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Mak School of Public Health, Ministry of Health to Conduct National Mental Health Integration Study

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As mental health gains recognition as a critical aspect of overall well-being, a pioneering study is set to delve into its integration in schools, communities and healthcare units across Uganda. 

With funding from the World Bank, this landmark study titled; “Assessing the Extent of Integration of Mental Health Services into Primary Healthcare, Community and Schools” will focus on four purposively selected districts in Uganda – Adjumani in the Northern region, Bushenyi in Western Uganda, Kapchorwa in Eastern Uganda, and Butambala in Central Uganda. 

With the potential to revolutionize mental health practices in schools, this study will through rigorous research and analysis shed light on the implementation and impact of mental health integration initiatives in schools, uncovering new insights that could shape policies and practices for generations to come.

A team of stakeholders at the Inception Meeting.
A team of stakeholders at the Inception Meeting.

Latest data from the international Burden of Disease Study indicates that mental illness and substance use disorders account for 3.35% of the total disease burden in Uganda. According to the latest WHO data, at least 7.4% of Ugandans are affected by common mental disorders particularly depression, anxiety and alcohol use disorders.

Comparable to high-income countries, depression and generalized anxiety disorders in Uganda, are prevalent at 5.3% and 4.1% respectively. Uganda ranks among the top five countries globally with the highest depression prevalence. Poverty, HIV infection, disasters, and adverse environmental conditions are factors that increase the risk and consequence of mental health conditions in Uganda.

It is against this background that the World Bank Group solicited for consultancy services for a nation-wide study to assess the extent of integration of mental health services into primary healthcare, schools and communities.

Dr. Juliet Nakku, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and Executive Director of Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital, during an inception meeting of mental health stakeholders on April 13, stated that the study will reveal the prevalence and types of mental health issues in these settings and their impact on community well-being.

This study that will be conducted by a team of mental health experts from the Ministry of Health and Makerere University School of Public Health. This study will assess the availability, access, and quality of mental health services in PHC, communities, and schools.

The study’s Principal Investigator Dr. Nakku further emphasized that the research will assess existing services, identify gaps/barriers, and explore opportunities/challenges in integrating mental health into primary healthcare and schools. This will involve examining policies, resources, support systems, and obstacles to integration.

Dr. Juliet Nakku, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and Executive Director of Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital, during an inception meeting of mental health stakeholders on April 13, 2023.
Dr. Juliet Nakku, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and Executive Director of Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital, during an inception meeting of mental health stakeholders on April 13, 2023.

Over the last 20 years, Uganda has taken measures to enhance its healthcare system and promote better health outcomes for its population. In 1996, the government-initiated efforts to integrate mental health into primary healthcare, providing training for general healthcare workers to identify and address common mental health disorders.

Dr. Hafsa Lukwata, Assistant Commissioner for NCDs and Mental Health at the Ministry of Health, emphasizes that there is increased risk of mental health problems among specific sub-populations, including children, the elderly, refugees, and individuals in uniform.

Dr. Lukwata asserts that the government is addressing mental health through policies that highlight its importance as a fundamental component of health at all care levels. These policies promote decentralization, integration of evidence-based services, and partnerships to increase mental health knowledge and service provision.

Dr. Hafsa Lukwata, Assistant Commissioner for NCDs and Mental Health at the Ministry of Health speaks during the inception at MoH.
Dr. Hafsa Lukwata, Assistant Commissioner for NCDs and Mental Health at the Ministry of Health speaks during the inception at MoH.

She further stresses that mental health conditions impact individuals throughout their lifespan, affecting quality of life. This includes early childhood, adolescence, pregnancy, adulthood, as well as specific groups such as men in uniform, workplace populations, and the elderly who are at an increased risk for mental illnesses.

Uganda, according to Dr. Hafsa invested USD 25m in 2009 to improve mental health facilities and provide training for health workers, with support from the African Development Bank.

“We have set up several health facilities and trained numerous health workers with the support of the African Development Bank,” says Dr. Hafsa. “However, there have been no studies to assess the impact of these investments. Routine data from the Ministry of Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) indicates an increase in new patients treated for mental health conditions.”

She adds that improvements have been made to the structure of mental health care at all levels to increase the number and mix of mental health professionals.

Despite progress, as noted in the 2018 report of the Sectoral Committee on Health, Uganda still grapples with a significant mental health treatment gap of 85%, leaving only 15% of those in need with access to care. Primary healthcare facilities often refer individuals to higher-level tertiary care, and mental health stigma persists, with limited awareness among the general population, as highlighted by the World Bank.

To bridge the gap, WHO suggests integrating mental health services into PHC systems in countries like Uganda. However, challenges such as prioritization, poverty, cultural differences, health system issues, medication supply, workforce shortages, and inflexibility pose barriers to this integration.

