The chairperson organizing committee welcomed participants to the conference and introduced the conference theme as well as thanking the funders.
Dr. Abel Rwendeire made a presentation on behalf of the Chairman Uganda national Planning Authority Prof. Kisamba Mugerwa. His topic of discussion was National Planning and sustainable development goals for health. He highlighted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development that is based on 5Ps. Its focus is to Ensure that No One is Left Behind as far as sustainable development is concerned. He also highlighted the aspirations of Ugandans in their Vision 2040. He retaliated that good health is both directly and indirectly linked to almost all SDGs and therefore attaining good health is a critical element for delivering SDGs.
The 2nd plenary speaker was Prof. Freddie Sengooba, a Public health expert in Health Policy and Planning with special interest in health systems. His discussion focused on Making Uganda’s health system resilient to achieve sustainable development goals for health especially SGD3 which talks about healthy lives and wellbeing for all at all ages. His discussion focused on how to prevent individuals and countries from catastrophic health expenditures by emphasizing/implementing simple practical locally available and affordable technologies/approaches. He mentioned that it is not only medical interventions only that result into healthy lives and wellbeing of people. He concluded his presentation by highlighting the lessons learnt from successful nations, which included: Population and service demand management; Laying strong health system foundation; Political economy of health and welfare and governance strengthening.
Several speakers graced the official opening ceremony of the conference including the Dean School of Medicine, Prof. Moses Kamya, Principal College of health Sciences, President of UNACOH represented by Dr. Chalo Nabirye. All the speakers highlighted the importance of the JASH conference and how it creates a platform for sharing research findings and best practices as well as creating opportunities for networking and collaborating. The CDC Country Director in his remarks emphasized that CDC as a partner always centers on people, science, systems, and response. He mentioned that CDC was marking 25 years of working with the Ministry of Health and had contributed almost 1 billion USD to support prevention of mother to child HIV transmission, male circumcision, and care and treatment services for HIV disease. In addition, CDC has continued to work with MoH to strengthen national and local public health staffing- which are critical inputs in pursuit of targets for comprehensive and sustainable health-service delivery through stronger, more robust public health human resources. Finally he mentioned the Uganda Public Health Fellowship Program, which was remodeled in 2014 to focus on equipping the next generation of public health leaders with skills to investigate and manage disease outbreaks. Dr. Steve Wiersma declared the conference open before launching the exhibition.
The afternoon parallel sessions started smoothly with several presentations that under the sub themes; health in all policies, health systems, community health, tuberculosis, emerging and re-emerging diseases as well as research and development.