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School of Public Health

Makerere University


Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) is one of the leading Public Health education and research institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. MakSPH is a semi-autonomous School within the College of Health Sciences at Makerere University, and it has five departments: a) Health Policy, Planning and Management; b) Epidemiology and Biostatistics; c) Disease Control and Environmental Health; d) Community Health and Behavioural Sciences; and e) Regional Centre for Quality of Health Care (RCQoHC), with a regional mandate to support improvement in quality of health care.


The mission of MakSPH is to promote the attainment of better health for the people of Uganda and beyond through Public Health Training, Research and Community service, with the guiding principles of Quality, Relevance, Responsiveness, Equity and Social Justice. In addition to its primary mandate of capacity building and research, it collaborates with the Ugandan Ministry of Health and with district, municipal and city local governments, international agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in supporting the planning, implementation and evaluation of health programs.


Phyllis is a Ugandan Public Health Physician with over 10 years of experience conducting health systems and operational research. She works at Makerere University School of Public Health as a Senior Researcher focusing on: improving both the public and private health sector in low income settings; quality of care for children in rural communities; maternal and child health policy analysis; and social innovation in health.

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Phyllis led an innovative introduction of the WHO/UNICEF supported integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) of malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea strategy within drug shops in Uganda from 2010 – 2015, which earned her an award for professional performance in sustainable development and public health; and her research group recognition for social innovation in health care delivery. She regularly works as an external health system and child health expert advisor for various international agencies.  Dr. Phyllis is the Makerere University Principal Investigator for Social innovation in Health Research Collaboration.

Freddie has over 15 years of experience working in medical/health research and policy and is an associate professor of health policy and systems management at Makerere University School of Public Health. He has extensive experience in policy related research and policy engagements in areas including: health service provision, health sector governance and financing, health system performance and health policies and innovations that straddle these aspects in Uganda and similar developing countries.

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His research portfolio includes organizational reforms; decentralization of health services; autonomy and efficiency of hospitals; and the impact of performance-based contracting on the health workforce and health system. Freddie has led a multi-disciplinary team to conduct a Health Systems Assessment covering the main building blocks of the health system including medicines and logistics systems for medical products in Uganda. He has provided technical services to WHO, DFID, USAID, World Bank, Ministry of Health, Uganda AIDS Commission and multi-lateral and bilateral agencies and foundations. He serves on the Sector Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Working Group of the Ministry of Health in Uganda and on the governing board of Health Systems Global – a professional association of practitioners of health systems and policy research.

Maxencia is a final year student pursuing a Bachelors degree in Environmental Health Sciences (BEHS) at Makerere University School of Public Health in Uganda. She is serving as an intern with the Ugandan SIHI team, supporting their work to promote community-based social innovations in maternal and child health in Uganda.

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As a Public Health student and a young scientist, Maxencia is one of the founding members of a student led initiative, Integrated Community Health Initiative Organization (ICHIO) which aims at combating preventable diseases in Uganda through community empowerment. During the BEHS internship program with Uganda Village Project, Maxencia worked in a rural community leading a team of six in diagnosing community health problems and implementing interventions which aimed at improving the health status of the community. For her final year undergraduate project, she is doing research on usage of Insecticidal Treated Nets among primary school pupils, under the supervision of Dr. Phyllis Awor. The information from this study aims to inform policy makers and implementers for improving malaria prevention strategy in line with covering up existing implementation gaps.


MakSPH has expertise in developing and implementing research in social innovation as well as establishing relationships with local health system stakeholders. Across Makerere University, other special units such as the Resilient Africa Network have also been engaging in the social innovation in key areas. The Ugandan Ministry of Health has been a strong support to the social innovation work undertaken at Makerere University. It is the goal of MakSPH to formalise and build upon these activities such that a more enabling environment can be created in support of Ugandans interested in social innovation research.

Makerere University has two main SIHI-related objectives for the year:

1. To establish a country hub for Social Innovation in Health in Uganda

The country hub will:

  • Identify social innovation in health in Uganda and engage the Ugandan social innovation community to build broader consensus
  • Act as a platform to share and disseminate social innovation examples, research, literature and learning
  • Identify country priorities for social innovation and develop a feasible research agenda


Expected outputs of the hub include:

  • A national grassroots social innovation in health repository
  • A national research agenda for social innovation in health
  • A social innovation in health online library
2. To enhance institutional research capacity for social innovation in health
  • Seed grants for research in social innovation in health will be provided to students and faculty.

Seed-funding is a well-recognized push mechanism to stimulate further evidence generation and academics and students will be eligible to apply with research proposals. An expert panel comprised of MakSPH senior academics and decision-makers in the MOH will review the proposals. Small seed-grants to the value of $2000 – $5000 will be awarded to support a well-defined research project that could be executed within a 1-year period or as part of Masters level research. The results and report of the project will be submitted to MakSPH in 2018 and will be disseminated to the members of the Country-Hub. Selected projects may receive support to produce manuscripts to be submitted to peer-review journals.


  • Creation of an online library for literature and content on social innovation in health.

Currently, literature in this field is found in a variety of health and non-health related journals. Information of projects, programmes and organisations in the field are neither streamlined nor easily accessible. To facilitate access for faculty and students at MakSPH to this content, a one-stop solution will be created – an institutional online library for social innovation. Relevant literature and resources in the field will be identified and reviewed and an online systematized repository created. Once the online library is active and functional, it will be shared with other SIHI members to support their efforts to expose faculty and students to social innovation.