Dr Angelina Kakooza-Mwesige

Dr Angelina Kakooza-Mwesige is a Senior Lecturer and Paediatric Neurologist in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Medicine, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda. Her major research interests are in the fields of neurology and infectious diseases, with considerable experience in the field of HIV/AIDS and neurodevelopmental disorders particularly cerebral palsy, autism, and epilepsy. Her doctoral study was in the field of cerebral palsy which she completed in May 2016 as a joint degree at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden and Makerere University, Uganda under the mentorship of Professor James. K. Tumwine, Hans Forssberg and Ann-Christin Eliasson. The title of her thesis was “Cerebral Palsy in Mulago Hospital, Uganda: Co-morbidity, Diagnosis and Cultural Adaptation of an Assessment Tool”. She found that children with cerebral palsy in Uganda have a different clinical panorama as compared to those from high income countries. Ugandan children with cerebral palsy are more severely affected, have frequent co-existence of malnutrition, learning disability, epilepsy and markedly different brain image patterns. The reasons for this disparity could stem from the higher occurrence of complications during the birth period or infections acquired during or after birth. The majority of these causes is preventable and makes a strong argument for policy makers to redouble their efforts in the improvement of emergency obstetric and postnatal care which may reduce this burden. The two year THRiVE post-doctoral fellowship will enable her to continue to pursue her research interests and will be extremely helpful in addressing some of the issues related to how acquired infections of mothers during pregnancy may impact on their pregnancy as well as the development of neurodevelopmental disorders in their children. Her post-doctoral study will establish the seroprevalence of the Zika virus (recently declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation) and associated factors among pregnant women in Uganda with a focus on the pregnancy outcomes and neurodevelopmental effects in their children. It is hoped that the results from this study will highlight the need to strengthen surveillance for this emerging virus as it is exceedingly important to provide counselling to pregnant women and help protect their health and that of their babies.

Dr Kakooza-Mwesige was elected as the chair of the Commission of African Affairs of the International League against Epilepsy in July 2017.