President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has stressed the need for openness in the protracted campaign against HIV/AIDS.
The President made the remarks in his speech which was delivered on his behalf by the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda during the JCRC silver Jubilee celebrations on Friday at JCRC headquarters in Lubowa.
Mr Museveni commended JCRC for being self-reliant as evidenced by the use of its self-generated funds to construct, develop and improve infrastructure at the centre.
The President compared Joint Clinical Research Center (JCRC) to a self- propelled gun, which for effective action does not depend on another vehicle to pull or push it in order for it to move forward.
He said the centre was established to provide a scientific answer to the problem of AIDS whose prevalence rates had increased making people resort to a variety of ineffective and untested remedies to cure the disease including others traveling abroad at great expenses to seek help.
PM Rugunda is joined by the Health Minister,Dr. Jane Aceng(in Orange dress) and other associates of JCRC in cutting the JCRC silver jubilee cake on Friday at Lubowa (Photo by PMPU)
Museveni added that the mandate of the centre was to mobilize locally available expertise from Ministry of Health, Makerere University Medical School and Ministry of Defense to expeditiously start research and treatment programs in Uganda.
Mr Museveni applauded JCRC for the great and enormous achievements and progress from the time it was established up to date.
He said the centre has worked tirelessly to improve and develop itself as evidenced by the construction of a number of facilities including the new out-patient clinics, high level bio-safety containment P3 laboratory, new freezer and depository facility housing -80 degree freezers among others.
“As JCRC moves on to the next quarter of a century, I expect further consolidation of the achievements and continued progress. Lessons learned over the last 25 years should be the backbone for the future. Continued progress calls for adherence to professionalism, commitment to excellence and a spirit of nationalism as Uganda moves towards to a middle income status,” the President remarked.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Aceng congratulated JCRC upon celebrating 25 years and thanked the centre for working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
She said JCRC is well known for its improved quality of training, adding that the Ministry of Health was proud of it and thus continues to pledge to work, unite and support JCRC in all possible ways.
“JCRC work cannot be taken for granted, because even at the Ministry level, research from this centre is taken as policy in the Ministry of Health and we base on it to make informed decisions since we know it is reliable,” Dr Aceng said.
The Executive Director of JCRC, Prof. Peter Mugyenyi, in his remarks said JCRC was the first in Africa to introduce ART as well as train its staff to use it when it was discovered in 1995.
He further added that in 2003, JCRC got the first PEPFAR grant under a project code named TREAT and thus became the pioneer in the scaling up of ART in Africa, based on a Network Model which JCRC innovated, before it was adopted by other countries.
He also said JCRC has undertaken over 100 research projects covering diverse specialities including clinical trials, studies on opportunistic infections and HIV resistance, as well as basic science studies among others.
Prof Mugyenyi called upon the government for support as JCRC intensifies its efforts through novel and innovative initiatives to address new and emerging diseases in its next phase of work.
“Our Vision for the future is to diversify beyond HIV/ AIDS. We have to build capacity in other branches of medicine, address emerging diseases that continue to crop up every time and to adopt advanced and emerging technology to propel us forward,” the Executive Director said.
JCRC has currently grown wide to establish a number of branches with advanced laboratories countrywide. The branches include Gulu, Fort Portal, Kabale, Mubende, Kakira, Mbarara and Mbale.
During the celebrations awards were presented to a cross section of personalities who have offered dedicated service towards the fight against HIV/AIDS. The recipients included President Museveni, the Prime Minister Dr. Rugunda, Minister for Health Dr. Jane Aceng, and the Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr. Diana Atwine among others.
Monday, 14 November 2016
BY DOREEN NASASIRA