Preamble

In Uganda, as in many sub-Saharan African countries, communicable diseases contribute more than 60% of the disease burden. To date, the most effective means of infectious disease control remains immunization of pre-exposed individuals as well as early diagnosis and appropriate treatment. The MSc in Immunology and Clinical Microbiology will run alongside the existing three-year Master of Medicine in Microbiology, which is offered to medical applicants. The program will last 2 years, and is designed to fill the gap for immunologists and clinical microbiologists in Uganda and the region through opening graduate training to non-medical applicants. This will alleviate the shortage of well-trained immunologists, clinical microbiologists and a strong research force in the country. The program will heavily rely on outcomes from contemporary research and their clinical applications, which are increasingly being introduced in Uganda.

JUSTIFICATION & RATIONALE
Over the past decade, immunology has transformed into a wide discipline that continues to play a leading role in human medicine, from vaccine and drug discovery to general patient care. The advances in medicine-organ transplants (liver, kidney, heart…) have tremendously increased worldwide. Uganda is building capacity to carry out its own transplant services as well as manage transplant patients from other countries. To be effective in managing transplant patients, competent immunologists are needed to assess organ compatibility as well as help in guiding the immunosuppressive therapy. Thus, the Master of Science in Immunology and Clinical Microbiology program will fill the gap for highly skilled immunologists in Uganda, through opening graduate training in this discipline to outstanding non-medical applicants. Furthermore, to improve patient care, the world Health Organization is emphasizing development of Point-of-Care (POC) tests that would rapidly diagnose diseases at the initial contact at a health care facility, thus limiting transmission. So far, most of the POC tests for infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and syphilis have an immunological basis, and their interpretation requires a sound understanding of Immunology/microbiology. This can be achieved through advanced training in immunology and clinical microbiology, which the proposed program aims to do. For resource limited countries, the need for graduate training in immunology cannot be overemphasized.

Moreover, the Ministry of Health in Uganda (USSP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) strongly advocate that the National, regional, district and Health Centre IV hospitals have a theater and at least one clinical microbiologist/immunologist. There are over 300 Hospitals in Uganda, and none of these has a clinical microbiologist/immunologist. The consequences of delayed or missed diagnosis include death, increased disease transmission, disabilities, social and economic losses. Highly qualified clinical laboratory scientists are needed to combat diseases and advance the field.

Program objectives

The program aims at achieving the following objectives:

  • To extend post-graduate training in immunology and clinical microbiology at Makerere University to non-medical applicants, as it occurs internationally, providing an international program that can serve local, regional and international needs
  • To produce skilled manpower for the management of an increasing number of patients with compromised immunity, as in “Tissue/Organ” transplants, Cancer and immunodeficiencies
  • To produce graduates who can guide patient care and the public on the pathology, pathogenesis and clinical manifestation, mode of transmission and prevention of infections of clinical and public health importance
  • To produce skilled manpower for the emerging pharmaceutical and medical industry that is developing medical diagnostics, drugs and vaccines locally. The graduates will invaluable in the local development of new medical diagnostics, drugs or vaccines
  • To prepare outstanding students for the pursuit of a doctoral  degree in immunology that is currently running at the College of Health sciences
  • To produce graduates who can critique and evaluate the impact of the existing national disease control programs and advise on improving them
  • To produce graduates with capacity to manage and guide appropriately equipped and staffed clinical microbiology laboratories
  • To produce teachers for medical microbiology and immunology in Ugandan medical universities

Skills learning outcomes

Upon completion of the program, graduates will:

  • Be able to interpret or guide the development of medical diagnostics in need locally and cheaply
  • Be able to manage and guide appropriately equipped and staffed clinical microbiology laboratories
  • Be a highly skilled human resource for the emerging pharmaceutical/medical industry
  • Be able to participate in supervised or team-research in universities, industry or government
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge in the fields of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology, with excellent skills to teach and communicate this knowledge
  • Demonstrate independent critical and analytical thinking, both within their field of study, and beyond, for the use of their knowledge for service to others.
  • Be able to guide patient care and the public on the pathology, pathogenesis and clinical manifestation, mode of transmission, prevention and current control methods for infections of public health importance
  • Be a highly skilled human resource in the management of an increasing number of patients with tissue/Organ transplants, Cancers and immunodefficiencies, all of whom have increased in Uganda and need careful monitoring by specialists
  • Be able to critique and evaluate the impact of the existing national disease control programs on the epidemiology of infectious diseases and advise on improving them
  • Have acquired critical and analytical skills required for further studies in specialized areas of immunological or related studies
  • Identify and suggest possible solutions to ethical dilemmas that occur in their work and field of study, and understand the importance of professional ethics in all aspects of scientific communication and laboratory work
  • Demonstrate competence in the laboratory, including application of the scientific method and appropriate use of basic and state of the art laboratory tools and techniques
  • Demonstrate written and oral skills necessary for communication of research, knowledge, and ideas to scientists and non-scientists alike

