Makerere University and the Medical University of Budapest, “Semmelweis”, Hungary have held discussions and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to deepen collaboration between the two institutions.
The MoU was signed on behalf of Makerere University by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and on behalf of Semmelweis by the Rector, Prof. Béla Merkely and Vice Rector, Prof. Attila Szabó.
The visiting delegation was accompanied by the Ambassador H.E. Dr. Janos Tereyi and Staff from the Embassy of Hungary in Uganda.
Welcoming the delegation, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe observed that the visit and MoU signing were timely, as Makerere embarks on the year-long celebrations to mark 100 years of contributing to building the region’s human resource among other milestones.
“We have also recently embarked on the implementation of our 10-year strategic plan which seeks to make us more research-led and so as to contribute to national development and produce more innovations and spinoffs to provide employment for our growing population” remarked the Vice Chancellor.
Prof. Nawangwe noted that Makerere, given its location in the tropics, is a vibrant centre for research in the clinical disciplines particularly infectious diseases, with malaria posing some of the greatest challenges. “Just this morning I addressed ten universities meeting in Entebbe, leading a consortium to eradicate malaria in Africa.”
He added that with funding from the Government of Uganda, Makerere was conducting a lot of research on COVID-19 and had been instrumental in the supporting government’s management of the disease in the country.
The Vice Chancellor clarified that despite the dominance by health sciences, the University’s research output cuts across all disciplines such as agriculture, engineering, veterinary medicine, the arts and humanities, among others and is renowned for producing some of the best writers.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation the Rector, Prof. Béla Merkely thanked the Vice Chancellor and Members of Management for the warm welcome to the world renowned Makerere University. Continuing from where Prof. Nawangwe had left off, he added that his University equally played a key role in Hungary’s fight against COVID-19 and as Rector, he is the Main Advisor to the Prime Minister in that field.
The Rector shared that Semmelweis’ staff and student COVID-19 vaccination ratios stand at over 90%, including international scholars who make up over 31% of the total student population, and 52.9% of students in the University’s Faculty of Medicine. Hungary has to date vaccinated 6million (63%) of its population.
Prof. Merkely is a clinician who still performs diagnostic coronarographies, pacemaker, Mitraclip and other implantations reported that Semmelweis University is ranked among the top 100 institutions in the “Cardiology and Cardiovascular System” field.
“Semmelweis University achieved the best ranking this year and improved twenty-five places to become the 87th best higher education institution in the world in this field” added the Rector.
Prof. Merkely shared that Semmelweis University had in the past worked with the Uganda Heart Institute and supported the Hungarian Goverment to implement a project to modernise the Cardiology Department of Mulago National Referral Hospital.
In terms of potential collaboration, Prof. Merkely said that Semmelweis has a strong PhD programme and has over the years developed a lot of innovations in the health sciences and trained the majority of its staff in specialised fields of medicine. This, he attributed to the presence of a University-owned 2,100-bed teaching hospital that offers continuous professional development to staff.
Prof. Nawangwe concluded the discussions by acknowledging that we had the rare opportunity to collaborate with a Rector who is a clinician. He added that the Government of Uganda was fully aware of the importance of Makerere University having its own teaching hospital and was keen to address the matter.
Present during the discussions and MoU signing ceremony were the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)-Dr. Umar Kakumba, University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda, Director Human Resouces-Dr. Davis Malowa Ndanyi, University Bursar-Mr. Evarist Bainomugisha, and Academic Registrar-Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah.
Also present were the Director Internal Audit-Mr. Walter Yorac Nono, Director Research and Graduate Training-Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi, Dean of Students-Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli, Ag. Director Quality Assurance-Prof. Sarah Kiguli, Manager Procurement and Disposal Unit-Mr. Paul Agaba, Deputy Principal College of Health Sciences-Prof. Isaac Kajja and Principal Legal Officer-Ms. Esther Kabinga. The visit was coordinated by the International Relations Officer-Ms. Martha Muwanguzi.