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Dr. Zavuga awarded best fellow of Cohort 2022 of Uganda public health fellowship program

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Doctor Robert Zavuga has been awarded as the best fellow of the just completed Advanced Field Epidemiology Fellowship, of Cohort 2022 in Uganda public health fellowship program.

This distinguished fellowship award is meant to recognize Dr. Zavuga’s exceptional work completed for the Advanced Field Epidemiology Fellowship.

Dr. Zavuga has made numerous award-winning presentations at national and international conferences. He also made significant appearances in the local media, contributing feature articles on key topics of public health importance.

During the fellowship, Dr. Zavuga was attached to the Public Health Emergency Operations Center (PHEOC), which serves as Uganda’s central organizing body for all public health emergencies.

He remarked that as a field epidemiologist, which consistently takes the lead in responding to public health risks, he handled eight public health situations in total. “I led two outbreak investigations; Methanol poisoning in Arua and Madi-okollo Districts in 2022 and Chicken pox in Kampala in 2023.”

According to him, each year, Methanol causes over Three million poisonings and about 300,000 fatalities worldwide. “Findings however showed a decline in the number of admissions, deaths related to organophosphate poisoning, with an average of 15 admissions per 100,000 people & a 4.2% case fatality rate”.

Throughout the investigation, he observed that Methanol, a toxic industrial solvent used for cleaning, pesticides, and fuel, is occasionally added to alcoholic drinks either accidentally or as a low-cost substitute for ethanol.

“While many alcoholic beverages contain traces of methanol, exceeding the safe limit of 50mg/L can result in toxicity, causing metabolic acidosis, blindness, and even death” Dr. Zavuga explained.

Dr. Zavuga recommends that even for alcoholic products that have already received certification, the national standards body should conduct routine alcohol inspections.

Who is Dr. Zavuga?

Dr. Zavuga is an accomplished epidemiologist, who holds a Master of Public Health with a medical background. He has particular interests in global health security, statistical modeling, and artificial intelligence.

The award was presented to him by the US Ambassador, H.E William W Popp, alongside Prof Rhoda Wanyenze, Dean, MakSPH, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the WHO country Representative, Dr Amy Boore, CDC Director among others, in 8th graduation ceremony held in Kampala over the weekend.

Other graduates included; Jane Francis Zalwango, Brenda Simbwa, Hellen Nelly Naiga, Dr. Namubiru Saudah Kizito, Rebecca Akunzirwe, Marie Gorreti Zalwango, Dr Peter Chris Kawungezi, Mackline Ninsiima, Patrick King, Thomas Kiggundu, Dr Brian Agaba, Mercy Wendy Wanyana and Zainah Kabami.

About the Program

The Uganda Public Health Fellowship Program has so far enrolled 108 Fellows in Advanced Field Epidemiology Track since its inception in 2015, with the highest ever enrollment of 15 in 2022.

According to Health Ministry’s Dr Henry Mwebesa, the Director General of Health Services, over the last eight years, Fellows have contributed immensely to disease detection and control by conducting outbreak investigations, analyzing public health surveillance data, evaluating public health surveillance systems, conducting epidemiological studies, and developing quality improvement projects.

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  1. I?m not sure where you’re getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful information I was looking for this info for my mission.


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