OTHER COMPETENCES THAT WILL BE ACQUIRED

Additionally, students will:

  • Have acquired ‘Self-Directed Learning skills, competent at Scientific Literature Search and Writing, presentation and communication skills
  • Be able to apply modern laboratory immunology and clinical microbiology techniques to a variety of scientific disciplines
  • Have understood how abnormal immune responses underlie medical disorders
  • Be able to relate basic processes by which the immune system works and how it may go wrong in disease
  • Be able to evaluate the impact of the existing disease control programs on epidemiology of infectious diseases
  • Given the relevant clinical data, the student should be able to choose the appropriate test procedures for evaluation of patient status
  • Given specific test results, the student should be able to determine the patients' clinical condition and correlate the results with results from the microbiology, hematology and chemistry laboratories
  • Be able to describe molecular diagnostic tests that can be used to diagnose and manage human diseases
  • Be able to describe the specimen collection, transport, processing and storage requirements and fundamental principle of the procedures utilized to carry out DNA-based technologies including
  • Describe the acceptable workflow and proper design of molecular diagnostic laboratories
  • Describe appropriate Quality Control and Assurance and describe regulatory requirements for organizations that may in future oversee the establishment of molecular diagnostic laboratories
  • List the major clinical/medical uses of molecular diagnostic kits
  • Able to identify appropriate specimen collection and handling measures for molecular diagnostics

EMPLOYEMENT

Upon completion, graduates may serve in the following areas: 

  • Career in Research and Teaching

Uganda currently has five national Universities and three private ones, which train Medical doctors, Pharmacists, Nurses and other health workers. The demand for immunologists and microbiologists to engage in this training is enormous.

  • Hospitals

For better patient care, the Ministry of Health’s recommendation is to have at least one microbiologist per hospital. Uganda has about 300 hospitals without clinically trained microbiologist in almost all of them. Clinical microbiologists are needed to advance patient care.

  • Entrepreneurship

In the medical profession, Diagnostic immunology and Molecular Diagnostics are currently among the most commercialized services with a large clientele. Ugandan patients get these services from other countries (mostly South Africa) and the cost is high. Graduates of this program with entrepreneurship skills may venture into this lucrative service. 

  • Medical research institutions and None Governmental Organizations need specialists in immunology and clinical microbiology to perform and advance their activities
  • Commercial medical laboratories, tissue/Organ transplant institutes and international hospitals that are emerging will require microbiologists for their advancement.

Target Group
The program seeks to recruit:

  • District Medical Officers and Health workers who wish to specialize in infectious diseases
  • Research assistants and laboratory personnel in research and hospital laboratories
  • Pharmacists, Pharmacologists, Chemists and other Scientists in the private sector
  • Anyone with a scientific background who would wish for career change to immunology and infectious diseases

Duration
The Msc in Immunology and Clinical Microbiology will be for a minimum of 2 years (4 semesters and one recess term) and a maximum of three years (6 semesters and one recess term). Each semester shall consist of 17 weeks, 15 for study and 2 for examination. The recess term will consist of 10 weeks, the last 2 being for examination. All courses offered are core to the curriculum and students are expected to take all of them.

Admission requirements
The general admission requirements of Makerere University will apply where appropriate. The following specific criteria will apply:

  • To be eligible for admission into this program, the candidate must hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences or a degree in Pharmacy, Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Nursing or Environmental health sciences or their equivalent, with a GPA of no less 3.5
  • However, in some cases, admission may be flexible to allow those with GPA below 3.5, provided they have acquired specialized skills such as research experience evidenced by publications

Mode of Delivery
Most courses in the program will be coordinated and taught by leading scholars and faculty in Uganda.

