University of the Free State: Ugandan Scientists Visit UFS Traditional Medicine Expert for Benchmarking | India Education | Latest Education News | World Education News
Professor Motlalepula Matsabisa, Director of Pharmacology at the University of the Free State (UFS), hosted scholars from Busitema University in Uganda for a comparative analysis of traditional medicine and to establish collaboration between the two institutions.
Professor Paul Waako, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Busitema – who was part of the visiting group – and Professor Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of UFS, signed a collaboration agreement that allows the two institutions to work together and to get involved in the exchange of expertise within the framework of the collaboration.
Dr. Samuel Baker Obakiro, Lecturer in Pharmacology and Therapeutics and Head of the Department of Pharmacology, and Dr. Richard Oriko Owor, Natural Products Chemist, accompanied Prof. Waako on the visit to UFS from July 18-21 , during which they made visits to various departments and laboratories, including pharmacology, virology, chemistry, genetics, physics, microbiology and others. They also visited FARMOVS.
Establish a collaboration
Uganda – through its Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation – has a national drive to ensure that science contributes to socio-economic development through its major national program, which promotes local production, reduced imports and increased exports of goods. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, wants to ensure that the ability of Ugandan scientists to conduct applied research will promote national development and reduce poverty.
Prof. Waako said they came to UFS to establish collaboration, as universities have an obligation to ensure that science improves the socio-economic situation in Africa. They would like to work with the UFS to ensure that science strengthens science to serve the people.
“Currently, one of the biggest challenges is the local manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, and that is why we have come to the Department of Pharmacology. We must come together as African universities and use all existing capacities to transform the life of our people.
“Traditional African medicine has a lot to offer, and a lot of research has been done, but we haven’t been able to bring it to the level of marketable end products. That’s why we came here, we want to create that link to make sure that the science – which has already been identified and established – is able to move into product production,” says Professor Waako.
At a good place
They decided to visit UFS after meeting Professor Matsabisa during his visit to universities in their country as part of the WHO team.
According to Dr. Obakiro, when they walk through the halls of the ward, they can see that they are in the right place. “We are also considering mentorship, as our university is still very young. I am happy and privileged to be here. We cannot succeed in our journey if we do not stand on your shoulders.
Dr. Obakiro said they are also looking to establish partnerships between academia and industry, as well as collaboration between different university departments, such as pharmacology, chemistry, microbiology and virology, and how these collaborative initiatives can be effective and efficient in driving their agenda.
Welcoming colleagues from West Africa, Professor Matsabisa said: “Let’s find a way to crawl together and eventually run together. If you want to move into drug discovery and development, no scientist can do it alone, it’s a multidisciplinary approach. It’s teamwork with a shared vision. We have some experience that we can share with you, but we are not perfect and I think we can learn together.