University of Milan meeting to support Makeni

The Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food , University of Milan has been involved for several years in a project for the creation of the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Makeni in Sierra Leone . The University of Milan has this week announced a meeting to be held on 9th December to discuss the Ebola emergency in Sierra Leone.

Professor Marco Fiala writes:

Subject: Incontro su Ebola – Facoltà di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari di Milano; 9 Dic 2104; h 14.00
Cari Colleghi e Amici,
come molti di Voi sanno avendovi direttamente partecipato, nell’ambito delle attività per la cooperazione internazionale la Facoltà di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari dell’Università di Milano è impegnata da qualche anno in un progetto per la realizzazione di una Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences presso l’Università di Makeni in Sierra Leone.
In questo momento particolarmente difficile per la Sierra Leone vogliamo portare il nostro aiuto ai Colleghi ed amici di Makeni proponendo un incontro dal titolo “UniMi in Sierra Leone e l’emergenza Ebola”, che si terrà Martedì 9 Dicembre, alle ore 14.00) presso l’aula C03 della nostra Facoltà (programma allegato).
Come Comitato Scientifico del Progetto, siamo molto lieti della Vostra presenza.
Un saluto cordiale
Marco Fiala – DISAA
Gabriella Giovanelli – DEFENS
Stefano Corsi – DEMM

Translation (using Google):

Subject : Meeting of Ebola – Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food of Milan ; December 9, 2104 ; h 14:00
Dear Colleagues and Friends ,
As many of you know since I directly participated in the activities for international cooperation the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food , University of Milan has been involved for several years in a project for the creation of a Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at the University of Makeni in Sierra Leone .
In this particularly difficult time for Sierra Leone we want to bring our help to colleagues and friends of Makeni proposing a meeting entitled ” UniMi in Sierra Leone and the emergency Ebola ,” which will be held on Tuesday, December 9 , at 14.00 ) at the ‘ C03 classroom of our faculty ( program attached ) .
As the Scientific Committee of the Project , we are very glad of your presence .
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Learning from the Ebola crisis – Training for health workers to strengthen the health system

UNIMAK has developed this imaginative proposal to strengthen the health system by offering training at a tertiary level for all cadres of health workers:


  1. Background
  2. Objectives
  3. Description of the project
  4. Short to medium term
  5. Long term
  6. Business plan


Since its establishment in 2005 as Fatima Institute, the University of Makeni has developed its curriculum and activities around addressing development in the country. Such development in any country has always been intrinsically linked to the achievement of adequate health services for the population. Health, together with education, is a sine qua non factor for wealth. Despite the advancements of the country made in the last decade, the Sierra Leone Health system is still weak and limited, and one of the main reasons is the lack of professionals in the health sector.

In the light of several of the challenges faced by the national Ebola viral disease response, UNIMAK is considering how to build capacity for the future. The Ebola crisis has pointed out the need for the training of staff and providing resources in the health sector. The weak health sector in the West African countries has clearly demonstrated the need for the tertiary institutions to position themselves in order to address the urgent need to fill the gap in the heath sector.


Strengthen the health system by offering training at a tertiary level for all cadres of health workers

Specific objectives:

  1. Construction of a building, including laboratories to strengthen the existing undergraduate degree program in Public Health.
  2. Offering a diploma and post graduate  program in  tropical infectious disease  for health workers
  3. Training of laboratory technicians and other skill workers in infectious diseases
  4. Strengthening the existing mental health program and explore the possibility of  a diploma in mental health for nurses

Description Of The Program

The University is already running an undergraduate program in Public Health and a training program on Mental Health for nurses and other related health workers. These programs could be scaled up in to full blown School of Health which could include post-graduate programs on infectious or viral diseases similar to the East African Diploma started by the London School of Hygiene. This School could offer degrees in nursing and public health, and post graduate diplomas on areas from mental health to infectious diseases.

What would be needed initially are clinical laboratories and classrooms for the classes and offices. We are exploring the possibility of linkages with Universities in Europe for collaborating in providing teaching staff to train students and local staff. Land is readily available as the University has bought three hundred acres of land for further expansion of new facilities.

Short  Term  To Medium Term

There is already an establish Department of Public Health offering an undergraduate degree for four years.  This could be expanded to include a module on infectious tropical disease or could start a new post graduate diploma in tropical disease similar to the East African Tropical disease program.

Another short term possibility could be the Mental Health Studies with a diploma or a certificate in psychology. The University of Sierra Leone is already running the diploma and certificate in Mental Health.

Long Term

The long term project could be a Faculty with interrelated departments of Nursing, Mental Health, Dentistry and Medicine.

Business Plan

Short term

A – Infrastructure : classrooms. materials and equipment, salaries

B-  Staff : local and expatriate, volunteers and  staff development

DSCF1473There is already an existing public health and mental staff at the University.There is an additional staff from the Holy Spirit hospital with specialization in infectious and tropical disease and there is also the possibility of networking with the team of health specialists in the country and the University of San Pablo, Madrid and other partners.