The mode of teaching for this program will be as follows:

  • Keynote Lectures from subject matter specialists
  • Self Directed Learning through student mini-teaching sessions that will consist of in-depth discussions of topics briefly covered by preceding keynote lectures. The topics will be approved by the lecturer and the lecturer will attend.
  • Clinical scenarios (Hospital Ward rounds): case presentation, relations of signs and symptoms to the disease process and pathogenesis
  • Guided student presentations of selected scientific papers
  • Practicals: Most modules are predominantly practically based with “hands-on” experience

Examination Regulations
The regulations for Makerere University examinations will be followed

Award of Degree
The degree Masters of Science in Immunology and Clinical Microbiology of Makerere University will be awarded
Laboratory Rotations
Students will complete a one week laboratory rotations in the Departmental labs and other selected labs in the College and Mulago hospital complex, for exposure to the different lab set ups and research projects by faculty. Students will be evaluated and graded on each rotation by the supervising faculty. The dissertation laboratory will then be chosen from one of the rotation labs, although this will not always be required in that students will have freedom to perform their research elsewhere.
Schedule for laboratory rotations:

  • Day1: The Clinical Microbiology Labs: lay out and instrumentation
  • Day2: The BSL3 Mycobacteriology Laboratory: Lay out and Instrumentation
  • Day3: The Molecular Biology/Diagnostic Laboratory: lay out and instrumentation
  • Day4: The Immunology laboratory: Lay out and Instrumentation
  • Day5: The MUJHU Core Laboratories
  • Day6: MUWRP Laboratories

Laboratory coordinator
A Laboratory Education coordinator will be a member of staff of the Department, whose main responsibilities shall be to:
i) Supervise students at the various attachment sites                                                                                                 
ii) Plan, organize and manage laboratory oriented activities of the program

Program coordinator
The program coordinator shall be responsible for:
i) The day-to-day management of the program by liaison with the year and course leaders
ii) Liaison with Laboratory attachment sites and student representatives
iii) Ensuring that the students' records are appropriately maintained
iii) Ensuring that the required data is collected for inclusion in the annual report of the Head of Department
iv) Liaison with other participating departments
v)  Ensuring availability of the required resources at the various attachment sites

Field Attachments
The program will be based at the College of Health Sciences and will benefit from the facilities of the Department and College at large. For now we do not envisage any field attachments but they will be considered as need arises.

PROGRAMME STRUCTURE

Year 1, Semester 1

Semester I

Code

Course Name

CU

LH

PH

CH

New/Current

 

Core Course

 

CEB 7101

Epidemiology & Biostatistics

 

4

 

30

 

40

 

60

Current

 

Core Course

 

MIM 7101

Fundamentals of Immunology  

 

3

 

10

 

35

 

45

New

 

Core Course

 

MIM 7102

Regulation of the Immune Response

 

4

 

30

 

40

 

60

New

Core Course

MIM 7103

Molecular Immunology

4

30

40

60

New

Year 1, Semester 2

Semester II

Code

Course Name

CU

LH

PH

CH

New/Current

 

Core Course

 

MCM 8101

 

Clinical Microbiology I & II

 

4

 

30

 

40

 

60

Current

Core Course

MIM 7201

Clinical Immunology

4

30

40

60

New

Core Course

MIM 7202

Diagnostic Immunology

4

30

40

60

New

Core Course

MIM 7203

Molecular Diagnostics

4

30

40

60

New

Year 1, Recess Term

Semester II

Code

Course Name

CU

LH

PH

CH

New/Current

 

Core Course

 

HSM 7301

Health Systems Management & Research

 

2

 

10

 

25

 

30

Current

 

Core Course

 

MIM 7301

 

Ethics in Clinical Research

 

4

 

30

 

40

 

60

New

Core course

MIM 7302

Seminar/Journal club

3

10

35

45

Current

           
Year 2


Semester I & II

Code

Course Name

CU

LH

PH

CH

New/Current

Core Course

MIM 7401

Research & Dissertation

30

 

900

225

New

Certificate of due performance
In order to sit for the end of semester examination, a candidate must have a certificate of due performance.

Assessment and Examination
Each candidate will be assessed continuously based on scores from tutorials, seminars, practical and mid- semester written and practical examinations. End of semester examinations will consist of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs), short answer questions and long answer questions, a practical examination and viva- voce.  Continuous assessment shall carry 40% of the final mark while Semester examinations will carry 60%.

