Paul Katongole, a MUII-Plus Ph.D fellow was one of 13 Fellows who won the competitive DELTAS Africa Community Public Engagement seed funding that had over 90 applicants. As part of the $ 25,000 grant spread over 6 months, he carried out a project titled, ‘A public engagement initiative involving training of infection prevention and hand hygiene practices among primary school students in Kampala District, Uganda’ – Power over Bugs Project. This project officially started on 1st September 2019. AESA.
Commenting on the award, Paul said, “This is a great opportunity for me to engage with the community members and enable the people around me benefit from the kind of research that I do; in this case Antimicrobial resistance.”
The “Power over Bugs” project will engage primary school students in the basics of microbiology with a focus on how infections are caused, transmitted and prevented. Special attention will be put on basic infection prevention, control practices and hand-hygiene.
The project promoted interest in the subject of Medicine and Microbiology, increased knowledge, awareness and fostered change in behavior towards improved hand hygiene practices and infection prevention behavior. It aimed at targeting over 1000 children aged 10-14 years in 5 primary schools (Class 5 and 6) in Kampala, Uganda. Activities were carried out using interactive and practical hands-on scientific workshops by experts in the microbiology and public engagement. Data obtained will be disseminated to different stakeholders through seminars and scientific conferences both locally and internationally.
The DELTAS Africa CPE seed fund aimed at enabling DELTAS Africa doctoral and postdoctoral trainees to implement their engagement plans, build engagement capacity of consortia staff and trainees, and pilot programmes of activity to promote societal impact of DELTAS Africa research and move towards people-centred approaches. The fund was set up with the support of Wellcome and the UK Department for International Development (DFID)
Paul Katongole is an Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Medical Microbiology, Makerere University College of Health Sciences and holds a Bachelor’s of Medicine and Bachelors of Surgery plus a Masters of Medicine in Microbiology from Makerere University. His overall research interest is improving patients’ outcomes through antimicrobial resistance surveillance, improving infection prevention and control practices plus establishing functional antimicrobial stewardship programs in hospitals in Uganda. His work has revolved around understanding the mechanisms that underpin increased virulence of Uro-pathogens (Organisms that cause urinary tract infections). He has looked at mechanisms such as biofilm formation, genes encoding adhesins, phylogenetic grouping, expression of Multi-drug resistance phenotypes among patients with UTIs at Mulago National Referral hospital. He also supports the National Referral Hospital in setting up infection prevention and control committees and antimicrobial stewardship programs.