New Clinical Research Facility presents hope for public health- Prof Kaleebu

Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) Director, Professor Pontiano Kaleebu said the newly unveiled Clinical Research Facility will largely contribute to the health and wellbeing of Ugandans. “This facility will provide opportunities to strengthen and expand our clinical research and training in order to contribute to improving the health of our people” he said

Kaleebu said this during his address at the unveiling ceremony of a USD 1.25 million state-of-the-art MRC/UVRI and LSHTM clinical research facility erected next to UVRI in Entebbe Municipality last week. The Facility will have equipment to facilitate evaluation of research participants; Pharmacies with capacity to manage clinical trial investigational medicinal products (IMP); Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory facilities.

The Facility which sits on 0.8 acres was commissioned by the British High Commissioner to Uganda, Kate Airey OBE, and Prof Liam Smeeth, the Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine(LSHTM). 

Kaleebu highlighted the notable progress registered by the MRC/UVRI and LSHTM Uganda Research Unit in three broad areas which include HIV and emerging infections, vaccines and non-communicable diseases.

“The unit has contributed to work that has improved our knowledge, contributed to policy and practice and the MRC has also made a very significant contribution in the capacity building both human and infrastructure,” he stated

Kaleebu also lauded the career opportunities and scientific collaboration for researchers since the unit was transferred to the LSHTM in 2018. “The unit conducts many clinical studies across sites; in Masaka, in Entebbe and Kampala to improve our knowledge about health and disease for the benefit of Uganda, the region and the world.” he stated

H.E Kate Airey said is a clear beacon of the United Kingdom’s continued commitment towards supporting Uganda scientists. “I believe the establishment of this facility is an important milestone in the quest for answers to questions surrounding the improvement of health for people here in Uganda.” she said

Fabrice Rulinda, the Entebbe municipality mayor applauded the work being carried out at UVRI saying, the Centre’s significance was felt by many people, especially during the tough times of COVID-19 when all attention of the relief and cure was turned to the virus research institute

Michael Kakembo, the member of parliament for Entebbe municipality promised to ensure that more funds are appropriated towards science and research. He prayed that Entebbe residents be granted priority in case the research Centre is to employ new staff.

Kenneth Akiiri who is the Ministry of Health Under-Secretary noted the importance of UVRI saying, it has played an important role in strengthening Uganda’s national response to epidemics from the HIV/AIDS in the 1980s to Ebola, Tuberculosis and more recently to the COVID-19.

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