Institute of Forensic Medicine and Sciences Proposed

During the May 31- June 1, 2016 state visit to Uganda, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Yoweri Museveni signed cooperation agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in six areas including higher education. On June 1 2016, Makerere University awarded President Erdogan an honorary Doctorate of Laws (Honoris Causa) in recognition of his contribution to humanity, transformation of Turkey and other states across the globe.

Pursuant to the commitments of cooperation, on December 3 2017, Makerere University (Mak), Kampala, Uganda and Cukurova University (CU), Adana, Turkey signed an MoU for the development of irrigation systems for agriculture in Uganda. Additionally, another MoU in the area of Forensic Sciences and Medicine development was signed with Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST). However, following challenges at MUST, the task was been transferred to Makerere University for faster implementation.

Cognisant of the need for quick action, the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor-Finance and Administration (DVC-F and A) Makerere University, organised an initial and informative visit for Prof. Dr. Mete Korkut Gulmen from the Institute of Addiction and Forensic Sciences, Cukurova University (CU). During the visit, July 22-24 2019, Prof. Mete Gulmen met and discussed with key faculty members with special interest in forensics from the Departments of Chemistry, Physics and Pathology of Makerere University The discussions included shared presentations of the mission, vision and goals, laboratory and mortuary facility visits. The result was a proposal to establish an Institute of Forensic Medicine and Science at Makerere University. A concluding meeting with the Permanent Secretary/Secretary for Treasury, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFPED) and his team was convened together with the Makerere team. The meeting tasked the Makerere forensics interest team to write and submit a project concept for budgetary consideration following specified guidelines by the MoFPED. A benchmarking visit by the Makerere team to Cukurova University was planned for late October 2019. Overall, the project proposes to establish an independent, Institute of Forensic Medicine and Science at Makerere University as a partnership between the Colleges of Health Science (CHS) and Natural Science (CoNAS). The institute is envisaged to be an academic and service centre of excellence in Uganda and the region of East and Central Africa and beyond. The aims are to positively impact on the provision of forensic services by developing an in-country capacity to train and deploy a highly trained necessary human resource, provide quality services at internationally accepted standards and improve community awareness and appreciation of forensic sciences. The problem is the lack of graduate and speciality training programmes in Forensic Science and Medicine in Uganda and at Makerere University in particular. The justice, law and order sector (JLOS) is the primary consumer of forensic services. These services are crucial in decision making in courts of law, promotion of public safety, maintenance of peace and ensuring health of the community. The current levels and quality of services do not meet the expectations and needs of the citizens of Uganda. The consequences are the negative impact on the delivery of justice and enjoyment of justice. Criminal cases may be lost in courts of law due to lack of knowledge and skills in handling, processing and submission of quality evidence. The lack of enough numbers of qualified human resource translates into a longer turn around time (TAT) hence delaying delivery of justice. The dire need for quality forensic services in Uganda and the high demand for a qualified human resource for forensic medicine and sciences cannot be overemphasised.

During the period September 22-28 2019, a team from Makerere University led by Prof. William Bazeyo, DVC-F and A visited Cukurova University. The team comprised the: Principal, College of Health Sciences; the Dean, School of Medicine; the Director Makerere Health Services; the heads of Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Pathology and Surgery; the Executive Director, Uganda Cancer Institute; and faculty members from Dentistry and Chemistry departments. The purposes of this visit included benchmarking, discussing and proposing the establishment of wider collaborations for faculty and student exchange between departments under the global framework of the MoU . The forensics interest team discussed and developed the initial steps in the implementation of their work plan. The initial steps include a general introduction to forensics, conducting of parallel introductory workshops in Forensic Pathology and Medicine, Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology, and Forensic Biology and Genetics between November 4-8 2019 at Makerere University. The workshop's faculty will be drawn from the responsible departments in Makerere and Cukurova. The target audience includes existing faculty at Makerere and prospective students with interest in forensics. The culmination of this will be the roadmap for the realisation of the Institute of Forensic Medicine and Sciences at Makerere University. The teams from both universities continue to write and refine the respective training curricula for the Master of Forensic Medicine, Master of Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology and Master of Forensic Biology and Genetics programmes.

Source: MAKERERE University


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