Grading courses

Each course shall be graded out of a maximum of 100 marks and assigned appropriate letter grades and grade point average as follows:

Marks

Latter Grade

Grade point

Interpretation

90-100

A+

5

Exceptional

80-89

A

5

Excellent

75-79

B+

4.5

Very Good

70-74

B

4

Good

65-69

C+

3.5

Fairly Good

60-64

C

3

Pass

55-59

D

2.5

Marginal Fail

50-54

D-

2

Clear Fail

45-49

E

1.5

Bad Fail

40-44

E

1

Qualified Fail

Below 40

F

0

Qualified Fail

The minimum course grade pass will be 3.0

Student progress will be measured as follows:

Normal progress
To progress on normal progress from semester to semester and from one year to another, a candidate must score an average of 60% or more in each of the courses he/she registered for and a GPA of 3.0 and above at the end of each semester examinations.

Probationary progress
A candidate who fails any of the offered courses in a semester shall be put on probation. A student who obtains a GPA of less than 3.0 in a semester or has a GPA of less than 3.0 in a course shall be placed on probation. 

Re-taking the course
A student who fails any of the offered courses in a semester will retake the course and examinations when the course is next offered. A student may retake a course to improve the grade if the first pass grade was low.

Discontinuation
A student will be discontinued when he/she has received three consecutive probations based on GPA. Such a student would have failed to obtain at least a pass mark of 60% during the third assessment in the same course or courses.

Research and Dissertation
This will be done in the second year of study (for each student) upon successful completion of the coursework. The students are encouraged to choose an appropriate supervisor (who is a member of the academic staff of the University) and a Research project. Prior to commencing their research, students will present their research proposals before faculty for approval. The research project may be clinical or laboratory based or both, and the student will spend at least three days per week in the laboratory, with the remainder of their time spent either in the laboratory or in private study as agreed with their supervisors. Note that the research will not be carried out until approved by the Departmental and college higher degrees committee, and if involving human subjects, Institution review board (IRB) as well as the National Council of Science and Technology permission will have to be sought. The project will run for a maximum of seven months, with the final two months allocated to writing. The student will meet with their supervisors frequently as needed to discuss progress.

Members of the School of biomedical sciences and other schools within the college and the University may offer to supervise student research projects in any area of research. Students can then choose from these projects, which they could have identified through the laboratory rotations. The research projects will be fulltime and done over a period of not more nine months, with written dissertation that includes a critical literature review, research methodology, results and discussion of these results in relation to other published work in the field. The dissertation will be presented to the school of graduate studies for examination, at least one month before the end of the second semester of the final year. Download the SGS guidelines for dissertation writing.

The dissertation will be graded as: -

  • Scientific content and presentation accepted – passed
  • Scientific content and presentation accepted but minor corrections needed in presentation
  • Scientific content accepted but needs major corrections in presentation and Interpretation of data
  • Scientific content not accepted – failed

Resubmission of dissertation is to be done within 6 months. Only one resubmission is allowed

Award of Degree
The degree Masters of Science in Immunology and Clinical Microbiology of Makerere University will be awarded without classification

RESOURCES AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Library
Sir Albert Cook Library of the College of Health Sciences is well equipped and contains current editions of text books of immunology and clinical microbiology which are available to students. The library has access to databases for leading journals and electronic books in immunology and clinical microbiology.  Graduate students are also provided passwords to access medical literature electronically using the WHO/HINARI initiative (World Health Organization/Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative).

Lecture Space
The Department has nine spacious office laboratories, one of which is being used as a computer room for post-graduate students. There are also two study rooms reserved for MSc and PhD postgraduate students. The department has a big teaching laboratory, accommodating up to 500 students.

Computers
The Department has a computer laboratory (6 x 8 meters) for post-graduate students, equipped with 5 desktop computers, each fully connected to internet and routinely serviced.

Research Laboratories
Immunology
The Immunology laboratory was established in the department through collaboration with the Makerere University College of Health Sciences and the, Uganda Virus Research Instituteto build capacity for immunology in the university. This is the first and only fully fledged teaching immunology laboratory in the University. The laboratory also collaborates with the Makerere University Walter Reed, Medical Research Council and Join Clinical Research Centre Laboratories. The laboratory can perform and teach all T-cell and immunoglobulin based immunological techniques.

