Makerere University Council commends work at MakCHS and pledges support for improvement

The Makerere University Council visited the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University (MakCHS) on the 3rd March 2023; Council commended the innovations and research and pledged their support to the College in achieving greater heights.

In her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magala expressed the delight of her team to visit and explained that the purpose of the visit was to afford staff interaction with Council about how MakCHS works and challenges that require Council’ attention. Mrs. Magara said, ‘we would like to leverage what MakCHS does because what is done at this College has great impact on national development. It is important that Council is aware of how to support you to do better’.

Mrs. Magara was accompanied by Hon. Dan Kidega (Vice Chairperson – Council), Mr. Edwin Karugire (Chairperson – Appointments Board), Mr. Edward Sengonzi Damulira (Council Member), Mr. Bruce Kabaasa (Chairperson - Finance, Planning, Administration & Investment Committee), Dr. Sarah Ssali (Chairperson - Quality Assurance, Gender & ICT Committee), and Mr. George Bamugemereire (Chairperson – Legal, Rules, Privileges & Estates Committee).

Professor Damalie Nakanjako welcomed Council to MakCHS and introduced staff present including Deputy Principal, Associate Professor Isaac Kajja; Deans of Schools, and Administrative Staff. Professor Nakanjako said, ‘it’s a special day to have Council visit us and we are excited to receive you’.

In her presentation, Professor Nakanjako shared the setup, vision, strategic direction, status of staff and students at the MakCHS. She explained that currently, the College has a total of 3400 student and 32% at graduate level; by 2024 graduate students will be 42%, this increase aligns with the strategic direction of Makerere University to become a research-led institution.

The Principal highlighted key developments of the College including: ensuring a conducive environment for learners where a PhD lounge was launched, a graduate coordinator as recruited as well as set-up of Graduate Training Committee; creation of an office for African Health Sciences, a PubMed listed journal of MakCHS; renovation of laboratories and lecture theatres.

Also highlighted were the challenges that MakCHS faces: an inadequate administrative staff structure which has led to the College recruiting contract staff; ceiling for scholarly funds which negatively affects graduate training; academic staff structures not changing which affects staff-student ratio, currently 1:12 preclinical and 1:6 clinical and has been flagged by the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC); limited clinical teaching space; lack of capital development funds that has affected completion of the MakCHS research centre and other infrastructure projects; the requirement of PhD for clinical scholars among others.

Some of the proposals submitted for consideration are: fast-track MakCHS laboratory teaching facility; affirmative action to recruit staff particularly in the pre-clinical areas; fast-track building the proposed teaching hospital to accommodate graduate training requirements; review clinical scholar policy for promotion in clinical tracks.

Following the Principal’ presentation a consultative and open discussion ensued.

Council commended MakCHS for the good work and success story of the College which flies the Makerere University flag high globally. The innovative accomplishments of the MakCHS and support offered to the nation during the Covid19 pandemic were applauded. The College was also encouraged to look beyond training health professionals and consider opportunities like medical tourism, mentoring of other medical schools in the country.

Closing the meeting, the Chairperson Council said that some of issues raised will require round table discussion with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education and Sports as key stakeholders. She encouraged MakCHS leadership to continue engaging the University Secretary, Appointments Board and University Management for more in-depth discussion of the issues raised during the meeting.

Mrs. Magara advised the College leadership to document the challenges and requirements, forward them to University Management who will then share them with Council for consideration.