Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has applauded Makerere University and the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) for investing in a knowledge centre which will enable them to focus on healthcare development and expansion of programmes that will support policies for improved health in the country.
The Premier made the remarks at the launch and opening of the multibillion McKinnell Knowledge Centre of the IDI at Makerere University on Friday.
The centre will operate as a hub for enhancing capacity in health innovation and impact for researchers, trainers and health practitioners in Uganda and Africa.
Dr Rugunda saluted IDI for working closely with the Ministry of Health and Uganda Aids Commission to ensure that its programmes are in line with the national priorities.
“The work IDI does in providing advanced and specialized courses in the management of HIV and related infectious diseases using a comprehensive blend of learning that includes classroom – based training, clinic and community immersion is timely and holistic,” said the Premier.
He thanked international partners such as Hank MacKinnel, the chair of the Board of Accordia Global Health Foundation, Sue and Nick Hellman Foundation and the University of Minnesota all from the United States of America, who contributed greatly to the construction of the centre.
Dr. Rugunda said innovation and research are critical areas in the health sector, adding that healthcare workers need to keep up- to-date with the new developments to gain cutting edge skills and competencies required to address the health needs of the people.
“Integrated disease surveillance and response is critical in Uganda and Africa today,” Rugunda said.
The Vice Chancellor Makerere University, Prof Dumba Ssentamu said IDI was involved in over 80 projects and had published almost 400 articles in peer reviewed journals which had improved the University’s rankings in East and Central Africa.
The Executive Director of IDI, Dr Richard Brough said IDI had trained over 17,000 health workers from Uganda and 27 other African countries since 2002.
Training covers HIV/AIDS and TB co-infection, malaria, laboratory services, pharmacy, health systems strengthening and research capacity building.
The function was also an opportunity to officially bid farewell to Dr Alex Coutinho, the former IDI Executive Director who contributed greatly to the success of the knowledge centre project.