Pivoting in a Pandemic

Keeping Clinical Trials Going in Uganda

This blog post is part of Sabin’s Pivoting in a Pandemic series, which captures stories of extraordinary leaders who are adapting to advance research and public health in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Betty Mwesigwa is the deputy executive director of Makerere University Walter Reed Project in Kampala, Uganda. Originally trained as a medical doctor, she now works to set and implement the organization’s research strategy and clinical trials and develop collaborations with international stakeholders, national Ministries of Health, and local communities.

Her experience preparing for epidemics and managing research during them has given her an invaluable perspective on navigating the new normal of COVID-19. When Uganda’s government placed the country on near complete lockdown in the spring, Dr. Mwesigwa and her colleagues had to quickly regroup to ensure their clinical trials could still progress safely and effectively.

In our latest video, she describes how her team has adapted their work to continue engaging with trial participants, supporting their privacy and safety and gathering data critical to their studies. She also shares insights into how COVID-19 regulations and new ways of working have provided both challenges and opportunities to reshape how researchers work in the future.