The Rotary Club of Kampala Ssese has honoured Prof Pontiano Kaleebu, the executive director of the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), with the vocational service award of excellence for his splendid performance in fighting Covid-19.
He received the award jointly with Emma Lugujjo, a retired senior educator, at a ceremony held at Kati-Kati restaurant in Kampala. Helen Kaweesa, a member of the club’s vocational services team, said Kaleebu was recognized for taking the lead in educating Ugandans about the Covid-19 pandemic.
“He was always on television, reminding us that the storm would pass, and it indeed did.”
He simplified science for the ordinary person and proved command of the topic at hand. This is partly due to his background in research on viruses in Africa and beyond,” she said.
“While working with the media, Kaleebu performed his work both expertly and excellently. He brought information about Covid-19 to our doorstep. He defended his profession and is deserving of the recognition.”
Meanwhile, Lugujjo was also recognized for her distinguished service in secondary education over the years.
“During her time in active service, she was committed to her job despite her humble salary. She raised the bar and the image of the teacher in society so high. She is among the teachers that started with Greenhill Academy. She is a life member of the YMCA. She is also responsible for flower plants around Africa hall at Makerere University. Even after she retired, Lugujjo remained a cornerstone of the profession. Although she is retired, she transfers her knowledge of floriculture to the young people,” the citation for recognition read in part.
On his part, Prof Kaleebu said he is happy to be found worthy of receiving this award.
“Most of you didn’t know me until the outbreak of the pandemic, yet I have been there doing research. This [Covid-19] period was the toughest for most of us because we worked 24 hours a day, day in and day out. The reason that we did very well in defeating Covid-19 is that we had prepared ourselves as UVRI. We have been conducting pieces of training, working and installing much more infrastructure. Although I have been recognized as an individual, this award is for all the individuals that I work with,” he said.
On the other hand, Lugujjo dedicated the award to her husband for supporting her through her profession since 1975. We have not had any conflict throughout this time.
Every Rotary year, Rotary and Rotaract clubs across the world recognize outstanding members of society who have made outstanding decisions in their respective professions.
To qualify for the vocational service award of excellence, an individual should have gone far and beyond in providing a service, reached out to the less privileged, been of good character, and expected no financial reward for the service that they offered.