The years of hard work, self-sacrifice and selflessness paid off for Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director of the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) was awarded the honorary Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize in Japan yesterday, 30th August 2019 by the Japan Government.
The award that was presented by Shinzo Abe the Prime Minister of Japan honors individuals with outstanding achievements in the field of medical research and medical services to combat infectious and other diseases in Africa and comes with a prize of 1m cash price.
In his acceptance speech presented in Japan Prof. Omaswa said it is a great honor and pleasure for him to receive the 3rdHideyo Noguchi Africa Prize for Services rendered in Health. “When I received a phone call forming me of the decision on laureates of the Prize from the Government of Japan, I was shocked. I immediately asked my driver to take me to the nearest church to thank the Lord God for the news of the award. By God’s design, I found my wife also in the same church.”
“Sitting and conversing with you this evening at the banquet table is a singular privilege for me and my daughter Gloria as well as my other family members who are here in this room. I want thank Your Excellency Mr. Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minster of Japan and the entire government for this award. My heartfelt gratitude also goes to Dr. Kiyoshi KUROKAWA, Chairperson of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize Committee.” Prof. Omaswa said.
He also expressed his gratitude to the President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who was represented at the ceremony by the Minister of Health Hon. Dr Jane Ruth Aceng whose decision to appoint him and support during his work in the position of Director General of Health Services in the government of Uganda provided the platform for him to undertake the national and international work that has been recognized by this award.
Dr. Hideyo Noguchi demonstrated in his life a spirit of global solidarity and humanity in risking his life by leaving the comforts of Japan and America to go to Africa to seek solutions to the menace of viral hemorrhagic fevers such as yellow fever that took his life. This is the spirit which today’s world needs more than ever.
Prof. Omaswa likened Dr. Hideyo Noguchi to his daughter Dr. Freda M Omaswa who passed away three years ago who spent time, from her base at the National Institutes of Health in the USA, testing vaccines for malaria in Bamako, Mali, West Africa for several years. In pursuit of this Hideyo Noguchi common good spirit and to advance his mission, a portion of the Prize award funds will be committed to a public cause in memory of Dr. Freda M Omaswa.
The African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) supported the Parliamentary Health Committee to review the 2017/18 Annual Performance Report of the Health Services Commission in a half day dialogue held on the 1st of August 2019 at Imperial Royale Hotel Kampala.
The review of the report was led by Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director of ACHEST where issues on; matching the health workforce to the population needs, forming a structured coordination committee by parliament, filling the Director Generals position at Ministry of Health, reviewing the staffing norms, increasing the health budget and the per capita expenditure and expediting the National Health Insurance, among others were discussed.
Prof. Omaswa explained to the Members of parliament the hurdles by some districts in trying to attract potential candidates for District Health Officer (DHO) positions while others have to bribe local authorities to get to such jobs. He advised that in order to streamline the services delivered in the districts, the Health Services Commission should take charge of the recruitment of the DHOs.
The meeting participants suggested that the recruitment of the DHOs and their deputies be re-centralized to the central recruitment system to guard against such issues.
During the discussions, the Director of Policy at ACHEST, Dr. Patrick Kadama cautioned that as we push for the re-centralization of the recruitment of DHOs, care should be exercised in keeping in mind the functions to be performed by the officers stressing that the population has grown as the staffing norms have not changed.
“We need 40,000 doctors for the population of Uganda, but we only have 6,000, even though we cannot employ all of them. This shows that we are very far from what we require.” Dr. Kadama said.
Some of the recommendations made included: Update the staffing norms to match with the population growth; Government of Uganda should reduce leakages, tax evasion, unfair tax exemptions and capital flight; expand the tax base and use Development Assistance for Health more effectively and return to Swaps and Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness.
The chairperson of DHOs Dr. Ivan Kamya echoed that DHOs have recently recommended that their positions be re-centralized with better resource allocation.
