A Ugandan doctor has been appointed to head a new global health center in the United States of America.
Dr Deus Bazira, an expert in health systems strengthening and a public health practitioner, will not only establish but also co-direct the new Centre for Global Health Practice and Impact (CGHPI) based at the Georgetown University Medical Centre (GUMC).
GUMC is an internationally recognized academic health and science center with a four-part mission of research, teaching, service and patient care.
The CGHPI aims at advancing the use of evidence through a human-centred approach and support countries to improve the health of their populations, safeguard their communities against health-related threats and ultimately achieve health equity.
They will particularly focus on alleviating major causes of illness for millions of people around the world, with a particular emphasis on marginalized groups.
The center will support countries in engagement from the community to international levels to optimize the use of evidence to inform public health programming and to narrow the gap between research, policy and practice.
The center will also include institutionalizing the use of data and evidence to increase access to quality health interventions, modeling health service delivery for priority infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria) and non-communicable diseases.
Describing his appointment as the best birthday gift ever, Bazira who turned 50 early this year, said he will use his new role to amplify and attain better results in global health, adding that the problems faced in global health require a multi-stakeholder approach.
“We are all in this world for a purpose and when you have been blessed, it is your responsibility to make an impact and give back to society. I thank God who has enabled me to improve the conditions of the people,” he said.
Asked about his immediate task, Bazira said his team was finalising a five-year strategic plan.
“We are building and establishing partnerships with key countries to ensure all health policies are informed by good evidence. We shall also make sure that we get this evidence in the right form and put it in the hands of people that need it, such as policymakers and politicians to help the common person get the best health care system,” he said.
Listing Uganda as one of the priority countries, Bazira said they have already started the process of identifying areas of collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau and some academic institutions.
Who is Bazira?
Having worked in more than 15 countries, Bazira has since gathered vast experience in global health, spanning more than 20 years.
His expertise draws on a variety of technical areas, including health policy development, health care financing, health sector regulation, public health programming, quality improvement, data use and evidence uptake, pharmaceutical policy, and implementation science research.
Bazira who previously worked at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), also managed programs in multiple countries, which, collectively, provided care and support to more than one million people living with HIV and other related illnesses over the last decade.
He also served as managing director for global health under the University of Maryland cross-campus Office for Global Initiatives from 2010 to 2013, and from 2010 to 2018 was vice president for the Maryland Global Initiatives Corporation, a non-profit affiliate of the UMB that implements the university’s programs outside the United States.
Prior to joining the UMB, Bazira was a program director for Oliver Tambo Health Leadership Fellowship Program and senior lecturer in Health Economics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Bazira obtained his doctorate from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; obtained his Masters in Public Health in health economics from University of Cape Town, South Africa.
He completed post-MBA executive training at Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands; and completed his pharmacy degree at Makerere University in Uganda.
John J. DeGioia, the president of Georgetown University, said Bazira’s knowledge and leadership will help the university leverage its resources to contribute to the global response to HIV/AIDS and urgent global health challenges.
“His extraordinary knowledge and experience will enable our university Global Health Initiative to deepen its impact and our ability to address some of the most pervasive and persistent health challenges facing our world today,” DeGioia said.