Equipment available in the immunology laboratory
Water baths, Centrifuges, ELISA machines; Refrigerators and freezers; Liquid nitrogen tanks; P2 and P3 safety cabinets; CO2 incubators; Spectrophotometers; and minor equipment such as pipette aides, Vacuum systems

Personnel
The department is working with five dedicated immunologists and many visiting immunologists from the Uganda Virus Research Institute with keen interest in developing the new program.

Doctoral program
The department has gone ahead and started a doctoral program in immunology with five fully sponsored PhD immunology students. These will be very instrumental in running the masters program. The doctoral program will also serve as an avenue for the masters graduates. Although it is new, the doctoral program has been very favorably reviewed by Welcome Trust, Karolinska institute and Case Western Reserve Universities that are well recognized immunology teaching institutions.

Clinical Microbiology laboratories

Molecular Biology and Diagnostics labs
This laboratory started in 2003 with a mandate to introduced molecular techniques to control of infections in Uganda. The laboratory is well staffed and fully equipped to handle bothe basic and applied techniques in molecular biology, ranging from DNA extraction to gene deletion.

Personnel
The program shall be taught by the faculty in the Department of Medical Microbiology in collaboration with other relevant Departments of the University e.g. Clinical Epidemiology Unit, department of Pathology and Specialists from other institutions from within and outside Uganda. Notably, subject matter specialists from the Uganda Virus Research Institute, who are also honorary lectures and professors at MakCHS, will be heavily involved in running the program.

Key Personnel:

  1. Dr Katongole Mbidde, MBChB, PhD
  2. Dr Ponsiano Kaleebu, MBChB, PhD
  3. Dr Josephine Birungi, MBChB, PhD
  4. Dr Steve Cose, PhD
  5. Dr Julius Lutwama, PhD
  6. Dr Jonathan Kayondo, PhD
  7. Dr Agwu Ezra, PhD
  8. Dr Jackson Oryem, MBChB, PhD
  9. Dr Olaho Mukhani, BVM, PhD
  10. Prof. J. Olobo - BVM, M.Sc., Ph.D.
  11. Prof. Harriet Mayanja, MBChB, MMED, MSC
  12. Assoc. Prof. D. Kaddu-Mulindwa, - BVM, MSc.  Ph.D
  13. Assoc. Prof. Fred Kironde-Ph.D
  14. Assoc. Prof. Paul Waako-PHD
  15. Assoc. Prof. Celistino Obua-Ph.D
  16. Assoc. Prof.  Henry Wabinga-Ph.D
  17. Prof. Charles Karamaji, PhD
  18. Prof. Moses Kamya, PhD
  19. Dr. Oloho Mukani, PhD
  20. Dr. Steve Cosey, PhD
  21. Dr. Alison Elliott, PhD
  22. Dr. F. C. Najjuka - MB.Ch.B, M.Sc. M.Med
  23. Dr. H. Kajumbula - MB, Ch.B. M.Med
  24. Dr. M. Joloba - MB.Ch.B, M.Sc, Ph.D
  25. Dr. David P Kateete – BVM, Msc
  26. Dr. Benon B Asiimwe – BVM,M.sc, PhD
  27. Dr. Bwanga Fred – MB.Ch.B, M.Med, PhD
  28. Dr. Sentongo Elizabeth – MB.Ch.B, PhD
  29. Dr. Hakim Sendagire – MB.Ch.B , M.Sc, PhD
  30. Mr. Samuel Nsobya-MLT, BLT, MSc, PhD
  31. Dr. Micheal Odida- MB.Ch.B, M.Med, PhD
  32. Dr. Jackson Orem- MB.Ch.B, M.Med
  33. Dr. Dan Wamala- MB.Ch.B, M.Med
  34. Dr Lynette Tumwine, MB.Ch.B, M.Med, PhD
  35. Dr Hawa Nalwoga, MB.Ch.B, M.Med, PhD
  36. Dr Galukande, MB.Ch.B, M.Med
  37. Mr. M. Waiswa - Principal Laboratory technician, MSc
  38. Mr. A. Ssevviri-Kaddu - Senior Laboratory technician
  39. Mr. Baluku Hanington – Laboratory Technician
  40. Mr. Odongo Paul – Laboratory Technician
  41. Mr. Robert Ebwongu – Laboratory Assistant

How to Apply
Application forms are available at 5th floor Senate building or online from the website for the School of Graduates Studies