Professor Christopher Garimoi Orach is the Board Chair of CPAR Uganda Ltd for the term: November 2015 to October 2019. He is among the seven distinguished persons who founded CPAR Uganda Ltd – the Founder Members.
Prior (1992 to September 2008), the organisation now known as CPAR Uganda Ltd, was the Country Office of the Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief (CPAR Canada), which localised into a National Ugandan not-for-profit organisation that is registered with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau as a Company that is limited by guarantee and is without share capital. While CPAR Uganda was the Country Office of CPAR Canada, Professor Orach served on the CPAR Canada Uganda Country Advisory Committee.
Professor Orach is a medical doctor and he is currently the Deputy Dean of the School of Public Health of the College of Health Sciences of Makerere University Kampala (MUK), Uganda and Head of the Department of Community Health and Behavioural Sciences. He is an External Examiner in Moi University School of Public Health, Eldoret, Kenya; and a Peer Reviewer for the following journals: BMC series, African Health Sciences, and the Lancet Journal.
Within his field, Professor Orach is a member of professional associations, including: the Uganda Medical Association, the Uganda National Association of Community and Occupational Health and the Uganda Society of Health Scientists. He serves on committees of governing bodies in academia, including: the Staff Development Committee of MUK University College of Health Services; the MUK College of Health Sciences Academic Board; and the Institutional Review Board, MUK School of Public Health.
Professor Orach is a Ugandan, whose life started from humble beginnings in Paicho Village in Gulu District in Northern Uganda. He traces his interest to become a medical doctor to a time when as a child he had a soar on his toe and his father took him to hospital. In Uganda of those days, a trip to the hospital was a whole day affair – from morning to evening – you had to set off from home early and be patient in a long line until it was your turn. He was so engrossed by the camaraderie of getting ready for the trip to hospital, the sparkling clean hospital floors and corridors; and was awestruck by medical personnel - smart in white coats and talking ‘big’ words, like aneasthesia, diagnosis, pharmacy, for example, that he could neither spell nor read. In that little boy’s eyes the doctors were like God and he wanted to be like them. And so it came to pass that he did become a medical doctor.
Being the eighth child in a family of nine gave him the advantage, at an early age, to acquaint with reading material that ignited his love for reading, hence laying the foundation for his academic life. He has fond memories of how he would read his big brother’s books – writings of and on Aristotle, Einstein, and other great scholars and philosopher from times past. His brother was in the Seminary and in Uganda of those days this was really a big thing for one to be a seminarian.
He had a firm foundation of love for reading, nurtured early in his childhood and no wonder Professor Orach has attained such illustrious academic achievements. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Health that was awarded to him in 2006 by Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB), Belgium. He got his Master of Public Health (MPH) in 2000 from the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium; and his Master of Medicine in Public Health (M.Med PH) in 1996, his Diploma in Public Health (DPH) in 1994, and his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MB ChB) in 1988, all from the Medical School of MUK, Uganda.
Professor Orach, in addition, has attained professional qualifications, including: a Certificate in Public Health Management and Leadership, in 2004, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), United States of America; a certificate in Refugee Studies, in1996, from the Refugee Studies Programme of University of Oxford, United Kingdom; and a Certificate in Health Emergencies in Large Populations (HELP), in 1997, from a training that was organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.
A career path and growth such as Professor Orach has, cannot but be admired. He credits his academic mentor and teacher, Professor Gilbert Bukenya, at the time the Dean of the MUK School of Medicine, for nurturing him into a people-centred academic. Uganda, for example, is host to thousands of refugees and Professor Orach is among those Ugandans who work with them providing public health related emergency assistance – developing policy, designing emergency responses, providing consultancy services, and more. Among his greatest rewards is when he has contributed to an intervention at community level that stops individuals from getting ailments – stopping diseases at the root before they overwhelm.
As his academic life was nurtured by family and by non-family, Professor Orach feels it is his duty to give back and to contribute towards reducing the unfortunate gaps in Uganda in socialising the new generation. One of the ways in which he is doing so is by ensuring that his expertise and knowledge is documented for posterity. His is contributing to the body of knowledge as an author and co-author and has over 60 publications published in peer refereed academic journals. He actively seeks grant funding – through writing proposals for research projects, several of which have been successful, of which he was principal investigator and he ensured quality research project reports were written. He regularly accepts invitations to conferences at which he makes well research presentations and there after he has authored research papers and conference reports.
Since 1988, Professor Orach has worked in Uganda’s civil service in different capacities. He became a Professor of Public Health at the Department of Community Health of MUK School of Public Health in 2015; a position which he continues to hold to date. As a lecturer and as a professor, in addition to designing curricula, teaching programmes and teaching courses, he avails himself to supervise postgraduate students doing studies at the level of Masters and PhD. Over twenty students that he has supervised successfully completed their dissertations and have been awarded their Masters degrees; six have successfully defended their dissertation and have been awarded their PhD; and he is currently supervising seven students who are undertaking their studies for the award of a PhD.
Prior to becoming a Professor, his work life started in 1988 as an Intern at St. Francis Hospital, Nsambya, Kampala. Thereafter, he became: in 1989, a Medical Officer at Maracha Hospital, Arua, West Nile; in 1990, the Medical Superintendant for Maracha Hospital; in 1994, the Head of the Public Health Department of St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor, Gulu and the Acting District Director of Health Services, Gulu; in 1996, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Health of Makerere University Kampala; in 2003, an Assistant Lecturer at MUK Institute of Public Health; in 2006, a Lecturer at MUK School of Public Health; in 2009, a Senior Lecturer at MUK School of Public Health; in 2010, the Head of the Department of Community Health and Behavioural Sciences of MUK School of Public Health; in 2012, the Deputy Dean of MUK School of Public Health and Associate Professor at the Department of Community Health of MUK School of Public Health.
There is no doubt that Professor Orach is making a significant contribution to the public good. In 1997, his work was recognised by the WHO Office for Africa Region (WHO AFRO), which named him the winner of the WHO Community Health Research Award. The award was in recognition of his community study that he conducted in 1996 in his home District, Gulu, entitled: “Maternal Mortality in Gulu District using the sisterhood methodology”; a study which he did as part of the studies for the award of the Master of Medicine in Public Health.
It is no surprise that Professor Orach is a Rotarian. He lends his expertise in service of the greater community by participating in governing bodies of various institutions. He is Member of the Governing Council of the Sacred Heart University, Gulu; Member of Governing Council Public Health Nursing College, Kampala; and he is visiting Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, Gulu University. In the past, seconded by WHO, he has served as a Consultant commissioned by the Uganda Ministry of Health to develop a Safe Male Circumcision Policy. He was visiting Lecturer, Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi Campus; Board Member of Diploma in Public Health Nursing, Kampala; Patron Makerere Acholi Medical Students Association; Member of Uganda Catholic Health Commission; Vice Chairman of Catholic Association of Professionals of Uganda; Member of Board of Directors of St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor, Gulu; Member of Board of Governors of Ambrosoli Memorial Hospital, Kitgum; Member of Board of Governors of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Kitgum; and a Member of Board of Governors of St. Joseph’s College Ombaci, Arua.
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