On Wednesday, 24 January 2018, the Uganda Public Health Fellowship Program held its 2nd annual graduation ceremony for the Fellows who completed their Advanced Field Epidemiology Training. The program is implemented by the Ministry of Health (MoH) in conjunction with Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is a two-year training-in-service program aimed at equipping public health professionals with skills to manage public health challenges and become the next generation of public health leaders.

Dr. Charles Olaro, Director Health Services MoH Giving Opening Remarks

The ceremony was officially opened by the Director of Health Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Charles Olara who highlighted the critical role played by the program in the effective response to and control of disease outbreaks. Other dignitaries who made remarks at the opening of the function were the CDC Resident Advisor Dr. Bao-Ping Zhu, the AFENET Executive Director Dr. Chima Ohuabunwo and Professor David Serwadda (MakSPH).

Prof David Serwadda giving a comment to one of the presenters

For the fellows, this day marked the climax to 2 years of in-service training in applied epidemiology and public health practice. Each fellow made a summary of their achievements over the 2 years plus a detailed presentation of one of their projects. Fellows presented the evidence of competencies acquired in disease outbreak investigation, public health surveillance, oral and written scientific and nonscientific communication and public health leadership. Fellows presented work ranging from response to disease outbreaks such as Cholera, Measles, Yellow Fever, Typhoid Fever, Anthrax, among others to client satisfaction surveys and health service delivery assessments in refugee settings. Fellows also implemented projects to improve disease surveillance and service delivery in health centres. In addition, each Fellow had some work on a project implemented or data analyzed that revealed useful information relevant to the attainment of the USAID 90-90-90 targets. For example one of the Fellows presented findings on the factors associated with HIV couple counselling among HIV infected persons.

The ceremony culminated in the award of a certificate of completion of training in Advanced Field Epidemiology to each of the Fellows. The award ceremony was preceded by remarks from the Project Director and Dean, MakSPH Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, CDC Country Director Dr. Lisa Nelson and the WHO Country Representative Dr. Yonas Tegegn. The Director-General, MoH was represented by the Commissioner, Disease Control and Project Co-Director, Dr. Patrick Tusiime. Appeals were made to the graduates to strive to remain relevant and continue contributing to improving, maintaining and protecting the public health of the country. The 9 graduating Fellows included Joy Kusiima Bbale, Leocadia Kwagonza, Lydia Nakiire, Jimmy Ogwal, Paul E Okello, Emily Atuhaire, Joselyn A Atuhairwe, Robert K Majwala and Susan Nakubulwa. After the award of certificates, one of the Fellows; Dr. Robert K Majwala (albeit in absensure) scooped the award for outstanding performance. Dr. Joseph Kawuma, Head of the German Leprosy Relief Association at the National TB and Leprosy Program where Robert had been placed during his fellowship received the award on his behalf. The outstanding fellow also received a financial token awarded by the alumni of the program through their association.

Susan Nakubulwa receives her certificate from CDC Director Dr. Lisa Nelson

Graduating Fellows with program staff and other dignitaries

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