The guest of honor, Rtd. Lieutenant Joy Walusimbi the Masaka Resident District Commissioner and other guests visit the IPM funded DREAM (Dapivirine Ring Extended Access and Monitoring) Study stall at the Research Awareness Day.
The MRC/UVRI Uganda Research Unit on AIDS on 9th February 2017 held a Research Awareness Day aimed at creating awareness of the Unit's work, targeting the general public in Masaka, one of the four locations where the Unit has a field Research Station. The event, supported by the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM), sponsors some of the research undertaken by the Unit, provided an opportunity for the Unit scientists to share their work with the general public through exhibitions, edutainment and one-on-one discussions. The Research Awareness Day also provided a platform for the Unit to reach out and give back to the community in which it operates through provision of free screening for Non Communicable Diseases- one of the new research areas for the Unit; voluntary HIV counselling and testing; eye check-ups as well as mobilizing of individuals to participate in a blood donation drive. The blood donation drive raised nearly 100 pints of blood for Masaka Regional Referral Hospital while 239 individuals received voluntary testing and counselling for HIV, 10 of whom tested positive and were referred for care and support. More than 200 individuals were screened for diabetes and high blood pressure.
The event was presided over by the Masaka Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Rtd. Lieutenant Joy Walusimbi who commended the Unit for their contribution towards improving the quality of life of ordinary people through medical research.
Dr. Stuart Musisi, the Masaka District Medical Officer for while speaking at the same event applauded individuals who have participated in the Unit’s research since its inception and called on them not to tire, citing round breaking research conducted in the past that was spanned over long periods of time. “Vaccines for ailments such as Measles and Polio were discovered after more than 50 years of research. We commend and should continue supporting MRC/UVRI who in only 27 years of HIV/AIDS research have tremendously contributed to HIV/AIDS care, practice and policy formulation in Uganda”.
Speaking at the event, Ms. Suzanne Rupp the Unit Chief Operations Officer commended the stakeholders, especially the community members for supporting the Unit’s work, noting that it improved the quality of work. “Working in partnership with the local communities has been and continues to be a crucial part of the Unit’s efforts to ensure meaningful and effective stakeholder engagement. We believe that community participation adds significant value to our research program, providing a wealth of information about the different study environments”.
The event was attended by stakeholders from the District Local government, partner organizations, study participants and members of the general public.