The Vice Chairperson of the committee, Spellanza Baguma says MPs are yet studying the idea of re-centralization of the DHO recruitments. ACHEST was tasked to provide technical input to the report before it is tabled at parliament.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Parliamentary Committee on health, civil society organizations working on Health and health journalists.
“We should strive to have a health system where the population does not face financial catastrophe. This is not possible without supported health workforce and strong health governance, a driver to UHC which is a political choice.” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the WHO Director-General said in a video recorded speech played at the Opening Ceremony of the Special Consultation Meeting on Governance for Health in Africa.
The three day (16th-17th July 2019) Consultation Meeting was organized by the African Platform on Human Resources for Health (APHRH) hosted at the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) at the Commonwealth Conference Center, Munyonyo, Kampala.
The meeting brought together 70 delegates from Sixteen countries within and outside Africa that included health leaders, academia, policy makers, representatives of governments, United Nation Agencies, researchers, CSOs, journalists among others to discuss challenges of poverty, disease and ignorance faced by Africa and chat a way forward on getting rid of these challenges so that no one is left behind.
The African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHESTs) Dr. Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde, Director Health Workforce Education and Development and Dr. David Okello, Director NCDs and Healthy Aging attended the East Central and South African - Heath Community (ECSA-HC) 12th Best Practices Forum held at Mount Meru Hotel, Arusha, Tanzania from 19 - 21 June 2019.
The Forum with the theme “Innovation and Accountability in Health towards achieving Universal Health Coverage” brought together Senior Officials from Ministries of Health, Health Experts, Health Researchers, Heads of Health Training Institutions from Member States of the ECSA Health Community (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Eswatini, Zambia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mauritius) with the aim of identifying policy issues and making recommendations to accelerate and scale up best practices in the ECSA Region.
The subthemes that were discussed included, efforts to improve adolescent and young people’s health, opportunities for achieving water and sanitation health global target, equity and access to eye healthcare in the ECSA region, use of innovative approaches towards achieving food safety and improving quality of life, prioritizing substance use and mental health challenges in the ECSA region and tackling emerging and re-emerging health threats. Regional One Health approach to managing recurrent outbreaks in the region was discussed, coupled with bridging the gap between reality and aspiration in building health systems.
The African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) was represented at the conference on “SDGs Implementation in Africa – Reflection on a Three-Year Journey” by Dr. Patrick Kadama, the Director of Health Policy and Strategy at ACHEST who is also a Think Tank on SDGs in Kigali-Rwanda from 12-14 June 2019.
The conference had in attendance African leaders, policy makers, representatives of the UN system, civil society, the private sector, bilateral institutions, researchers and academicians, innovators and experts to debate the progress made towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa. The conference also saw the launch of both the Africa 2030: Sustainable Development Goals Three-Year Reality Check report and the 2019 Africa Index and Dashboard report.
The SDGs, which were adopted by the 193 countries in the United Nations in 2015, are a global guiding agenda for sustainable development to be achieved by 2030. At their adoption, Africa’s starting point was lower than that of all other regions and emerging evidence over the last three years of tracking SDGs implementation indicates that complex challenges still prevail for the continent.
The pace of development progress in Africa over recent years is assessed as insufficient for the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Accelerating SDGs implementation, successful matching of development goals to finance the role of different stakeholders, leadership, participation and ownership of the agenda by governments and the need for strong monitoring and evaluation mechanism are some of the challenges addressed during the conference. Achieving the SDGs and accelerating their implementation needs universal participation and collective action.
The Think Tanks at the meeting resolved to convene an inclusive policy dialogue with a broader set of stakeholders on a strategy to setup an Africa funding for financing the components of supplying water to households, health and education an idea birthed at the conference to fast track the SDG implementation in Africa.
Six heads of State attended the conference and pledged to present the recommendations at the African Union Summit.
Mr. Genichi TERSAWA, Director Office of Hideyo Noguchi Prize Counselor of Cabinet Office visited the African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation ACHEST after the Government of Japan awarded Prof. Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director and Founder of ACHEST the Third Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize in the Medical Services category.
