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Health Experts meet at MakCHS to discuss Health Professions Education

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On 17th June 2022, health experts met at Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) for a half-day symposium, Makerere@100: Advancing Health Professions Education in Uganda’Theaim of the symposium hosted by Health Professions Education Partnership Initiative (HEPI) in collaboration with The African Center for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) was ‘to take a look at Health Professions Education (HPE), the past, the present and future in Uganda’. In addition, the symposium was also intended to keep abreast of emerging issues and new trends in a globalised world. The meeting was attended by academia, government institution officials, civil society, researchers and students.

Professor Damalie Nakanjako (R) welcomes participants to the Symposium.
Professor Damalie Nakanjako (R) welcomes participants to the Symposium.

Welcoming participants to the symposium, Professor Damalie Nakanjako – Principal, MakCHS reiterated the aim of the meeting, ‘to review the past, present and future health professions education in Uganda’. Professor Nakanjako stressed the importance of balancing teaching, service delivery and teaching as the three legs of the stable African stool and foundations of HPE. She traced the history of the college since establishment in 1924 as the oldest health training institution in the region and highlighting the major milestones and innovations of MakCHS. ‘The college has a long and distinguished history in health education: it has been involved in health innovations, research, case management, modeling impact and has addressed: infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases” she added. Prof. Nakanjako thanked HEPI and ACHEST for the support given to MakCHS in organising the symposium. The Principal invited the Chief Guest to give his opening remarks.

The Chief Guest, Professor Buyinza Mukadasi represented the DVCAA Professor Umar Kakumba.
The Chief Guest, Professor Buyinza Mukadasi represented the DVCAA Professor Umar Kakumba.

Professor Mukadasi Buyinza – Director, Research and Graduate Training at Makerere University represented the First Deputy Vice Chancellor/ Academic Affairs, Prof. Umar Kakumba as Chief Guest. In his remarks, Professor Buyinza commended MakCHS for organising the symposium bringing together senior and junior health professionals noting that, ‘There is need to build sustainable health profession networks that serve as forums to share innovative ideas and learning’. He added ‘quality should be considered a priority and we need to focus on professionalism, inclusiveness, communication, etc. in order to promote health education’. Professor Buyinza highlighted the role of Makerere University as we celebrate 100 years noting that during the pandemic, Makerere University responded adequately in a multitude of areas: and advised that moving forward with  lessons from the pandemic, we must promote fundamental health education. He applauded the champions behind the HEPI and ACHEST  who supported the meeting noting “this is great because for sure times have changed with the Covid-19 pandemic has been a great lesson calling for different approaches in order to strike a balance and this can only be possible with partnerships”. Professor Buyinza called on government and partners to increase funding for health professions education adding that “Investment in education of training of health workers with a weak mindset, will not give us the quality health care and service we require thus a positive attitude among health professionals should be part of their education”. He reiterated that new emerging issues like tele-medicine are here to stay and thus health professionals should be equipped with the competencies to handle them. He also encouraged that we must give back to society and MakCHS is challenged to remain as leader in training health workers. Prof. Buyinza officially opened the meeting thanking the organisers and wished the participants fruitful deliberations noting that he looks forward to receiving the report from the symposium.

Professor Sarah Kiguli, Principal Investigator – HEPI speaks on behalf of the Health Professions Education Symposium organisers.
Professor Sarah Kiguli, Principal Investigator – HEPI speaks on behalf of the Health Professions Education Symposium organisers.

Speaking on behalf of the organisers, Professor Sarah Kiguli, Principal Investigator – HEPI welcomed participants to the symposium thanking them for accepting the invitations. She thanked Professor Francis Omaswa, Executive Director – ACHEST for the proposal to hold the symposium and agreeing to partner with MakCHS is hosting the meeting. “I thank previous leaders on whose work we are building what we do today. We can’t advance HPE without strong partnerships: We need to establish and sustain the collaborations”, Professor Kiguli added. She also highlighted the objectives and successes of the HEPI Project so-far.

Deliberations at the meeting were aligned along two panel discussions preceded by keynote speeches by preeminent health professionals; Professor Francis Omaswa and Professor Nelson Sewankambo.

Professor Francis Omaswa, Executive Director – ACHEST delivers his keynote address.
Professor Francis Omaswa, Executive Director – ACHEST delivers his keynote address.

