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The Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP) is a non-profit partnership between Makerere University and MHRP. MHRP has been conducting HIV research in Uganda since 1998 and expanded its portfolio to include prevention, care and treatment activities in 2005 under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). More recently, MUWRP expanded its portfolio to research into other communicable diseases of public health importance in Uganda.
By building infrastructure and increasing the capacity of local public and private partners, MUWRP ensures quality services for communities participating in vaccine research and HIV cohort studies.
Scientists and partners are part of a robust research program focused on cohort development, surveillance, and vaccine studies.
HIV vaccine studies and cohort development
This site was recently selected by the Vaccine Research Center at NIH to conduct a clinical trial on candidate vaccines for Ebola/Marburg. This study, called RV247, is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of two recombinant DNA vaccines: one against Ebola virus and one against Marburg virus infections. A second part of the study will evaluate simultaneous administration of the Ebola and Marburg vaccines, which are evaluated independently in part one.
MUWRP expanded its portfolio to include active surveillance of influenza and influenza-like viruses in humans, animals, and migratory birds in Uganda. The program developed an infrastructure and built capacity in clinical and immunological laboratory testing, data management, conducting clinical trials, and other related activities.
MUWRP is committed to actively engaging communities in the different stages of the research process, from trial protocol development/design through implementation to dissemination of research findings.
Through its community outreach component, MUWRP has engaged communities in Kampala and Kayunga districts by interfacing with the media, dialoguing with policymakers, sensitizing communities and their leaders to public health issues, orienting health professionals and most importantly, working with Community Advisory Boards.
The main MUWRP facility, on Nakasero Road in Kampala, houses administration, data management, communications, and clinical activities, A state-of-the-art laboratory is located at the Mulago Hospital, which is accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP). The hospital's clinical capabilities include testing for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and pregnancy; urinalysis, hematology, malaria microscopy, and chemistry services; and CD4 determination using flow cytometry. Research capabilities include PBMC cryopreservation and HIV subtyping as well as numerous assays to assess individual immune system response to HIV.
Two Biosafety Level 2 Laboratories have been renovated, one to process animal samples at the Makerere University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and the other to process human samples at the Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe for the Avian Influenza Surveillance program.
MUWRP's field activities in Kayunga District are located at the Ntenjuru Health Centre III.
MUWRP website and newsletter
MUWRP supports seven HIV/ART clinic sites spanned across two districts, including sites specifically geared towards youth and fishing communities. In addition to increasing the availability of services, MUWRP renovated the HIV clinics at the Kayunga District Hospital, the Bbaale Health Center IV, and the Galirya Health Center III to improve:
Care is continued through MUWRPs support of two civil society organizations that promote positive living for HIV patients. Treatment clubs at each of the HIV clinics support nutrition education and income-generating farms. The food these farms produce serves the community in a variety of ways. The pigs and/or chickens given to patients feed the family and help generate income, increasing their ability to support their family financially. Collectively, the clubs have 29 acres of productive farmland and are largely self-reliant.
MUWRP-trained Kayunga District health care providers offer routine testing and counseling to all hospital clients. This strengthens the linkage of HIV-positive cases to the clinics. MUWRP's house-to-house HIV testing in Kayunga has reached more than 45,000 residents to date.
Experts in the field have begun promoting voluntary medical male circumcision to prevent HIV infection. In 2009, MUWRP partnered with Kayunga health authorities to implement the first low-cost, non-research circumcision service program in Uganda, providing service to hundreds of men (13-60 years old) to date.
Kayunga is a rural district located in the mid-central part of Uganda, with an estimated population of 320,000 (Uganda population census 2002). The overall estimated prevalence of HIV infection in the district is 9.9%.
Recognizing the central importance of preserving families, MUWRP focuses on strengthening the capacity of families to protect and care for OVCs by improving identification, care and treatment services. MUWRP supports community-based outreach, clinical care and training for Kayunga District’s OVCs, their families, and the community.
The Kayunga District Youth Recreational Center provides youth with daily counseling, clinic services, and recreational activities. The vibrant community-based activities include district-wide youth outreach and providing mobile counseling and testing services at venues such as schools that reach OVCs and untested youths. (The center is a joint effort between MUWRP and the Kayunga District Health Authorities.)
Jackson Otim Oyugi is a soft spoken and multi-talented gentleman. He is also is a first cousin to Dr. Mathew Lukwiya, the first medical officer to die in the line of duty during Uganda’s first Ebola outbreak in Gulu district in 2000. Jackson is participating in the first phase I Ebola/Marburg vaccine clinical trial on the African continent.
Nearly 400 men undergo the procedure along with HIV counseling and testing.
Voices from the Field: Monica Millard, MUWRP Program Director
Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP) officially launched a Safe Male Circumcision Program at the Mukono Health Center IV after completing renovations of the minor surgical theatre.
The Makerere University Walter Reed Project (MUWRP) partnered with the Mukono health authorities in Uganda to implement its first circumcision program, which will provide free services.
The documentary, an independent project by filmmaker Scott Hatfield, profiles the development of the East African HIV awareness/prevention song, “A Little Bit of Love", ”from its conception to its widespread acceptance and critical acclaim. The MUWRP team took a lead role in initiating the music project, and is included throughout the documentary.
Known locally as the Makerere University Walter-Reed Project (MUWRP), our program is part of a global effort to advance HIV research, prevention, care and treatment efforts in Uganda.