Mr. Genichi came to brief Prof. Francis Omaswa regarding the award and to learn more and appreciate the work of ACHEST.
He also briefed ACHEST about the current Japanese strategies for collaboration with Africa.
Afya Bora Consortium invited AFREhealth to speak at the Mid-Fellowship Meeting for the Afya Bora Consortium Fellowship in Global Health Leadership which is supported by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and PEPFAR. The meeting was held in Nairobi, Kenya at the Fairview Hotel on May 31st and June 1st, 2019.
Dr. Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde, Director at the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) who doubles as the Secretary AFREhealth represented AFREhealth at Mid-Fellowship Meeting and presented on AFREhealth activities and the vision for Africa.
The Afya Bora Consortium aims to contribute to health systems strengthening in African partner countries by implementing a leadership training program targeting African and US health professionals. The Afya Bora (“better health” in Swahili) fellowship model focuses on training leaders for HIV/AIDS prevention, care and research programs.
The consortium is in its seventh year and has graduated 164 fellows, 68 nurses, 87 doctors, and 9 public health professionals.
The meeting brought together 25 Fellows, Consortium Working Group members, key stakeholders, other representatives from participating African and US institutions to discuss current goals of the training and the desired outcomes of participation in the fellowship.
Enthusiastic young African health professionals; nurses, medical doctors, epidemiologists among others from 5 African countries that included: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Cameroon attended the meeting.
The fellows presented their work which was very inspiring to listen through whose aims resonated very well to those of AFREhealth and they were encouraged to register and become members of AFREhealth as well as attend the upcoming AFREhealth symposium which their leadership has attended severally and made presentations at.
The Afya Bora Consortium is grappling with the issue of sustainability beyond their funding mandate. They were happy to hear about how MEPI/NEP has transitioned into AFREhealth where Dr. Kiguli-Malwadde shared with them best practices of sustainability and encouraged them to see how they could team up with AFREhealth and sustain some of their activities through AFREhealth programs.
Japan’s Ambassador to Uganda (H.E. Kazuaki Kameda)pays a courtesy call to African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) and the Executive Director ACHEST (Prof. Francis Omaswa) handing him copies of Reports ACHEST has done.
Eleven (11) physician and nursing experts in health professions education and HIV care convened in Johannesburg May 16th and 17th, 2019 to kickoff planning the STRIPE-HIV Fundamentals Course, a two-day training course on inter-professional, high-quality HIV care intended for graduating Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and Nurses Education Partnership Initiative (NEPI) students prior to entering clinical care.
This expert panel was chaired by Prof. Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde and included faculty from six academic institutions and several global health organizations, with The African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) representation from President, Marietjie de Villiers and Vice-President Abigail Kazembe.
In addition to discussing and planning for the implementation of the upcoming STRIPE project, the expert panel spent time discussing the core principles, topics, goals, objectives, and educational strategies that are integral to delivering inter-professional, high quality HIV care across their institutions.
This work will build on the bigger goal of the STRIPE project, namely to maximize the impact of HRSA’s investment in, and PEPFAR’s continued commitment to, building health workforce capacity across Africa to achieve HIV epidemic control. As such STRIPE’s focus will be strengthening interprofessional HIV training provided by MEPI and NEPI institutions and their partner facilities to ensure that the next generation of health care professionals is equipped to deliver the highest quality, collaborative, evidence-informed HIV care.
The Government of Japan has decided to award the Third Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize to Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum (Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)) and Dr. Francis Gervase Omaswa (Republic of Uganda).
Medical Services Category
Francis Gervase Omaswa(Republic of Uganda)
Francis Gervase OmaswaBorn in the Republic of Uganda in 1943. Obtained MBChB at University of East Africa, Makerere Medical School, and Master of Medicine in Surgery at Makerere University. Current Executive Director of African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST).
The Third Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize for Medical Services goes to Dr. Francis Gervase Omaswa for his dedication to addressing the global health workforce (HWF) crisis including education, training, retention and migration of healthcare workers and for building pro-people health and medical systems not only across Africa, but worldwide.
