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Makerere nurse scoops research ethics award

Minister David Bahati (L) presents the award to Maria Namusisi

A senior nurse trainer, Maria Namusisi, has won this year’s national bioethics award.

Namusisi, who is attached to the Makerere University-Johns Hopkins University Research Collaboration (MU-JHU) on HIV/Aids, picked the annual prestigious accolade in recognition for her efforts in training research assistants and staff on handling volunteers participating in their studies.

For the last nine years, Namusisi, who attained special training in human subject protection and good clinical services from the US in 2002, has mentored and trained researchers at Mulago, Mubende and Nakasongola hospitals.

In her day-to-day work, Namusisi helped researchers in handling HIV-infected pregnant women and children in the early PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) trials. This has shaped the formulation of current PMTCT government policies.

“I dedicate this [award] to people who volunteered to be part of research at national and international levels. Volunteers are usually vulnerable and I can only say thank you to God for the recognition of my input,” Namusisi said, as she accepted the glass plaque.

The bioethics award was one of the highlights of the two-day annual national research ethics conference held at Kampala Serena hotel, last week. The conference organised by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST) for the seventh year running, attracted scientists, researchers and policymakers to review ethical standards and vulnerability of participants in research studies.

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, who was represented by the minister of state for Planning, David Bahati, noted that research volunteers had tremendously helped Uganda fight diseases.

Dr Rugunda appealed to scientists to ensure that health studies are conducted within research ethics not only to benefit people selected for participation but also leave them in better life.

mugalu@observer.ug

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