By Prof. Philippa Musoke
Prof. Christopher Magala Ndugwa was one of the co-founders of the Makerere University-Johns Hopkins University Research Collaboration. In 1988, Investigators from Case Western Reserve University, USA and Makerere University formed a collaboration to conduct HIV research on pregnant women living with HIV and their infants. Prof Christopher Ndugwa (Head of Department of Paediatrics and Child Health then) and the Late Prof. Francis Mmiro (Head of Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology then) were the lead Investigators from Makerere University. The Case Western Investigators moved to Johns Hopkins University, the USA in 1996, renaming the collaboration MU-JHU.
MU-JHU has conducted landmark clinical trials in the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT). The results from these clinical trials informed global health policies leading to the implementation of PMTCT programs globally. The worldwide implementation of these PMTCT programs led to a significant reduction of new HIV infections in children worldwide and improved survival of children born to HIV-infected women. Research on paediatric HIV treatment was also conducted at MU-JHU under the leadership of Prof. Ndugwa, as the principal investigator. Results from the paediatric HIV treatment research-informed international and national policies, improving survival and quality of life for children living with HIV.
His dedication to training and quality improvement saw research at MU-JHU grow and strengthen. Since 1988, he provided training and mentorship to many junior doctors at MU-JHU who have since grown to become researchers and principal investigators. In addition, he served as the first quality assurance officer at MU-JHU to ensure that all the collected data was accurate and of high quality. As a member of the MUJHU Board of directors, he continued to provide wise counsel and governance to MU-JHU Care Ltd until his death. He continued to come to MU-JHU until the last few weeks of his life and his immense contributions to MU-JHU will be dearly missed.