College of Health Sciences
  • Mbarara University of Science and Technology
  • Gulu University

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 22nd May 2024.

Submit all Enquiries and Applications to awechangeproject@gmail.com

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