25th April 2019
Dr. Francis Gervase Omaswa, the Founder and Executive Director of the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) has been awarded in an announcement in Tokyo today, 25th April 2019 the Third Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize by The Government of Japan.
The Prize aims to honor individuals or organizations with outstanding achievements in the fields of medical research and medical services to combat infectious and other diseases in Africa, thus contributing to the health and welfare of the African people and of all humankind (Cabinet Decision of July 28, 2006).
According to the citation from the Japanese Government:
“Dr. Francis Gervase Omaswa gave up practicing heart surgery in London to return to Africa starting with the Republic of Kenya and then the Republic of Uganda, building clinical and surgical capacities in his home continent and country. Over the three decades since, Dr. Omaswa has become a world leader in development of international systems for the support, training and efficient utilization of health workforces particularly on the African continent. He led the drafting and convening the First Global Forum on HWF and inspiring the adoption of the Kampala Declaration and Agenda for Global Action that now guides the global response. Dr. Omaswa has brought wisdom to the global stage, serving on the boards of Global Stop TB Partnership, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Independent Review Committee of GAVI – the Vaccine Alliance and as founder and Executive Director of the Global Health Workforce Alliance. Today he leads multiple efforts aimed at creating health systems and workforces that can propel Africa towards realization of the “Health for All.” aspirations of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dr. Omaswa’s contribution to these health services accomplishments is primarily through his extraordinary ability as a teacher, mentor, colleague and friend who nurtures leadership potential everywhere he goes.”
Francis Omaswa responding to the news said:
Prof Omaswa Francis and Dr. Kiguli-Malwadde Elsie attended the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH) 10th Annual Global Health Conference from 7-10 March 2019 at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago, USA. The theme of the conference was” Translation & Implementation for Impact in Global Health.”
The conference was attended by 1700 participants among which included; university students, university faculty members and Global Health experts from 50 nations. The conference had 18 satellite sessions, plenary sessions, debates, oral presentations, poster and panel sessions on varying topics.
Patty Garcia, former Minister of Health from Peru gave a passionate key note address on Corruption and Global Health, confronting the world’s history on corruption and its impact on health highlighting examples from Peru. She also mentioned that it could be the defining moment between life and death and that corruption is an elephant which is an underlying factor to poor health outcomes that is not talked about.
An intriguing debate was held on “The fields of Global Health prioritizing existing threats, including climate change and environmental degradation, over more proximate health concerns.’’ Presenters noted the fact that whereas these are important aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals, one needs to look at each with its own dangers and each of them believed that if their motion was not looked at critically, it could wipe out humanity.
With over 1,500 delegates and 60 partners from 47 countries, Africa Health Agenda International Conference (AHAIC) was a conference for Africans in Africa. The African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) participated in the AHAIC 2019 Conference in Kigali, Rwanda organized by Amref Health Africa and Rwandas’ Ministry of Health from 5-7 March 2019.
Professor Philip Cotton, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Rwanda got the conference off to a great start on the first day of the AHAIC with a provocative pre-plenary special lecture on morality and health. He literally climbed over chairs in the plenary hall to demonstrate that "nothing must stand in our way to get to the people we want to reach."
In the first Plenary, experts discussed the next frontiers in primary health care as a key pathway to achieving universal health coverage. "It's time to go to scale on primary health care," noted Dr Jean Kagubare from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Rwanda, where more than 90% of people are insured, has already shown that this is possible.
At the Opening Ceremony, Africa Health 2019 co-chairs Hon Dr Diane Gashumba, Minister of Health of Rwanda, and Dr Githinji Gitahi, Global CEO of Amref Health Africa, welcomed conference attendees.
"Access to health care should not be a lottery of where you are born and how wealthy your family is," noted Dr Gitahi in a compelling opening speech. The highlight of the Opening Ceremony was no doubt the cross-generational discussion led by Marie Claire Wangari, the representative from the Youth Pre-conference, who asked her elders to sit on the stage steps for an informal discussion among equals.