In his keynote speech titled, ‘The Global Health Workforce Crisis: the role of Academic Institutions’, Professor Francis Omaswa shared the global statistics for health professions training and patient ratio noting that it’s not a good picture. He highlighted that populations globally are living longer and require health services. However, in the global north there are less young people to train as health professionals thus recruiters are looking to the global south, Africa and Asia are most affecting because our trained health workers are migrating due of poor pay. On Africa Uganda specifically he said “there are shortages in Africa but our professionals are recruited to serve elsewhere. We don’t have money to employ health workers despite the increasing population”. Professor Omaswa gave the critical success factors for better health services and HPE in Africa including: Political Commitment and good governance; Workforce planning and Enabling Environment.  He also proposed key competencies for today’s health work, these are: Work where services are most needed; Respond to health needs of community; Deliver quality care; Clinical excellence; Be leaders and change agents; Self-directed learners and Effective communicators. Professor Omaswa advised that there must be strong link between the health system and health profession education institutions adding ‘stop grumbling and start acting, when we act together we will go much further and achieve more. Let this symposium be the beginning of us as change agents’.

Panelists L-R: Professor Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde, Professor Francis Omaswa, Professor Jehu Iputo and Professor Joel Okullo.
Panelists L-R: Professor Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde, Professor Francis Omaswa, Professor Jehu Iputo and Professor Joel Okullo.

Panelists to discuss Professor Omaswa’s presentation were Professor Elsie Kiguli-Malwadde, ACHEST; Professor Jehu Iputo (Busitema University); Professor Joel Okullo (Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, Professor Sarah Kiguli (HEPI/MakCHS) and Representative from National Council for Higher Education. A key issue raised from the panel discussion was the need for a link between stakeholders in the HPE sector and a call for education institutions to plan their teaching programmes in response to the health sector.

In his keynote speech titled “Health Professions Education (HPE) in Uganda, past present and future”, Professor Nelson Sewankambo noted that the current curriculum is old and doesn’t reflect health & disease prevention adding that we need to strike a balance between curative, health services & disease prevention. Prof. Sewankambo urged lecturers and staff in health institutions to help the young generation, students in particular, “let’s take the young people by hand to strengthen the future generation, we are not doing what we are supposed to do”, he added. Professor Sewankambo also called for closer working relationships between teaching hospitals and health profession training institutions and echoed Professor Omaswa’s call that staff stop lamenting and get to work.

Professor Josephine Namboze (L) and Professor Francis Omaswa (R) chat during a break.
Professor Josephine Namboze (L) and Professor Francis Omaswa (R) chat during a break.

Panelists to discuss Professor Sewankambo’s presentation were Professor Josephine Namboze, the first female doctor trained at Makerere University; Dr. Safina Museene, Ministry of Education and Sports; Professor Pius Okongo, Health Service Commission and Ms. Elizabeth Ekong Namukombe, Uganda Nurses and Midwives Council. Key issues raised from the panel discussion was a call for research to inform planning for health institutions; revision of establishments at health institutions and job evaluation to reflect current developments; and partnerships between institutions rather than competition.

Professor Rhoda Wanyenze presents the wrap-up and way forward at the Health Professions Education Symposium 2022.
Professor Rhoda Wanyenze presents the wrap-up and way forward at the Health Professions Education Symposium 2022.

A wrap-up and way forward from the meeting was presented by Professor Rhoda Wanyenze, Dean – School of Public Health. Professor Wanyenze advised that competencies for health professionals need a critical revision calling for skills aligned to current environment for the products from health training institutions. “When we train people are who are knowledgeable with a lot of theory it’s only as good as having critics, however we need to train skilled people in the health sector”, she added. She highlighted the following issues for consideration as next steps:

