News and Events

EDCTP Launches Alumni Network

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On October 3, 2017 in Johannesburg South Africa, the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) launched an Alumni network whose goal is to foster Excellence and Collaboration in the next generation of researchers.

In order to build research capacity in sub-Saharan Africa, EDCTP’s strategy is to support researchers at different stages in their careers. As such, EDCTP through its fellowship programme is welcoming applications to identify researchers that are capable of building and leading research groups in sub-Saharan African institutions that can compete favorably internationally and able to win grants from international funding bodies. EDCTP aspires to magnify the collaborative relationship between the North and South through its fellowship programme.

The EDCTP programme from 2003 to 2015 has supported 541 African researchers including 56 fellows and awarded 400 grants to PhD and Masters students combined.

IDI has been a beneficiary of three EDCTP grants: Senior Fellow, Career Development Fellowships and EDCTP TDR. At the recently concluded EDCTP Alumni Network launch in Johannesburg, IDI was represented by a team of 6 Fellows whom have been beneficiaries of EDCTP grants. These included in the EDCTP 1 Senior Fellow category: Associate Prof. Pauline Byakika-Kibwiika and Dr. Mohammed Lamorde. In the EDCTP 2 Career Development Fellowship: Dr. Agnes Kiragga, Dr. Jane Wanyama and Dr. Christine Sekagya. In the EDCTP 2 TDR category was Dr. Ian Stephen Walimbwa. Other EDCTP grantees from IDI who did not make it to Johannesburg were Prof. Ponsiano Ocama and Dr. William Worodria in the EDCTP 1 Senior Fellowship category. At the launch Fellows were grouped into Working Groups depending on the poverty-related disease they are working on. The goal of the Working Groups is to enable Fellows benefit from peer support and leverage training opportunities. Dr. Pauline Byakika was elected Chair for the Malaria Working Group and Dr. Agnes Kiragga as Secretary for the HIV Working Group. 

EDCTP holds biennial Alumni Network meetings, the next week will take place in Portugal in September 2018.

 

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IDI staff participate in 9th International AIDS Conference

This years’ 9th International Aids Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) is taking place at Palais des Congrès in Paris, France from July 23 to July 26, 2017. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to the following staff who are representing the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI), College of Health Sciences, Makerere University at this years’ conference: 

  1. Mr Stephen Okoboi
  2. Dr Alex Muganzi
  3. Dr Barbara Castelnuovo
  4. Dr Andrew Kambugu
  5. Ms Ruth Kikonyogo
  6. Dr Namisi Charles
  7. Mr Mark Nsumba
  8. Dr Lydia Nakiyingi
  9. Dr Shadia Nakalema.

IAS 2017 will highlight major advancements in understanding the intricate network of viral-host interactions, in better characterizing and targeting the HIV reservoir, and ways to tackle persistent HIV, as well as the interaction and synergies with other fields, such as cancer research and immune-based therapies.

In addition, IAS is a platform through which new science on preventive and therapeutic vaccinations, improved tools and strategies for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), as well as new insights into the novel areas of personalized medicine and bio-markers are anticipated. 

IDI successfully hosts the second Annual Performance Review for the Western Region Comprehensive HIV/AIDS project in Masindi and Hoima districts

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On June 28 in Masindi district and on June 29, 2017 in Hoima district, the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) organized and held the second Annual Performance Review meeting for its Western Region Comprehensive HIV/AIDS project funded by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Through the Comprehensive HIV/AIDS project, IDI provides HIV prevention, care and treatment services by strengthening District Health Systems at district, health facility and community levels. As such, the meeting brought together key players at the national and district level to jointly discuss key strategies to address identified gaps as well as guide districts in achieving set targets for the next financial year (April 2017 to March 2018). The meeting also highlighted district progress thus far, discussed challenges met, and revealed lessons learned during project implementation.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Alex Muganzi the Head of the Outreach programme at IDI commended the districts for the gains made thus far in providing comprehensive HIV/AIDS care services. Dr. Muganzi further expressed that IDI as a leading provider of HIV services in the region is pushing for increased identification of HIV positive individuals, linking and retaining them in HIV care and treatment as well as ensuring that those on antiretroviral therapy are virally suppressed through the Differentiated Service Delivery Models (DSDM).

Dr. Muganzi, highlighted that the DSDM model uses selected community-based sites to serve as drug pick-up points for ‘stable’ patients. "Now ‘stable’ HIV positive persons shall pick their drugs from the centres within their localities instead of trekking long distances to health facilities as has been the case,” said Dr. Muganzi. He added that this approach will help reduce on the distance these clients have to travel to get their ARVS at the main health facilities thereby offsetting transport costs for clients, improving adherence to treatment and ultimately leading to improved access and client retention in care. He also called for ensuring that voluntary male medical circumcision services are provided to all males ten years and above for HIV/AIDS prevention.

Also in attendance was Dr. Donna Kabatesi, CDC, Associate Director of Programs who stated that the differentiated service delivery models will give a big push towards the achievement of the first, second and third UNAIDS 90:90:90 targets of ensuring that 90 percent of all people living with HIV know their status, 90 percent of all people diagnosed with HIV infection receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy are virally suppressed, by 2020.

In her closing remarks, Dr. Kabatesi urged IDI to target populations at the greatest risk and in urgent need of services. “Encourage men to test with their partners. Men remain a bigger part of those that need special interventions for HIV testing, linkage and retention in HIV care and treatment programs. A large number of young men do not know their HIV status. We need to work together to find men who are HIV positive and enroll them in care so as to close the tap of new infections,” said Dr. Kabatesi.

Also in attendance were representatives Ministry of Health – AIDS Control Program, CDC Uganda, Uganda AIDS Commission, Central Public Health Laboratories, National Medical Stores, Implementing Partners, District leaders, Cultural leaders, and Community Based Organizations, as key stakeholders in comprehensive HIV/AIDS services in the nine districts of Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Hoima, Buliisa, Masindi, Kiryandongo, Kibaale, Kagadi and Kakumiro. The project has been in implementation since April 2015.

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