It was on a silent evening of Wednesday December 20, 2017 when the Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) family convened at the Lawns Restaurant, Kololo in Kampala Uganda to recognize and thank all the past MakSPH Leadership. This one of a kind event was held in form of an end of year 2017 dinner for the school. ‘It was my first time to be amidst and freely mingle with so many Professors, Doctors and other medical practitioners. This dinner indeed brought together a concentration of PHDs and Doctorates among others’. Shared Engineer Ronald Kayiwa, a MakSPH Project staff. Details about MakSPH are shared and accessible on http://www.musph.ac.ug/.
It was not only fine-looking to see the extremely busy MakSPH staff get together at the same time, but we were also honored to have with us and celebrate all the six MakSPH previous Directors and Deans. If I may share the line-up, we had Professors Josephine Nambooze, John Tuhe Kakitahi, Gilbert Bukenya, Fred Wabwire-Mangeni, David Serwadda and William Bezeyo who was recently replaced by Associate Professor Rhoda Wanyenze. During this event, it was clear from the comments of all past Deans and Directors, that the success of MakSPH, has been a result of its successive good leadership.
In his remarks on behalf of the Organizing Committee, Prof. Garimoi Orach, the MakSPH Deputy Dean noted; ‘It is on rare occasions that one invites all the Main Campus Leadership and you actually have more or less all of them represented; this MakSPH Dinner in recognition of past leadership is one of those rare occasions.
Associate Professor Rhoda Wanyenze, Dean noted that it was exciting for her to have been part of MakSPH and more so to have witnessed the growth of the School as a student, staff and now its Leader. ‘Let us all always aim at supporting and celebrating one another, for our sustained individual and institutional growth’ she stressed. She stressed the importance of recognizing and building on the efforts of the past leadership.
Prof. Charles Ibingira, the Principal, Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) noted that MakSPH is one of those schools which has greatly contributed to the steady growth of not only the College of Health Sciences but also of Makerere University as a whole. He emphasized the need to grow and develop together as the College of Health Sciences and as Makerere University to create bigger impact.
It was also during this event that the Higher Degrees Research & Ethics Committee Chair Dr. Susan Kiwanuka recognized and thanked some of the long serving yet committed committee members. Among those who received these awards were; Dr. John Ssempebwa, Former Chair 2011-2013, Prof. Fred Wabwire-Mangeni, the founder and Chair 2001-2010 and Dr. Hannah Kibuuka, for Outstanding Performance 2009-2017. In addition, Mr. Stephen Owarwe, a retired MakSPH staff was recognized for diligently serving the school as a Laboratory Technician 1978-2017. Wow, this is indeed a long serving and committed staff! Mr. Rudolf Buga, MakSPH Laboratory Technician was also applauded for being one of the long serving and diligent MakSPH staff.
Just before the past MakSPH leaders were recognized, the each of the departments also nominated one member to be recognized for outstanding performance. The Department of Health Policy Planning and Management (HPPM) recognized Doreen Tuheebwe, Disease Control identified and thanked Dr. David Musoke, Community Health and Behavioral Sciences thanked Dr. Elizabeth Nabiwemba, Epidemiology and Biostatistics recognized Prof. Nazarius Mbona Tumwesigye, the Finance team chose and thanked Zuriah Namakula, Administration thanked Max Walusimbi and from the support staff, Isaac Mutebi a driver was recognized. Details about the departments at MakSPH are shared on http://musph.ac.ug/index.php/accordion-1/247-departments-at-maksph.
The climax of this event was actual gist of the matter for which the event was organized and held; recognition of the past MakSPH leadership. Dear Reader, allow me take this opportunity to share with you a snap shot of what each of the past leaders shared, I hope you are enjoying reading! All the 6 previous MakSPH Deans received tokens of appreciation for their dedicated service and commitment to the Institute of Public Health which is now the School of Public Health amidst aw, jubilation and ululation.
From the “youngest” Former Dean MakSPH as he was referred to at the event, Prof. William Bazeyo as he received his token of appreciation noted that ‘We look forward to seeing the school rolling’. He served the school as Dean between 2009 and 2017. Prof. Bazeyo also spoke as Makerere University’s Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor and like he has also said and also written, ‘Be a Contribution’ is his catch phrase, also referring to the book ‘The Carrot’. ‘Leave a trail wherever you are, if none of these colleagues who served MakSPH contributed to MakSPH, then we would not be here today recognizing efforts towards the successes of the School’ Prof. Bazeyo strongly noted. He also thanked the current MakSPH leadership for thinking out of the box noting that it is important for us all to be leaders of change. Prof. Bazeyo urged all to support the current MakSPH Dean Associate Prof. Wanyenze and team so that we can all continue contributing to further building MakSPH. He thanked all those who worked with him during his tenure highlighting the Heads of Departments, Deputy Dean, Finance Management Unit and all staff both teaching and non- teaching/ support.
Prof. David Serwadda, also a senior HIV/AIDS researcher in Uganda who was in service as Dean MakSPH the years 2003 to 2009 thanked Prof. Nambooze for laying a strong foundation for MakSPH. He also thanked Prof, Bukenya for recruiting him and applauded Prof. Bazeyo for working very well with him as his Deputy at MakSPH. He said ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, join me to sincerely thank the Makerere University Main Campus Management team for always being very supportive to MakSPH’.