  1. Need for a national Strategy and Plan: Informed by the National Health Policy and Plan as well as emerging issues in health e.g. move towards healthier societies, revitalizing Primary Health Care to drive UHC and comprehensively address health determinants.
    • a. Address the numbers, cadre mix and quality with attention to current gaps in development of some professions e.g. nursing, dental, pharmacy, among others
    • b. Network with relevant bodies to address the issues within the Qualifications Framework and MOH HRH Plan
    • c. Integrate linkages between Health, Education and other relevant sectors in line with the NDP move towards multi-sectoral collaboration
  2. Strengthen Health Training Institutions
    • a. Teaching infrastructure including space, laboratories, simulation and community labs (need collaborations with communities and other organizations for student hands-on learning), and to streamline agreements between teaching institutions and teaching hospitals.
    • b. Curriculum aligned to competencies—streamline issues of standardization of curricular within the country and the EAC region, and move beyond knowledge and skills to professionalism and transformative leadership in competences, and integrate the critical components of health promotion and prevention
    • c. Trainers: Numbers, mix of disciplines and expertise and quality: Comprehensive training and capabilities in teaching, research and community service as well as leadership and governance; need Education Units to support trainers and Research Units to support research management
    • d. Explore inter-sectoral/Interdisciplinary programs—break the silos to appropriately prepare the trainees to work across disciplines and sectors.
    • e. Governance and Systems Leadership: Functional, effective and efficient systems with relevant networks for health professional training
    • f. Teaching institutions systems for appointments and promotion need a review of the definition of scholarship—beyond PhDs and publications to critical grounding in disciplines, professionalism and leadership in the field
    • g. Collaborate with relevant structures within Health, Education and Finance to address the issue of scholarships for graduate students
  3. Collaboration and networks across universities (south-to-south, within and across countries, north-south), with training hospitals and communities
  4. Financing: Review and streamline models and level of financing for health training institutions and related regulatory structures such as the Professional Councils
    • a. Joint training, research and service collaborations
    • b. VC, Deans Forums across universities for experience sharing and joint learning
  5. Health professionals Forum: Annual meeting to share experiences and learnings, and joint planning as well as engagement and negotiations to improve health professions education in Uganda
  6. Standards, Quality Assurance and Regulation: Adequately resources and effective regulatory structures and systems—address issues of curricular and examinations standardization and implementation
  7. Research: Modeling of health workforce needs to inform planning and a review of the state of health in Uganda
  8. Arrange a follow-up stakeholder meeting to synthesize and follow-up on the actions

Health

METS Newsletter May 2024

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The newly appointed CDC Uganda Country Director, Dr. Adetinuke Mary Boyd (7th from left) met with country implementing partner Executive Directors to get insights on ongoing projects, discussed leveraging of partnerships as well as strategizing for how best to strengthen health systems. Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI)-McKinnell Knowledge Centre, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

The Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support (METS) Program is a 5-year CDC-supported collaboration of Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Health Information Systems Program (HISP Uganda).

Highlights of the METS May 2024 Newsletter

  • Enhancing Response to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
    • Responding to and preventing Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) and Violence Against Children (VAC) are critical components of Uganda’s national HIV prevention program. METS developed a new app designed to improve support for SGBV survivors. This followed an assessment in December 2022, that revealed gaps in service access and coordination in Fort Portal and Kampala Regions.
    • The METS team, in collaboration with regional implementing partners, is scaling up the app’s use in pilot districts such as Masaka, Kiryandongo, Fort Portal, and Mubende. The team visited facilities and police stations to install the app and train selected focal persons on its use.
  • Assessing Readiness for Integrated HIV and NCD Care Services
    • METS supported the Ministry of Health to conduct a site readiness assessment for integrated delivery of HIV and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) services from 22nd to 26th April 2024, in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and various implementing partners. The activity was conducted in selected health facilities in Acholi, Mubende, Kayunga, and Rwenzori regions to determine their feasibility for participating in a comprehensive NCD evaluation.
    • The 48 facilities visited have already integrated NCD services (mental Health, diabetes, and hypertension). Of these, 78% have integrated mental health services in their PMTCT clinics. 40% of the facilities have a dedicated NCD services physicians /doctor in the ART Clinic, 29% have doc have dedicated physicians in the PMTCT clinics. 90%. Most of the facilities have clinical and nurses in the ART than PMTCT facilities but more nurses offering NCD services in PMTCT sites.
  • Digitalizing the health sector through strategic partnerships
    • In collaboration with CDC and METS, the MoH organized a national Electronic Medical Records (EMR) stakeholders meeting to orient stakeholders on the national EMR agenda and transition towards a comprehensive digital health facility package. Key actions discussed included expanding the rollout of the EMR and Community Health Information System (eCHIS) and urging development partners to support prioritized health information and digital health investments.
    • The introduction of electronic medical records (EMRs) in health facilities aims to improve the quality of health service delivery by providing real-time accountability transparency, and traceability of medical supplies, monitoring health worker absenteeism, enhancing patient satisfaction through efficient care provision, reducing unnecessary or duplicate diagnostic tests, and offering easy access to management reports for decision-making. Additionally, EMRs will lay the foundation for the implementation of national health insurance.
  • UgandaEMR+ Implementation Showcased at Kisenyi HCIV
    • METS and Reach Out Mbuya (ROM) showcased the implementation of UgandaEMR+ to representatives from the USG and the Ministry of Health (MoH) at Kisenyi HCIV. The visit was aimed at providing a clear understanding of the system’s functionality at the health facility, which serves over 1,200 outpatients daily and supports over 1600 clients on ART.
    • Dr. Peter Akonyera, the ART Clinic In Charge shared positive end-user experiences, noting simplified data use and analysis, efficient data retrieval, and the system’s popularity among users despite existing challenges. He appreciated METS’ support in maintaining system synchronization. The data visualization tools have been particularly useful for clinicians to manage patient schedules and workload distribution effectively, ensuring timely and efficient healthcare delivery.
  • METS Showcases Research at INTEREST 2024 Conference in Benin
    • The International Conference on HIV Treatment, Pathogenesis, and Prevention Research (INTEREST) brought together global scientists to share cutting-edge knowledge in HIV diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. The conference also aimed to build a community of African physicians and scientists to develop local solutions for managing HIV and preventing its transmission.
    • METS submitted an abstract titled “Enhancing HIV Case Identification through a National HIV Testing Services (HTS) Continuous Quality Improvement” based on support to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in designing, implementing, and evaluating initiatives to increase the identification of HIV-positive clients, crucial for achieving the global target of 95% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) knowing their status.
  • Gallery
    • New CDC Director meets Country implementing partner Executive Directors
    • UgandaEMR+ support supervision at Kisenyi HCIV visit
    • EMR Stakeholders meeting
    • CBS guidelines meeting
    • INTEREST 2024 conference – Benin
    • Key Populations assessment – Ishaka district

