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Johns Hopkins and Makerere University to collaborate on African health education initiative
Date:12/1/2008

The Johns Hopkins University has received a $4.97 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to undertake the initial phase of a unique program aimed at improving health outcomes in Uganda and East Africa, in coordination with the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health, and the Makerere University College of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda. As part of the initiative, the faculties of medicine, nursing, and public health at both schools will develop an institution-building relationship to further extend the educational capacity of Makerere University, Uganda's largest university.

The funding will support a two-year needs assessment and strategic planning process to define the goals and objectives of a 10-year institution-building initiative between the two universities. The project will be led by David Peters, MD, DrPH, an associate professor in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and George Pariyo, MBChB, PhD, head of the Department of Health Policy, Planning, and Management at the Makerere University School of Public Health.

The first phase of this project will focus on aligning Makerere's educational and research capacity with Uganda's national health goals and priorities, as well as identifying strategies to ensure long-term sustainability of the university's efforts to address evolving health priorities and health manpower needs.

The project will also develop and test effective teaching, research, and practice strategies for Makerere and its partners. Existing strategies for placement of health practitioners and delivery of health services will be revised, and new strategies for life-saving services will be evaluated, with a focus on translating research into policy implementation.

"We see this project as a major stepping stone," Peters stated, "to ensure that Makerere will be the hub for capacity building and influencing the health sector to improve lives in Uganda and the East Africa region for years to come. It's a great opportunity for all of us."

The project builds on a long history of Johns Hopkins' collaboration with Makerere University, including seminal HIV/AIDS research and training through the Rakai Health Sciences Program and the Makerere University - Johns Hopkins University Research Collaboration; innovations in health systems and policy translation through the Future Health Systems consortium; and the establishment of the Infectious Disease Institute.

"This project will help Makerere University College of Health Sciences lay a strong foundation for work in the years ahead," said Nelson Sewankambo, MBChB, the principal of the College of Health Sciences, "that will leapfrog the institution in advancing the quality of research and education in the health sciences while ensuring social accountability and delivery of health services with a purpose of meaningfully impacting peoples' health in the region."

"Makerere University has a long history of training health leaders and building capacity for health care in Uganda and the region," Pariyo said. "We are happy to continue our relationship with Johns Hopkins University, which has worked with us for the past 20 years and, thanks to this new collaboration, will continue to aid us in improving Uganda's health far into the future."

The Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health is acting as the facilitator for the Hopkins-Makerere initiative.

This project underscores the true value of the Center, explained Center for Global Health Director Thomas C. Quinn, MD, MSc. "This project brings together faculty, not only from across Johns Hopkins, but from many of the health disciplines at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences, in order to work together towards a common goal of improved health for the people of Uganda and sub-Saharan Africa. We appreciate the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in enabling these two universities to work together with the Ministry of Health to address the health problems of Uganda."


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Contact: Tim Parsons
410-955-7619
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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