On January 21st, 2019, the Dean of Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze met with a team from Cardiff Metropolitan University (Cardiff Met) in the UK. The team had Henry Dawson and Gayle Davis, who are lecturers of Environmental Health at Cardiff Met.

The two are here on a partnership between Cardiff Met and MakSPH, specifically, the Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health (DCEH), that has been going on since 2011. This partnership has seen the School supported through research, teaching and exchange programmes with faculty.

Gayle Davis signing in the visitor’s book in the Dean’s office. Looking on is Henry Dawson.

So far, the partnership has seen three members of staff from MakSPH going to the UK to participate in teaching and other field activities. In the same way, two members of faculty from Cardiff were here previously and taught students of MakSPH on the Bachelors’ programme in Environmental Health, Dr. David Musoke the MakSPH Partnership Lead said. The two current visitors will be at MakSPH for a week teaching and undertaking several field activities including with the undergraduate students. This partnership is currently supported by a mobility grant under the Erasmus Plus Scheme that is funded by the European Union.

Speaking at the meeting, Prof. Wanyenze informed the guests about the School’s strengths and areas where support is needed.

“We have several colleagues doing research on injuries and road traffic accidents. Currently, there is another study on drowning. We also have several teams working on maternal, neonatal and child health. Incidentally, there seems to be a lot of poisoning by young people. Acid attacks also seem to be growing.”

Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze, the Dean of MakSPH giving the visiting Cardiff Metropolitan University Team an overview of the university

Prof. Wanyenze made it clear that given all these public health challenges, the School was not doing enough to address them in terms of research due to lack of funding. Some of these areas include infectious diseases like hepatitis and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

She also mentioned several Masters programmes that will be starting at MakSPH including that of Environmental and Occupational Health.

Dr. Esther Buregyeya, the Chair of DCEH made an appeal to the visiting team to help the department build its capacity. If there are opportunities for training to be accommodated in this partnership or if there are opportunities for PhDs and short courses, we would be glad to benefit, she said.

Dr. Esther Buregyeya (right) Chair of Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health speaking during the meeting. Looking on is Ruth Mubeezi, a beneficiary of the MakSPH-Cardiff Met partnership.

“If there are opportunities, we could arrange and be trained. We would love to have PhDs because that way, we would be able to do more research in those areas. We have pollution problems, we have emerging infectious diseases, and there is a lot more that we can do,” Dr. Buregyeya said.

The meeting ended with the Dean and the Chair of DCEH receiving presents from the visiting team. Participants then took a group photo outside the MakSPH building in Mulago.

Left to right: Dr. Esther Buregyeya, the Departmental Chair of Disease Control and Environmental Health at MakSPH; Gayle Davis and Henry Dawson, both lecturers of Environmental Health at Cardiff Metropolitan University in the UK, the Dean of MakSPH, Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze; Ruth Mubeezi, an Assistant Lecturer at MakSPH; Rawlance Ndejjo, a Research Associate at MakSPH and Dr. David Musoke, a Lecturer at MakSPH and the Partnership Lead.

Prof. Wanyenze added that the School has several collaborations in the region which is a good entry point for partners who are interested in doing regional projects. The School also has a strong financial system and is the only School in the University with a semi-autonomous financial management unit, which could as well mean that it can be trusted, the Dean informed the meeting.

Beneficiaries speak up

Rawlance Ndejjo, a Research Associate with MakSPH is one of the staff that has benefitted from this partnership. He shared his experience during the meeting.

Rawlance Ndejjo (right) a Research Associate at Makerere University School of Public Health shares a light moment with the visiting faculty from Cardiff Metropolitan University. Ndejjo has previously benefitted from the exchange programme with the University under the Erasmus Plus Scheme that is funded by European Union.

“It was nice going out there and sharing experiences. I participated in teaching modules like housing, food safety and data management within our context,” Ndejjo said.     

Ruth Mubeezi, an Assistant Lecturer at MakSPH has also been privileged to benefit from the partnership and exchange programme. She said at the meeting; “I was impressed by the support given to students at Cardiff Met. The way they give students opportunities to learn was very interesting. Their libraries also have spaces where they can learn.”

Ndejjo and Mubeezi were especially impressed by the Cardiff’s system of using hypothetical case studies in teaching and Mubeezi said, “We are going to borrow some of those ideas.”

Responding to this style of teaching, Davis said that Cardiff does a lot of simulations during teaching.

“Most of what we teach is scenario-based. We facilitate students to have as many real-life experiences as possible. For example, if we are teaching about housing standards, we will take the students to inspect buildings. The teaching is a lot more practical and participatory than traditional teaching,” she added.

Cardiff Met University also maintains an excellent relationship with the students who graduated and left so that they can be able to share any new experiences they encounter in the field with them, noted Davis



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