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SIMCS-Trial Vacancy Announcement: Twenty-Five (25) Research Assistants

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An elevated shot of the School of Health Sciences and School of Medicine Building, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University. Mulago Campus, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Makerere University College of Health Sciences School of Medicine in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine received funding from US National Institutes of Health – Fogarty International Center to carry out a study on “Development and evaluation of an information management and communication system for population-wide point of-care infant sickle cell disease screening (SIMCS-Trial)”. The program seeks to recruit 25 research assistants at its study sites. 

Roles and responsibilities  

  • Identify and screen participants for possible enrolment into the study according to the Study Protocol.
  • Obtain informed consent from caregivers of eligible participants as per protocol accordance with GCP and HSP principles.
  • Counsel and explain study procedures to the caregivers of study participants using the mobile app.
  • Enrol eligible participants into the study to meet the study accrual targets.
  • Complete study CRFs, correctly and accurately in compliance with trial procedures/ SOPs and GCP standards.
  • Ensure study participants’ safety and privacy, data integrity and confidentiality.
  • Participate in collection of appropriate study samples/specimens from the participants as per protocol and SOPs as well as performing the test.
  • Carry out any other duties as assigned by superiors in line with your work.

Required Qualification and experience 

  • A degree in any health-related discipline, and registered with the relevant national bodies.
  • Knowledge and familiarity with Microsoft word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access as well as basic internet applications 
  • Skills in using common relevant computer packages and mobile technology for data collection
  • Previous work in a research environment is added advantage.
  • Basic knowledge of clinical research regulatory procedures. 
  • Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training and Research Ethics training skills and knowledge
  • Excellent command of English (written and oral) as well as the local languages (Luganda or Lusoga)
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to develop relationships with participants.
  • Experience of living and or working both in urban and rural environment.
  • Team-working skills to work effectively as part of a multidisciplinary healthcare team 
  • Time management skills and ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented and self-motivated/driven. 
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. 
  • Ability to professionally communicate in writing, verbally or other means deemed appropriate. 

Reports to: The SIMCS Co-Investigator/SIMCS Trial Coordinator 

Expected start date: July 2024

How to apply: 1-page type written application letter addressed to the Principal Investigator SIMCS Trial MakCHS SOM together with current CV, copies of academic certificates, and recommendation letters from two past employers should be e-mailed as ONE PDF DOCUMENT to makimpact22@gmail.com

Deadline for receiving applications: Friday 20th June 2024 at 5:00 pm

Only shortlisted candidates will be invited to the interview. 

