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Solar water disinfection (SODIS)
SODIS in Uganda
Based on the success of his previous
solar water disinfection (SODIS) project
in primary schools in southern Uganda,
Professor Kevin McGuigan of the
Department of Physiology and Medical
Physics has established a second SODIS
project in the Nakasongola district of
central Uganda. The project is funded by
the Princess HAYA Foundation and aims
to provide safe drinking water for primary
school students by constructing rainwater
harvesting tanks in each school before
introducing SODIS. Construction of the
rainwater harvesting tanks has already
started in 19 primary schools in this area
and it is hoped that SODIS promotion will
begin in late 2015 or early 2016.
SODIS in Ethiopia
Professor Kevin McGuigan has teamed
up with SODIS-Australia, a philanthropic
non-governmental organisation (NGO)
based in Australia, and the Tigray Federal
Bureau of Health to run a series of solar
water disinfection (SODIS) workshops
for health centre directors in the state
of Tigray in northern Ethiopia. The first
workshop took place in Mekelle, the
state capital of Tigray, in January 2015,
and was attended by more than 200
Ethiopian health professionals. A second,
follow-up workshop is scheduled for
November 2015. Since each director is
responsible for between three and four
district health centres, which each serve
a rural population of approximately 8,000
people, this series of workshops has
the potential to help improve the water
quality of more than 500,000 people at
risk of waterborne disease in northern
International Health and Tropical
Along with teaching and clinical service,
the Department of International Health
and Tropical Medicine supports doctoral
research students who are carrying out
important research on global health
Dr Gemma Smith was awarded her
PhD for her thesis on `Communicable
disease screening for asylum seekers
and refugees in Ireland: an analysis of
professional stakeholders' insights into
knowledge into action';
Dr Eoghan de Barra is writing up
his doctoral thesis on interventional
vaccines for malaria. This was the
first human clinical trial of any
malaria vaccine to be carried out in
Ireland. The clinical trial results were
published in the journal PLOS ONE and
demonstrated that the vaccines were
well tolerated and produce a strong
immune response; and
Dr Sam Anya is writing up his thesis
about national malaria surveillance
in Gambia by strengthening existing
health facilities. This project of national
importance in Gambia was funded
by Irish Aid during its development
and initiation; having recognised the
importance of the work, the Global
Fund then took over its ongoing costs.
To enhance the teaching of international
health and tropical medicine to medical
students, the Department has piloted
new IT tools for improved teaching,
specifically online interactive case-based
teaching and narrated slideshows, with
technology-enhanced learning support
from RCSI's Health Professions Education
Centre (HPEC). The new technology has
received positive feedback from students;
however, it is not envisaged that it will
be a total replacement for other forms of
The Department hosted the Board and
Scientific Advisory Committee meetings
of the European Vaccine Initiative during
the past year, which brought many of the
best vaccine scientists to RCSI in Dublin.
Professor McConkey provided expert
comment across a range of national
media on the subject of the Ebola
outbreak over the past year, drawing on
his years of experience working in Africa.
Mr James Geraghty
Chairman, RCSI Outreach Committee for
International Cooperation
COSECSA trainees undertaking training in Jinja Hospital, Uganda.
COMMUNITY - Global Initiatives