Africa-United States joint curriculum development of a Master of Science degree in international infectious disease management at Makerere University

Article Authors: Samuel Majalija, David Owiny Okello, Margaret Loy Khaitsa, Douglas Freeman, Abel Ekiri, Marvin Ssemadaali, John Baligwamunsi Kaneene, John David Kabasa



Trans-boundary infectious diseases and zoonoses once thought to be limited by geographical demarcations are now a constant threat to global animal and human health, trade, food security, and socio-economic wellbeing. Many colleges and schools worldwide are training students to serve as professionals who will improve animal health, public health and food security globally. With this realization, Makerere University and North Dakota State University (NDSU) developed the first US-Africa trans-Atlantic degree addressing integrated disease management and international biosecurity. Both institutions received a grant from United States Department of Agriculture, Higher Education Challenge program to develop a joint Master of Science degree in International Infectious Disease Management (MS-IDM). This grant also funded four graduate students´ stipend and research. Additionally, the two institutions received funds through “Capacity building in Integrated Management of Transboundary Animal Diseases and Zoonoses (CIMTRADZ)” project that supported students from Uganda. Faculty from CIMTRADZ participating institutions offered short term training to MS-IDM students, including workshops at The International Scientific Boma and conference in Uganda. A joint degree (MS-IDM) was developed in 2011. Ten MS-IDM students graduated and over 20 fellowships were awarded. Student exchange and joint mentorship of students by faculty at both institutions occurred. There were challenges experienced and valuable lessons learnt. The MS-IDM degree provided opportunities for human capacity development to manage transboundary animal diseases and zoonoses in East and Central Africa. This paper describes the curriculum development, challenges experienced and lessons learned, and informs future similar endeavors in internationalizing curricula in higher education.

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