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Makerere, Yale University health partnership to grow stronger — Nawangwe

MAKERERE | Makerere and Yale universities have agreed to strengthen and scale up their decade-long partnership for mutually beneficial transformation, especially in health science.

The decision comes after the visit of Prof Pericles Lewis, Yale University’s vice president for Global Strategy and Deputy Provost for International Affairs, to Makerere University where he met with leadership, alumni, and medical residents.

“We have agreed to upgrade collaboration between our two great institutions,” Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the MUK vice-chancellor, said after the meeting.

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“Yale and Makerere University have a long, rich partnership that dates back nearly two decades,” he added.

The history of the collaborative effort is traced to 2002 when Dr Majid Sadigh, an associate professor of medicine at Yale, travelled to Kampala to teach under the umbrella of the Academic Alliance for HIV Prevention and Care.

During his visits, he noted a contrast between the advanced clinical and epidemiologic research activities at Makerere University and the challenges of patient care in Mulago Hospital, the national referral hospital.

Three years later, Sadigh returned with Dr Asghar Rastegar, professor of medicine and current director of the Office of Global Health in the Department of Internal Medicine, travelled to Kampala on behalf of Yale University School of Medicine (YSM) to explore a collaboration with Makerere College and Mulago Hospital.

To date, the Makerere University-Yale University (MUYU) collaboration has been a resounding success. Under the MUYU memorandum of understanding, Yale physicians, residents, and medical students travel to Kampala for clinical rotations, and Ugandan physicians and students train in New Haven.

The goal for both groups is to improve patient care through education, training, and research; to build up the educational and clinical infrastructure; and to support research that could be easily translated into practice.

George Ssenyange, a medical exchange student from Uganda, applied for the programme and was accepted into the Yale Office of International Medical Student Education (OIMSE) programme.

Ssenyange made the trip to Yale in the summer of 2016 to begin a one-month clinical rotation studying infectious diseases at the Yale School of Medicine.

My clinical rotation at Yale New Haven Hospital was a mind-blowing experience, far and above the high expectations I already had,” said Ssenyange. “In my time here, I have met and befriended so many amazing people, people with brilliant minds, many of whom I am lucky to have not only as friends, but as mentors as well.”

Yale is known worldwide as an institution that successfully leverages the power of partnerships and networks to transform the educational experiences and career opportunities of students, while also producing remarkable outcomes in science and global health.

During his visit, Lewis connected with some of the Makerere medical residents who visited Yale as part of the MUYU training programme, an integral component of the MUYU partnership.

The length of training at Yale has ranged between six weeks and 12 months and has focused on areas of greater need, specifically with respect to non-communicable diseases.

Since 2006, more than 21 faculty/physicians have been trained in the following specialties and subspecialties: cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, nephrology, rheumatology, oncology, pulmonology, intensive care, pediatric surgery, endocrine surgery, emergency medicine, pathology, and neurology.

Lewis’ trip supports the Yale Africa Initiative (YAI), an ongoing effort by Yale to prioritize and expand upon its collaborations on the continent. Through YAI, Yale continues to leverage the power of partnerships and global networks across the continent to produce remarkable outcomes in science, public health, business, and numerous other disciplines and industry sectors.

The visit to Makerere University is just one of many exciting events that the Yale team will participate in as they travel to Ethiopia, Uganda, and South Africa this month.

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