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CTCA Call for Proposals: Enhance Tobacco Control Institutional Capacity in Africa

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Call for Proposals - Project Title: Enhance Tobacco Control Institutional Capacity in Africa; Grant #339. Deadline 30th June 2024, by 5pm EAT. The Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA), School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Project Title: Enhance Tobacco Control Institutional Capacity in Africa; Grant #339

Introduction:

The Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA) received funding from the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) for the 2024-2026 to implement a project on institutional capacity. The project investments are geared towards sustaining human resource capacity and knowledge generation to reduce use of all forms of tobacco products in Africa. Specifically, the project aims to:

  1. Enhance training opportunities for African governments and relevant actors in tobacco control in
    the continent
  2. Increase access to knowledge for guiding tobacco use prevention and control in Africa
  3. Reinforce the institutional development of CTCA for an optimal performance of its functions
    and processes.

In 2020, CTCA developed a Tobacco Control Research Agenda (TCRA) with the aim of providing a guide for generating local evidence to drive tobacco control policy formulation and implementation in Africa.

Therefore, CTCA with support from ACBF is seeking researchers across the African continent to be awarded 6 small grants of USD 5000 to implement research that aligns with the TCRA thematic areas below:

  1. Patterns and trends of tobacco use and exposure for all tobacco products including the new
    products at country and regional levels (sex, age, region, types of products, new products).
  2. Effects of tobacco use and exposure on sustainable development (poverty, education, culture, food security, environment, HIV, TB, reproductive health, NCDs).
  3. Tobacco use and populations at risk (youth, young adults, women/gender, elderly, residents
    of urban areas, miltary, prisoners, mental health patients, populations in low socio-economic
    dwellings like slums).
  4. Tobacco control policy research and analysis (smoke free, TAPS, GHWs, ceasation) of cost
    effectiveness, impact, drivers, enablers, innovation, challenges, communication and advocacy
    for tobacco control.
  5. Sociocultural context of tobacco use
  6. Tobacco industry and tobacco control policy
  7. Tobacco production, alternative livelihoods and environment (distribution, value chain,
    environmental impact, historical and determinants of tobacco production)
  8. The economics of tobacco and tobacco control (product, pricing, illicit tobacco trade,
    taxation)

The full research Agenda can be accessed in English and in French.

Submissions

We are pleased to invite submissions from researchers based in Africa. Successful proposals should align with any of the 8 thematic areas of the CTCA Research Agenda. Innovative proposals that address critical issues and contribute to evidence-based policy and practice in the respective areas to inform Tobacco control in Africa are particularly encouraged.

Requirements

These grants will fund work that relates to the CTCA Research Agenda. Activities will include
proposal development, data collection and analysis, report writing and dissemination. All research to be implemented will be approved by the institutional review board and published in peer reviewed journals. These grants are intended for; 1) Researchers based in Tobacco Control Programs/Response; 2) post graduate students who would like to complete their research projects aligned to this call and 3) early and middle career researchers. It is required that this research is executed, and the report completed within 12 months. The applicant should have a mentor in an established institution.

Eligibility

Eligibility is restricted to Africa-based researchers. This refers to individuals who are (a) currently studying at a university or research institute in Africa, and/or b) currently working within a university, research institute, or in tobacco control in Africa. All persons associated with tobacco industry will not be funded and therefore should not apply. Successful applicants will be required to sign a declaration of interest that they do not have any relationship with tobacco industry.

Evaluation criteria

Proposals will be reviewed by a group of experts and researchers. Projects will be assessed against six, equally weighted evaluation criteria:

  • Knowledge contribution in respect to policy, strategy, and evidence to answer local
    challenges:
    Does the study articulate the research gap? Does study make a significant
    contribution toward advancing knowledge in the tobacco control field? Does it answer
    new questions or introduce novel methods, measures, or tobacco control interventions? Is
    it aligned to the WHO FCTC and tobacco control local context requirements? Does the
    study add to the existing body of research?
  • Policy relevance: Will results from the research have generalizable implications? How,
    if at all, will the “lessons learned” have relevance beyond the study? Will the study
    outcomes influence decisions in tobacco control?
  • Technical design: Do the methods appropriately answer the objectives and the questions
    outlined in the proposal? Is the proposed study feasible in one year?
  • Project viability: Are there any other logistical or political obstacles that might threaten
    the completion of the study, for example, government authorization or Human Subjects
    review, civil strife, social cultural sensitivity?
  • Value of research: Is the cost of the study commensurate with the value of expected
    contributions to policy? Are the planned activities justified and coherent?
  • Ethics: Reviewers will consider whether there are any risks of harm to research
    participants, what the proposed risk mitigation strategies are, and how the possible
    benefits of the research compare to the possible harms.

Application Process

Apply HERE not later than 30th June 2024, by 5pm EAT. Applicants are required to provide a
recommendation/support letter from their supervisors or heads of department.

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