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Update on University Activities – November 2014

UNIMAK is engaged as part of its mandate in responding to a public health crisis namely Ebola. A University’s mission involves teaching, research and community service in order to be relevant and responsible.
Our engagement has revolved around the following pillars: fund raising for our institutions, social mobilization, and psychosocial support and media education. 20140807_163236The District Ebola task force established by the Government appointed UNIMAK to coordinate the psychosocial pillar and fundraising for its Ebola response in the district.
Our lecturers are deployed in the Task force secretariat in data management, finance accounting and counsellors in the psychosocial sector.

Social Mobilization :
IMG_0078In collaboration with Radio Maria, UNIMAK has designed Ebola messages, hosted panel discussions, designed a program on culture and Ebola titled ‘Religion against Ebola’. The radio is being used as a means of campaign and education in raising awareness in the fight against the Ebola epidemic. The social mobilization pillar has also provided food to quarantine homes and survivors and sensitization in other parts of the district.

Media Education:
The University has also organized media education on Ebola in collaboration with Radio Maria and radio broadcast programs for children in both primary, junior and senior secondary schools in the district. This has now been taken up by other districts and the government in the country. Our MBA in Sustainable Enterprise is up and running through an online program set up by the Catholic University of Milan, Italy. Other departments have been asked to start a pilot online program with their students.

Fund Raising:
The University has been coordinating and raising funds for Makeni Catholic Diocese in their response to the Ebola crisis. The district Ebola task force has also asked the University to coordinate its fund raising initiatives for the Ebola response.

Psychosocial pillar.
In collaboration with other partners UNIMAK has produced a toolkit for a psychosocial response to the Ebola crisis for nurses and other health related workers.
FILE028We have also established a survivors center for counselling survivors and other victims of the Ebola crisis.
Senate has approved a review of our curriculum to incorporate infectious and tropical disease as part of its core module for Public Health students. Attached is our post Ebola plan for health training in the University (see separate news post).

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Address to the Ebola Conference in Spain organized by San Pablo University, Madrid

Address by Rev Fr Joe Turay, Vice Chancellor of the University of Makeni, Sierra Leone.
The Chancellor of the University of San Pablo, Chancellors from other Universities, the Vice Chancellor of San Pablo, Deans , the Director of pastoral activities in San Pablo, our dear friends of San Pablo who have worked with us in Makeni, SierraLeone, especially the Faculties of Urban Studies and Medicine, I bring you warm greetings from the University of Makeni and the people of Sierra Leone.
I want to sincerely extend our thanks to you all for standing with us in this crucial moment in our history. San Pablo has always stood by us accompanying us in our journey … Our journey of successes and also our moments of challenges and trials . This partnership has expressed itself in sharing knowledge, material support, friendship and celebrating our common identity as God’s children.

As Universities , we all search for the Truth to liberate and free humanity from fear, disease, ignorance and bring us all to God’s kingdom. This is what has inspired you to organize a Conference on the situation of Ebola in Sierra Leone and the future. We thank you for this great initiative .
The Ebola crisis is a moment of challenge to us all in Sierra Leone and the University as a place of learning,research and community service. As a University and a diocese , we have tried to engage in the process of addressing this disease. We have been part of the Ebola task force in our district and the country trying to help where possible. The diocese and the University has engaged in educating our people through the radio, parishes and other church institutions on the Ebola disease and prevention. We have also supported, through your help, families and hospitals with food, protective gears and other non- food items; our students and teachers have been on the district planning team to organize and strategize. Just the other day we had staff meeting to use our radio station and engage other stations to start media, radio teaching for our primary and secondary school students at home. The good thing in Sierra Leone is that people listen to radios at home. Our health institutions of the diocese are still working. We mourn the death of some of our personnel, especially, Br.Doctor Emmaneul Veijo,Victor Kassim etc.
This moment brings us to realize that we need to do more. As a University we are amongst the most privileged and must give back to society. So we must be engaged. I thank you for organizing this Conference to raise awareness so that people can support us in helping our people. Red Cross Spain is here in Sierra Leone, and we thank you and your country . At the moment the crucial challenge is medical staff and putting systems in place. Based on the deficit of staff and systems in our health sector, I want to make an appeal on behalf of the University to think about , amongst others: how we can address using the faculty of medicine , such similar occurrences of Ebola in the future. We have a department of Public Health at UNIMAK, could we expand it to include infectious tropical disease….Ebola and other viral hemorrhage diseases. This department would aim at training laboratory technicians, nurses and other health workers in this field, research and community services. This could be a joint project with WHO and other bodies. A diploma or certificate program could do at the moment on tropical disease. This is sustainable and could transfer skills and knowledge. This could create space for research. Again, we are mindful that Europe has its own challenges at this moment; but together we can bring hope and joy to humanity.
Once more thank you and may God bless you for this initiative.

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Provisional Academic Calendar for 2014-2015 published

Although the government has not yet issued a release on the re-opening of colleges, UNIMAK management has prepared a provisional calendar to help staff and students plan for the coming academic year. Any alteration on dates/activities as a result of government release will be communicated.

Provisional Academic Calendar for 2014-2015

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