On Tuesday August 15, 2017, part of the RAN team under the leadership of Associate Professor Lynn Atuyambe, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) and Dr. Roy William Mayega, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) Deputy Chief of Party engaged with 16 students from the US (University of South Carlifornia-USC). These students visited the RAN Innovation Lab to learn more about MakSPH, Uganda’s Disease burden both communicable and non-communicable diseases, the innovative projects currently under incubation at RAN and appreciate the Innovation lab space.

During this visit, the students benefited from a presentation by Associate Professor Atuyambe. about MakSPH http://musph.mak.ac.ug/  highlighting the programs which this school offers. Dr. Mayega, RAN Deputy Chief of Party was also scheduled to use this opportunity to share about communicable and non-communicable diseases-the case of Uganda, and also introduced the team of students to some of the innovative projects currently under incubation at RAN www.ranlab.org.  Participants strongly emphasized that Innovators in Africa and beyond need a lot of other support e.g. access to reliable and committed mentors, regular and consistent engagement with the corporate entities to leverage from Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), funding, Intellectual Property acquisition support, business modeling support, guidance on how to pitch their innovative ideas, documentation among others, all of which RAN is offering to the innovators.

During this engagement too, participants also shared about the major public health challenges drawing from Uganda’s context. They highlighted among others Uganda’s literacy rate which is at 78% (Males 85%), only about 9% of the Households use electricity, 68% have access to water,13% have no toilet facilities ,63% have radios and 6% have Television, yet 22 Million out of 35 Million of Uganda’s population currently use telephone sim cards. These among others further gave the team from USC the gist of the matter also informing areas for further research and developmental work.

The University of South California team thanked MAKSPH and RAN for the informative session with the students noting that the presentations were comprehensive and educative. We hope to further discussions to inform more collaboration with the USC and its partners too.