Dennis was born in Kajokeji, South Sudan as the first born of a family of nine with three brothers and five sisters. He grew up in a refugee camp in Northern Uganda where he studied his primary education. With good grades, he was admitted to Metu Secondary School in Moyo District on an Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) scholarship in 1997. Unfortunately, South Sudanese refugee students under the OPM scholarship were expelled from the school the year he joined, so he continued with his education in Adjumani Secondary School. After his O-level, Dennis taught at a refugee primary school for two years to raise money to pay for his A-levels in Layibi Secondary School in Gulu District. He graduated in 2004 with a subject combination of Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Math as a subsidiary subject.
Dennis was awarded a DAFI/Windle Trust Uganda scholarship in 2007 to study a BSc in Biomedical Laboratory technology at Makerere University, Kampala. He distinguished himself with a strong academic performance and graduated with a CGPA 4.35/5. Following completion of his undergraduate degree, Dennis volunteered as a Medical Laboratory Technologist at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences Department of Microbiology from July to December 2010, and doubled as a Research Technician evaluating Genotype MTBDR plus Assay.
In March 2011, Dennis relocated to South Sudan to work as Laboratory Tutor in Rumbek Health Institute where he was the acting principal of the institution for one year. Due to the lack of skilled laboratory scientists to perform specialized investigations in South Sudan, Dennis decided to pursue a postgraduate degree. He was awarded a Windle Trust International Postgraduate Scholarship in 2013 to study an MSc in Molecular Medical Microbiology at the University of Nottingham.
Upon completion, Dennis returned to South Sudan and joined the Ministry of Health Public Health Laboratory (PHL) in Juba to work as a laboratory scientist, conducting diagnostic tests for Cholera, HIV and TB. PHL recently won a small research grant from a Korean diagnostic company to validate a test kit due to a proposal Dennis developed using application of his MSc knowledge. In January 2017, he was offered a new assignment to work as a laboratory manager for the Central TB Reference laboratory located at the same institution. He is a bright light in the future of public health research in South Sudan.
Written by David Masua, Windle Trust