On Friday 20th July 2018, 25 students graduated from Makerere University of Public Health (MakSPH) with Certificates in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). They included 8 females and 17 males from various academic backgrounds including, but not limited to, Civil Engineering, Social Sciences, Bachelor of Arts in Arts and Environmental Health. Three of the graduands were from Rwanda and South Sudan. Also, a number of course participants worked with non-governmental organisations, three were District Health Inspectors and a few were students.

 

The Guest of Honour, Prof Nazarius Mbona Tumwesigye (white shirt, front row), the Head of Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, took a group photo with the graduands outside the MakSPH Building in Mulago. Dr. Esther Buregyeya (fourth left, front row), the Head of Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health, under which the WASH programme falls.

While addressing the graduands, Dr. Esther Buregyeya, the Head of Department, Disease Control and Environmental Health, which runs the WASH programme, appealed to the students to advise MakSPH on how best to advertise the course, given its extreme importance to community. She also urged MakSPH to consider upgrading the program from a short course to something bigger, probably a Masters level programme.

The chief guest, Prof Nazarius Mbona Tumwesigye, current chair of the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at MakSPH thanked the course coordinators for their tireless input. Moreover, he tasked the graduands with creating impact through changing their communities with their newly acquired knowledge. “The ultimate goal is output, and product of knowledge”, he stressed.

Rawlance Ndejjo, who coordinates the course together with Dr. David Musoke, lauded the cohort as the most committed since the program was started in 2014, citing their general lecture attendance and timeliness as their best attributes. Mr. David Ssemwanga from the Environmental Health Division, Ministry of Health was voted best facilitator by the students.

A brief about the WASH Certificate Course

 

The aim of this short course is to equip practising individuals in WASH with the appropriate attitude, adequate skills and scientific knowledge for handling and managing duties and technical procedures in environmental health areas. These areas include health promotion, disease prevention and control, management and administration of public health in community, research and training in the field of WASH.

 

The development of the short course was necessary because of the increased number of people working in the environmental health field without the necessary expertise to efficiently handle issues concerning WASH.

The first intake was in 2014 with 16 participants, second intake in 2015 with 12 participants, third intake in 2016 had 28 participants, fourth intake in 2017 with 20 participants and this year’s intake (2018) had 25 participants.

The WASH course runs for 8 weeks; 3 weeks of full-time classwork at the School of Public Health, 4 weeks  doing a small project in community/field attachment, and a week of examinations, fieldwork presentation and report writing. Graduation stands at a total of 111 since inception.

 

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