Scientists and Health workers have been asked to offer diligent and dedicated services to the country amidst the ravaging pandemics.
Professor Nelson Sewankambo, a former Dean of Makerere University Medical School, noted that the country and the world at large, currently need dedicated health workers to maneuver the pandemics.
Sewankambo made the remarks during the Dr Mathew Lukwiya memorial lecture organized by Makerere University and The Uganda National Association of Community and Occupational Health held at Speke Resort Munyonyo.
Dr Lukwiya was the 14th medical worker and 156th person to die of Ebola since it broke out in 2000.
He passed on in December 2000 and continues to be celebrated as a selfless, dedicated health worker who lost his life in the course of saving lives in Uganda and the entire world.
Delivering his keynote address, Professor Sewankambo said: “Covid 19 pandemic gives further significance to this year’s Dr Lukwiya’s memorial lecture in view of the very many health workers who have lost their lives due to Covid-19 infection.”
He asked Makerere university to continue to sustainably train health professionals who have the courage and fortitude Dr Lukwiya had.
“Now the Makerere University medical school is going back to a spat of growth and we are still growing. We are building from success and if we commit ourselves, we should be able to deliver on the proposition we have put today. We want the college to become the leading globally recognized college in the world, to be a thought leader for social transformation and development,” Sewankambo added.
He said health workers in the 21st century face many challenges where focus needs to be put on research and self-care in the course of their professional practice.
Margate Lukwiya, the wife of the late Dr Lukwiya, thanked the medical fraternity for standing with them for all these years.
“One pillar that we are still standing on as a family is to remain humble because my husband was a humble and welcoming person who treated everyone fairly,” Margate said.
Since 2010, Dr Lukwiya’s memorial lecture has been associated with the joint Annual Scientific Health Conference organized by Makerere University College of Health Sciences.
The Chief Guest, Professor Damalie Nakanjako, the Principal of Makerere University College of Health Sciences, called for more deliberations on the key achievements and impact of the health profession during the past century as well as providing a snapshot of health education in the next 100 years.
She added that focus is needed on mentoring the next generation and Occupational Health and Safety.
Who was Lukwiya?
Matthew Lukwiya was a Ugandan physician and the supervisor of St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor, outside of Gulu.
Dr Lukwiya was born to Matayo Nyero and Jema Nyero of Koch Olwor-nguu, Labongo Division in Kitgum District.
He was born on 24 November 1957 and died on 5 December 2000. He was at the forefront of the 2000 Ebola virus disease outbreak in Uganda until he died from the disease.
He started his preparatory school in 1962 at Ocet-tke in Pajimo. Later he joined Makerere University medical school in 1977 where he qualified as a medical doctor.
He did his internship at St Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu from 1983-1984. He continued as a medical officer at Lacor. In 1984, he went to Italy to study hospital administration for three months and obtained a diploma.
In 1990, he went to Liverpool Institute of Tropical Hygiene where he was awarded a Masters Degree in Paediatrics.
Dr Lukwiya again joined Makerere University in October 1998 where he obtained another Master’s Degree in Public Health in August 2000.
When there was an Ebola outbreak, Dr Lukwiya was the first doctor to make alarm of the contagious disease.
In the course of his dedicated service, Dr Lukwiya developed a fever and flu on Monday evening of 27/11 / 2000 He received treatment for malaria and flu, but two days later the fever intensified.
His condition deteriorated and he passed away at 1:00am on Tuesday 5 December 2000.