Dr. Merle A Sande, Dr. Henry A McKinnell, Dr. Nelson K Ssewankambo, and the Academic Alliance

IDI was established in 2002 in Kampala, Uganda by the Academic Alliance for AIDS Care and Prevention in Africa. The Academic Alliance was founded by a group of infectious diseases experts from Uganda and North America, Dr. Merle A Sande, Dr. Henry A. McKinnell, Jr and Dr. Nelson K Ssewankambo whose vision and perseverance for an Africa free from the burden of infectious disease enabled the IDI to become a world-class center of excellence.

With Pfizer funding, Drs. Sande, McKinnell, and Sewankambo were able to begin training health care workers, treating patients, and conducting cutting-edge research through the Academic Alliance. This public-private partnership aimed to provide excellent care for People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Uganda, to train healthcare workers to serve the tens of millions of PLHIV in Africa, to maintain the strategic emphasis on prevention, and to conduct research relevant to improving the outcome of the epidemic.

In 2004, ownership of the Institute was transferred to Makerere University, and the Institute moved into its current building, the McKinnell Knowledge Centre.

The Sande-McKinnell Executive Director

In 2007, Sande and McKinnell created the Sande-McKinnell Endowment to help support the Executive Director of IDI.

College of Health Sciences

When the College of Health Sciences came into being at Makerere University in 2009, IDI became an integral part of the School of Medicine within the College while retaining its status as a not-for-profit organization established within the University. The IDI Board is chaired by Professor Samuel Luboga Abimerech who is the Executive Director, Sustainable Leadership Institute and a retired Associate Professor at Makerere University.

Support to the Ministry of Health

Today, a thriving IDI plays an integral role in the Ugandan health care system having developed strong and enduring links with the Ministry of Health (MoH) through its long term support of MoH facilities in the districts, Regional Referral Hospitals, and MoH headquarters functions; through its contribution to technical working groups; and through the key role played by the Institute in the national referral system.