Matthew Lukwiya Award


Dr. Matthew Lukwiya [RIP]
Background to the Award

The Matthew Lukwiya Award is given in recognition of the outstanding commitment and dedication exhibited by Dr Matthew Lukwiya during the treatment of Ebola-infected patients. He died in the process.

Dr  Matthew Lukwiya was a physician who obtained his Masters of Public Health at the Makerere University Institute of Public Health (now Makerere University School of Public Health). He was working at Lacor Hospital at the time of the Ebola epidemic in 2000. Dr Lukwiya not only showed remarkable outbreak investigation skills by recognizing the clinical manifestations of Ebola infection and having specimens tested to confirm the infection, but also outstanding leadership by running the Lacor clinical team caring for patients with Ebola. This put him at great personal risk, as it did many of his colleagues.

Dr Lukwiya understood the risks he was taking while caring for patients during the epidemic, and he recognized that not all of the physicians and nurses were willing to continue working under such dangerous conditions. At the funeral of an Italian nun on 7 November 2000, he attempted to rally the morale of his workers: "It is our vocation to save life. It involves risk, but when we serve with love, that is when the risk does not matter so much. When we believe our mission is to save lives, we have got to do our work." However, despite instituting risk minimization procedures, including wearing of robes, multiple gloves, surgical masks and goggles, hospital workers continued to fall ill. But he was dedicated to his patients and to public health and he commented before he died that he would “continue fighting Ebola alone if necessary until the virus is beaten or until I am dead”. Tragically, his willingness to continue caring for patients and leading his health care team also led to his death by Ebola acquired while caring for a patient with the illness.

Soon after his death, the Makerere University Institute of Public Health (as the School was known then) received support from the United States Government to honor Dr Matthew Lukwiya by establishing an award to be given out to any long-term Fellow who has demonstrated personal sacrifice, devotion, and leadership in carrying out professional responsibilities during his/her apprenticeship at a host institution.

Dr Matthew Lukwiya exhibited the following qualities which are considered in selecting the Matthew Lukwiya Award winner:

  • Leadership
  • Dedication to career
  • Commitment
  • Professionalism
  • Innovativeness
  • Productivity
  • Selflessness

Matthew Lukwiya Award recipients

A total of nine (9) Fellows – one per intake – have received the Matthew Lukwiya Award since the Fellowship Program was initiated.

Table below shows the different Matthew Lukwiya Award recipients since 2002.

Name of Fellow


Date Award given

Awarded by

Ms. Susan Babirye May 2011 - 2013 March 22nd 2013 Prof. Mondo Kagonyera, Chancellor, Makerere University, Uganda
Mr Ediau Micheal April 2010 - 2012 May 4th 2012 Dr Tadesse Wuhib, Director, CDC Uganda
Mr Jotham Mubangizi May 2009 - 2011 May 10th 2011 Dr Tadesse Wuhib, Director, CDC Uganda
Dr Alfred Geoffrey Okiria April 2008 - 2010 March 26th, 2010 Prof Venansius Baryamureeba, Vice Chancellor, Makerere University
Ms Evelyn Akello October 2005-2007 November 2nd, 2007 Mr. Andrew Chritton, Charge D’Affaires, US Embassy Kampala
Dr Stella Alamo October 2004-2006 January 19th, 2007 Dr Emmanuel Otaala, Hon. Minister of State for Primary Health Care
Dr George Didi Bhoka October 2003-2005 December 2nd, 2005 Prof Livingstone Luboobi, Vice Chancellor, Makerere University
Ms Gloria Katusiime October 2002-2004 December 18th, 2003 Mr Sam Ngobi, Academic Registrar, Makerere University
Mr Timothy Wakabi Waiswa

March 2002-2004

April 25th, 2003

Mr Jimmy Kolker, US Ambassador to Uganda