Makerere University receives Shs. 30 Billion for COVID-19 research
With the latest funding to the tune of Shs30billion, Makerere University has embarked on a range of studies to assist in the complete easing of the lockdown on businesses, schools and places of worship that was instituted in March to counter the spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Prof. William Bazeyo, the Principal, College of Health Sciences who manages the Research and Innovations Fund says that with that money, with the money they have embarked on among other things a study to guide in the reopening of schools.
He says already the school of Education has done initial analysis on how students can continue learning even as re-opening is not an option now with the risk of infection considering that schools have limited facilities to foster physical distancing as they are overcrowded.
This comes at a time when government has been put under pressure by sections to have educational institutions and schools open. For instance, the Uganda Medical Association has petitioned the Ministries of Health and Education to have medical students back for training predicting a crisis in hospitals if this doesn’t happen soon.
In his statement this morning, the Uganda Medical Association President, Dr. Richard Idro said they are still engaging the National Council for Higher Education to at least allow final year medical students study and fill the vacuum in hospitals that will be caused by the departure of interns come end of September when their one year training ends.
But, even with these fears, Bazeyo says it would be very risky for the country if students are allowed back without proper study of how well crowds will be managed. Results of this study are expected to be ready in the next three months which is when the professor says they expect findings for the most of the initial studies in the areas of both humanities and science.
However, while the Makerere University based research and innovations entity is supposed to cater for all health related research, Bazeyo says they have put a halt to everything else in order to give COVID-19 the attention it deserves.
Already, to fund the complete researches on COVID-19 among which is the very first conducted by the Makerere University Lung Institute and another done by the College of Natural Sciences that gave predictions of how the country’s pandemic is likely to turn out, Bazeyo says they spent Shs9.6billion.
The money was part of the special funding for research that Makerere University received for the first time from government last financial year totaling to Shs30billion. While that money would be used to fund other researches, the latest Shs30billion is specially tagged to COVID-19.