University of Makeni is now a member of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI).

UNIMAK joins over 1000 colleges and universities in some 120 countries who are working with the United Nations to promote global priorities, including peace, human rights and sustainable development. As a member of United Nations Academic Impact  UNIMAK is committed to the following ten principles:UNAI logo

  • commitment to the United Nations Charter;
  • human rights, among them freedom of inquiry, opinion, and speech;
  • educational opportunity for all people regardless of gender, race, religion or ethnicity;
  • the opportunity for every interested individual to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for the pursuit of higher education;
  • building capacity in higher education systems across the world;
  • encouraging global citizenship through education;
  • advancing peace and conflict resolution through education;
  • addressing issues of poverty through education;
  • promoting sustainability through education;
  • promoting inter-cultural dialogue and understanding, and the “unlearning” of intolerance, through education.

As a member, UNIMAK is required to carry out at least one activity in support of the UNAI and its ten principles during a calendar year.UNAI

 

Utilisation of genetic sequencing during the tail end of the Ebola Epidemic

An international team of researchers has produced a detailed picture of the latter stages of the outbreak in Sierra Leone, using real-time sequencing of Ebola virus genomes in an in-country  facility which provided  sequencing capability to process samples from patients in Makeni and surrounding areas in real time, without the need for sample shipment out of the country.

The sequencing facility set up by the team has now been moved to the University of Makeni, where it forms the focal point of the new UNIMAK Infectious Disease Research Laboratory. The facility is providing world-class training to local students and scientists, which has proven crucial to sequencing the recent new cases of Ebola when no international staff were present.

Follow this link to read the full story in a press release

UNIMAK Institute of Inclusive Special Needs Education certifies 31

By Correspondent Emmanuel A. B. Turay:

DSC_0099The Institute of Inclusive Special Needs Education (ISNE) at UNIMAK has awarded certificates to thirty one (31) teachers of the visually impaired at a ceremony held at the University’s Great Auditorium at Fatima Campus in Makeni city.

In her opening remarks, the Chairperson who also doubles as the Deputy Director of ISNE, Mrs. Umu Turay noted that this is the first certification ceremony for teachers working with children with special needs in education in Sierra Leone. She highlighted several challenges encountered by the teachers in their ambition as they embark on their chosen career including failure of remuneration of salaries for the certificate gained in special education and their intensive hard work and greater dedication in teaching the most vulnerable children in Sierra Leone.

DSC_0115Madam Turay maintained that she is of the conviction that these graduates will succeed because ISNE is committed to developing graduates who are academically able and possess the essential knowledge and skills that employers value in a competitive educational employment market. Secondly she assured her audience that ISNE will remain a leading local institution for an Inclusive Special Needs Education in the country noting that the range and quality of the proposed special needs education programmes will cover the whole spectrum of special education to address many of the key challenges that are faced in the education of children with special needs.

The Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Madam Rugiatu Neneh Turay in her statement commended UNIMAK and its partners including Helen Keller International and Sightsavers for pioneering the role in addressing disparities in the education of persons with disabilities by introducing and enforcing the need for teacher training as a critical prerequisite for achieving education for all.

DSC_0129The Deputy Minister reiterated that special needs education must be considered as one of the cornerstones of our education and training and that it is apparent that investment in special needs education ought to be prioritised as it will unleash the potentials of persons with disabilities squandered by the absence of special needs experts. In doing so it will equip them to play a critical role in building our nation’s wealth, she added.

She lamented over what she described as the enormous shortage of experts to handle special needs education which was communicated to the UN at the eighth session of the conference of member states to the convention on the persons with disabilities for appropriate actions to be taken to address this critical challenge. The Deputy Minister described the effort of UNIMAK as a laudable initiative noting that the initiative of training special needs teachers will help open the doors that have been closed to most persons with disabilities.

Madam Rugiatu Neneh Turay on behalf of her ministry assured all partners that if there have been any broken bridges between their organisations and the MSWGCA, those bridges will be reconstructed for effective service delivery to the vulnerable community. She appealed to all partners and other friends of Sierra Leone and the various universities in the country to strengthen their commitment to embrace special needs education which she noted is the key empowering tool for the disabled persons like all other citizens.

DSC_0126In his brief remarks, the US Ambassador to Sierra Leone, John Hoover stated that we should judge ourselves by how we treat the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our societies noting that disadvantaged people like the orphans, the extreme poor and other people with disabilities like blindness often suffer greatly because of their vulnerability.

The US Ambassador disclosed that the Education for the Blind and Low vision children and Adults has been a two year programme worth $300,000 that is funded by US Agency for International Development through Hellen Keller International that is working at schools across the country including UNIMAK, to provide expertise, advocacy and materials to strengthen the quality of teaching for blind and low vision children and Adults. We believe the programme is a success, he added.

Statements by the Representative of MEST, Mr. Horatio Nelson-Williams, the Director of Sightsavers, Mrs. Nancy Smart; NCPD Commission, Fredrick Kamara; Irish Ambassador to Sierra Leone, the Director of Academic Affairs UNIMAK, Rev. Dr. Francis Shedu Sesay formed high points of the certification ceremony.

Visit of Dr Flavia Bustreo, of the World Health Organisation

Dr Flavia Bustroe, Assistant-Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Family, Women, and Children Health.

Dr Flavia Bustroe, Assistant-Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Family, Women, and Children Health.

Dr. Flavia Bustreo, the Assistant-Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Family, Women, and Children Health, visited UNIMAK‘s Fatima campus on Thursday, 23 February 2016. She informally met with public health students to discuss their studies and the fundamentals of public health.

Dr. Bustreo is a physician with more than thirty years experience in international health. She hold a medical degree from the University of Padova in Italy and a Masters Degree in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is author of more than fifty peer-reviewed articles and book chapters as well as a regular blog on international health for the online new service the Huffington Post.

As the most senior international health official working on health within the United Nations family, Dr. Bustreo led the efforts to achieve progress on the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 on children’s and women’s health and has played a leading role in the discussions leading to the agreement on Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health. She is also the Vice-Chairperson of GAVI, the world’s largest vaccination alliance, and a Board member of the Partnership for Maternal and Children’s Health (PMCH), which is chaired by Ms Graça Machel

In her informal talk to the students she discussed some of basic principles of public health, particularly those relating to the health of women and children. These included preventive interventions such as surveillance and vaccinations, breastfeeding and appropriate nutrition, issues of health financing, and the tracing of disease transmissions. She emphasized that public health specialists need to understand health not merely from the individual’s perspective, but even more importantly from the community perspective.

She reminded students that Sierra Leone is the country with the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Public health specialists, she said, have perhaps the greatest responsibility for addressing this problem. Dr. Bustreo said that she was very impressed with some of the students, who she said “are a good as any of the public health students she has ever met anywhere in the world.” She wished the students and their lecturer Raoul Emeric Guetiya Wadoum much success with their public health education and thanked them for the opportunity to meet with them.

The WHO is the United Nations’ specialized agency for global public health matters with 196 Member States, including Sierra Leone, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO offers paid internships to students with public health degrees, usually graduate degrees; organizes scholarships and advanced training for students with degrees in medicine and public health; and hosts a website (who.int) with a wealth of free public health information including free access to the WHO Bulletin, the most widely read publication on public health in the world.