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Mbarara University to start school of public health

Prof. Obua Celestine, the university Vice-chancellor addressing medical researchers from MUST at hotel triangle in Mbarara. (PHOTO/BOB AINE)

MBARARA – Mbarara University of Science and Technology is to receive USD11.8m from Wyss Medical Foundation Boston to start a school of public health.

The school is expected to help improve community health in South Western Uganda.

Prof. Celestine Obua the university’s Vice-Chancellor said in order to make MUST great in terms of global health, a viable and vibrant and functional school of public health must be set up.

Prof. Obua made these remarks while officiating as guest of honour at the first annual community health research conference held at Hotel Triangle in Mbarara.

“Health in any home or community translates into global health, so the efforts to improve health in a community should start from the smallest unit which is the home,” Prof Obua said.

“Before all this started, I had just spent one year in office at MUST, I received one Patricia who was coordinating the nursing program with one Steven Schwarz in my office and they asked me what I would love them to do for the university, I told them to support the nursing program, in due course we included community health and supporting the regional referral hospital and other projects which have been supported by CAMtech and Global health collaborative,” Prof. Obua elaborated.

He said the project will run for five years and the first funding is $2m which covers a mile community health programme, nursing programme, community health research grant for postgraduates and innovators under CAMtech who recently manufactured an incubator for Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital.

The VC asked medical researchers to concern themselves with what is happening in the community. “We can only treat when health has gone wrong while we improve services in the hospital but the key focus should be in the community, the wards will be less crowded,” Obua said.

A team of medical researchers from MUST in a group photo. (PHOTO/BOB AINE)

According to Obua, the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital was meant to accommodate not more than 400 patients but now there are thousands of patients and some even share beds.

“The hospital is crowded because we are not doing enough. We need to ensure that we have few people coming in the hospital. What can we do to ensure the causes of these diseases do not arise? We should interest ourselves in investigations and other scientific processes. So it is important to support research, students need interest themselves in investigations, ask questions while at the community sites, engage the communities know what affects them,” Obua added.

Mr. Moses Ntaro the Assistant Programme Director of the programme noted that this five year project is funded by Wyss Medical foundation in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston USA.

Mr. Ntaro said they have so far worked on the blood transfusion unit at Kabuyanda Health Centre IV and revitalised Rukunyu Health Centre IV with specialised surgical services.

Dr. Charles Olaro the Director Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health emphasised that those in the project should target Village Health Teams which are directly in contact with the locals to be able to identify the problems in the communities.

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