06 Jan Uganda Country Director, Henry Tumwijukye, reflects on 8 years at AIGHD and what’s to come
“I look back when talking to my children and realize that collaboration was a turning point in my life. I’ve been blessed to work with top-notch scientists including the late Dr. Joep Lange. You know, the best of the best. Nothing takes that away. Those are the defining points in a person’s life.”
Henry Tumwijukye began his journey at AIGHD in 2013 when he met Dr. Nadine Pakker, a medical biologist who was the head of the AIGHD Uganda office at the time running clinical trials. Henry’s educational background is in law (with post-graduate training in management) but his entire career has been in Research Management. He worked at Makerere University in Kampala, with the Makerere University – Johns Hopkins University research collaboration (MUJHU). Henry later joined AIGHD as the country director, supporting research support initiatives on the African continent while at the same time representing AIGHD. Henry has worked with AIGHD on many projects including ARISE, EACCR2 and TESA networks and most recently is providing Research management support to the several TB studies currently ongoing between AIGHD and Makerere University.
But where did this interest in health come from? “I started off as a novice Administrator at an HIV/AIDS organization called TASO. They needed a lawyer on their team, and I was ambitious and wanted to support them. I developed an interest in working within the medical field. It became more and more satisfying for me to work at institutional setups that were providing social relief to people in need. I was able to apply a bit of what I studied in law but I really liked the interactions with people and patients in health.” As a country director of a global health and development institute, Henry ensures that the ship is running smoothly. He always wants to make sure that the presence of AIGHD is felt in each interaction and at every meeting.
In addition to his role as country director, Henry is also the Deputy Coordinator of the PAVIA project alongside Prof. Frank Cobelens. The PAVIA project seeks to support African health systems to monitor, evaluate, and deliver new medications locally effectively and safely. Henry is responsible for maintaining stakeholder relations, coordinating meetings and communication with partners, and adhering to project timelines.
Henry’s quiet ambition is his strength. His successes at AIGHD and throughout his career are endless, but he is most proud of the professional relationships he’s built and the collaborations he’s upheld. “It’s such a great blessing to come to AIGHD. It’s such an enriching family. It’s amazing how technology has changed distance. Even when I am here [in Uganda], I work with them more than people who live there. It is such a nice feeling. They become part of the family. When I am in Amsterdam, it is such an enriching experience to have a home away from home.”
Henry looks forward to continued collaboration within projects at AIGHD, including new studies with 3 to possibly 5 years of active engagement.
Photo of Henry (right) in Uganda with colleagues