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Uganda’s Makerere University on July 6, 2023, officially handed over the new School of Public Health (MakSPH) site for Phase 2 construction. The new building is located near Makerere University Main Campus’ Eastern Gate, under the contractor, ROKO Construction Ltd which is expected to complete this phase in 52 weeks.

The MakSPH building project is an ambitious endeavor aimed at providing state-of-the-art facilities for the next generation of public health professionals. It will also boost University’s scientific investigative capacity, especially for emerging and re-emerging diseases such as Ebola virus disease and Covid-19 as well as other complex public health challenges.

The 8-storey office building measuring 12.614 square meters will provide the much-needed space for lecture and tutorial rooms, demonstration and innovation laboratories, auditoria as well as space for research fellows, doctoral students and postdoctoral trainees. The total cost of the fitted building is estimated at $10,000,000. We call upon more partners to support the completion of this project

This Phase will have addition three floors, completion of the built levels with external and internal finishes, mechanical and electrical installation and external works (storm water drainage, driveways parking and land scaping).

Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali, acting Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration, asked the contractor to expedite the project presenting need for the space to facilitate the University’s strategic objectives while speaking at the handing over ceremony.

“I request that since you are taking up this project, try as much as possible to execute it in the time frame provided as much as possible. We wish not to see delays because I have heard you have even been advanced some funds. Failure to work within the time provided will create unnecessary delays, and then it makes it very difficult to find additional resources and all these will end up creating very many complications and delaying the client,” said Dr. Hisali.

Adding that; “The Dean knows that within 12 months she will be using the facility. And when these things come up, it becomes very problematic for us. so, I thought I would highlight this.”

He lauded the School of Public Health, Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze, her team and the College of Health Sciences for this initiative. Congratulations. He said, the infrastructure expansion definitely lie at the Centre of the strategic focus of the University that they are operationalizing as it requires creating an enabling environment for the activities like the smart labs, convergence facilities and others.

Mark Koehler, the ROKO Construction Limited Chairman highlighted on the necessity of mutual focus between the contractor and the University in a bid to deliver the desired output, lauded the University for the trust and committed to deliver quality.

“We know there were some challenges with the previous contract. we would like to thank you for the trust. We are going to deliver the quality you expect. The good thing we have the same team that will be executing the work and this means that we have a known working relationship and in terms of institutional memory we are also good. This should help us to coordinate the project progress faster,” said Koehler.

He admitted that they don’t expect any time overlap saying, 12 months is enough for the three floors, external works adding that If they finish earlier than the 12 months, it is an advantage for them in terms of costs of running the site

“We have received advance payment excluding VAT because it is a tax-exempt project and we are going to engage Uganda Revenue Authority to make sure that everything is streamlined. We have pressed orders for the materials, some of the materials have already been delivered on site, we have mobilized staff and starting from Monday July 12, 2023 we want to start with the construction.” He said.

On her part, Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, Professor and Dean, Makerere University School of Public Health called upon the contractor to give their utmost attention and dedication to the project, underscoring the potential consequences of missed deadlines.

In her remarks, Prof. Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze said tht they are looking forward to furnishing the space [phase one auditorium and students Centre facility] and using it and was excited due to contractor’s commitment that phase 2 will be delivered in 12 months. She highlighted that MakSPH has a very huge students’ population and cross-cutting courses which have high numbers at times finding space for use is a bit complex.

She adds that the building will accommodate lecture rooms, innovation, environmental and other health laboratories citing that it will foster collaboration

“Today, the focus is on climate change and health and many issues that are actually not being addressed not only in Uganda but in African as a region and we are looking at us as leading that effort in advancing how things should be in Africa. Because we are doing this and a lot of the work that we do in partnership with many colleagues. We are very eager to have this project done so that we can advance the science and add value to promoting health for Uganda and Ugandans,” said Dr. Wanyenze.

The handover was witnessed by Roko and Makerere University including Danison Blas, Contracts Manager at ROKO, Eng. Ezra Sekadde, Mr. Darius Muwanguzi (Acting Director, Estates and Works Department, Makerere University), Amos Dembe Ashaba (Internal Auditor at MakSPH), and Arch. Nankya Collins Dolores (the Project consultant), Dr. Richard K. Mugambe, Member of the Physical Infrastructure Committee-MakSPH among others.

Makerere University building acknowledges USAID American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) for committing $1million, the Netherlands government, the Rockefeller Foundation for their generous contribution and all partners both in Uganda and globally who have supported MakSPH to raise Ten (10) billion Uganda shillings in contribution towards the building so far.

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