Prof. Fred Wabwire-Mangen, aninfectious diseases epidemiologistserved as Director of the Institute of Public Health from 1998 to 2003. He also thanked all his colleagues for making his life and work easy singling out the efforts of Dr. Christine Zirabamuzaale and Dr. Olico Okwi a.k.a OO (both these were in attendance) for openly sharing with him leadership and management skills which enabled him excel.
Just before Prof. Wabwire-Mangen was Prof. Gilbert Bukenya who also worked as the then Director Institute of Public Health between 1988 and 1991. Prof. Bukenya isalso a Professor of health systems development. He said ‘I am happy to see School of Public Health growing and the young people taking on leadership. This makes me proud!’ He recognized thestrong foundation that was set by the earlier leaders and urged the current leadership to build on this foundation to further grow and address community challenges in the country. ‘The world will end when Public Health is still fashionable, I am happy to see Public Health in action’ he added.
Prof. John Tuhe Kakitahi who is also a nutritionist served the Institute of Public Health from 1988 to 1991. He said that he was also delighted to see MakSPH growing. ‘I see a transformation of what I remember those days. Merry Christmas and may MakSPH grow continuously to greater heights’ he shared.
Prof. Josephine Nambooze, the then Head of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Director of the Institute of Public Health, Makerere University was equally excited to have been able to join colleagues in the event. She noted that such an event was anticipated many years ago to bring together the MakSPH family and she was very glad that it had finally happened. She noted that during her time, she ran the department and later institute as he personal business. ‘Those days many people looked down on Public Health but I used to solicit funding support for MakSPH from everywhere and everyone. I said to everyone and everywhere that Public Health must remain at the forefront. MakSPH started as a Department of Preventive Medicine, it was later upgraded to an Institute of Public Health then to the great School of Public Health. ‘It is always exciting for me to tell the story of the beginning of this school and obviously it is wonderful to meet all you dear colleagues’ Prof. Nambooze added.
Dr. Eria Hisali, the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe. Prof. Nawangwe in his speech congratulated and thanked the MakSPH current Dean and staff for deeming it fit to recognize the MakSPH past leadership for the good work thus far. Specifically, he thanked the immediate past Dean Prof. William Bazeyo for his unique contribution to the school and good working relationship with the entire university. ‘Thank you colleagues at MakSPH for the contribution that you have continued to make to the university. We owe a large part of our good rankings in research to the hard and good work of the team at MakSPH’ he noted. He also thanked Engineer Doctor Wana-Etyem for accepting to grace the event as Chief Guest wile wishing all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2018.
The Chairman Makerere University Appointments Board, Mr. Bruce Kabaasa appreciated the emphasis on research at the School through successive leadership. He challenged the current MakSPH Dean to maintain the focus on research.
The Chief Guest at this event was Engineer Doctor Wana-Etyem, Chairperson Makerere University Council who thanked all the past leadership for setting a strong and firm foundation for MakSPH. Specifically, he thanked Associate Prof. Wanyenze for the current good work at MakSPH. He also thanked the College of Health Sciences headed by Prof. Ibingira and all the units there in for the peaceful and successful co-existence with MakSPH. ‘I implore you all to continue with the cooperation, respect for one another and acknowledging each other’s differences while upholding each other’s’ strengths so that you can peacefully and successfully keep passing on the baton for the growth of Makerere University.’ he stressed. Additionally, he thanked the ladies and gentlemen for keeping high-up Makerere University’s name through their deeds singling out Prof. Nambooze for setting a firm foundation for MakSPH. He urged the past leadership to continue contributing to MakSPH through knowledge generation and sharing while motivating the young generation. ‘I also urge you all especially the young generation to continue doing good, some day, you will be recognized like we are doing today.’ he added. He urged MakSPH to enhance collaboration and joint work with other Colleges and Units within the University, for example the College of Engineering Design Art and Technology (CEDAT).
The Chief Guest’s speech ushered in all the guests to join in cake cutting and sharing. This was followed by entertainment as the MakSPH family joined on the dance floor ‘paka chini’. It was indeed unique witnessing the Lawns Restaurant Terrace filled with dancing, happy and relaxed Professors, Doctors, Pharmacists, Epidemiologists, Statisticians, Environmental Scientists, Finance experts, Administrators, Health Policy Planners and Managers and Researchers among others. Given the excellence in organizing and executing all activities of the event, all the MakSPH staff and invited guests had two words to say-‘Thank You’!
It was a rich learning and engagement opportunity to put together and see to fruition such a high profile event. Thank you MakSPH Dean and team for giving the 2017 MakSPH Dinner Organizing Committee an opportunity to serve. We are looking forward to yet another such opportunity and we will surely put forth out best foot.
Written by Harriet Adong @ekahat1, RAN Communications Manager and Chairperson 2017 MakSPH Dinner Organizing Committee.
More photos are shared: https://www.facebook.com/pg/ResilientAfricaNetwork/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1937436999617658