A team of researchers, stakeholders including MoH, World Bank, at the Inception Meeting.
A team of researchers, stakeholders including MoH, World Bank, at the Inception Meeting.

Dr. Nakku acknowledges that mental health has received policy priority in Uganda, but gaps remain in delivering services at primary care, community, and school levels, leaving some populations underserved.

“Mental health problems are risk factors for various public health concerns, such as road traffic accidents and injuries. The role of alcohol and substance use in these issues is significant. Integrating mental health into primary health care may be a cost-effective solution with desirable treatment outcomes. There have been efforts to integration. We now want to assess the extent of integration into PHC, communities and schools in Uganda,” explained Dr. Nakku.

The study aims to evaluate the Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAP) related to mental health care/services among a total of 1380 individuals, including 45 students/pupils from each of the 33 schools. The assessment will focus on both teachers, learners’ senior women teachers, school nurses and matrons.

Dr. Fredrick E. Makumbi, an Associate Professor of Biostatistics at MakSPH outlined how the study will use qualitative and quantitative data to comprehensively understand mental health integration in Uganda. He provided specifics on the quantitative component, including the study population, sample size, sampling procedure, and data analysis plans. He stressed that the collected data will yield indicators for developing a composite measure of integration, stratified by primary healthcare, communities, and schools.

Dr. Fredrick E. Makumbi, an Associate Professor of Biostatistics at MakSPH speaks during the inception meeting.
Dr. Fredrick E. Makumbi, an Associate Professor of Biostatistics at MakSPH speaks during the inception meeting.

“This study is quite interesting because we have primary health care units as a study population. We shall randomly pick study participants from the villages and schools served by the health care units. We also have plans to construct an Integration of Mental Health Services/Care Composite (IMHC) based on scores from the items/indicators of integration at each of the 3 levels. Each indicator present will be scored ‘1’ else ‘0’, and a total score will be obtained as the sum of all individual indicator scores. The proportion of schools/communities/PHC facilities generated will be based on an agreed cut-off,” explained Dr. Fred Makumbi, a Co-Principal Investigator of the MHISU study.

Professor Rhoda Wanyenze, the Dean and study Advisory team member expressed her enthusiasm for hosting a study highlighting that mental health was “an integral part of our lives.” Accordingly, she stressed MakSPH’s commitment to increasing mental health knowledge through research and expressed her delight in partnering with Butabika Hospital, citing their history of effective teamwork. “The School of Public Health will document the learnings from this study and this study is not a one-off.”

Professor Rhoda Wanyenze, the Dean and study Advisory team member expressed her enthusiasm for hosting a study.
Professor Rhoda Wanyenze, the Dean and study Advisory team member expressed her enthusiasm for hosting a study.

Dr. Wilson Winstons Muhwezi, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, provided insights on the qualitative component of the study during the discussion. He emphasized the purpose of describing and providing context for integration, and how the study team aims to explain trends, relationships, consistencies, and inconsistencies through the numerous question items they have put together.

“We think if we are able to go to very many sub-populations that we have marked out for purposes of collecting this qualitative data, we shall be able to provide context and meaning according to the data sources themselves so that we have better appreciation of what is going on,” says Dr. Muhwezi.

Dr. Wilson Winstons Muhwezi, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Makerere University College of Health Sciences.
Dr. Wilson Winstons Muhwezi, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Makerere University College of Health Sciences.

Dr. Muhwezi expressed excitement to be part of a study that recognizes the value of qualitative data in increasing the wealth of knowledge. “As far as I am concerned, I am very excited about this study because rarely do we get to do studies where the qualitative approach is given prominence like the quantitative approach. I think we will get good information when we come from the field.”

Dr. Oyoo Charles Akiya, the Commissioner NCDs-Ministry of Health, expressed the Ministry’s keen interest in the upcoming study on Ugandan mental health during an inception meeting chaired on their behalf. He emphasized that understanding the mental health needs of Uganda will lead to better interventions and contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-being.

Dr. Oyoo Charles Akiya, the Commissioner NCDs-Ministry of Health.
Dr. Oyoo Charles Akiya, the Commissioner NCDs-Ministry of Health.

According to Dr. Oyoo, Ministry of Health will support the study team and that it was eager to learn more about the study and how they can be of service. He expressed gratitude to the World Bank, MakSPH, and Butabika Hospital for their contribution to improving mental health care in Uganda.

Dr. Hafsa Lukwata speaks during the inception at MoH.
Dr. Hafsa Lukwata speaks during the inception at MoH.

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Mak Researchers Partner with Safe Bangle Technologies to Roll out a Real-Time Domestic Violence Reporting Bracelet

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A Woman putting on the Real-Time Domestic Violence Reporting Bracelet. Makerere University School of Public Health/Resilient Africa Network (MakSPH/RAN), Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Somero Uganda, Safe Bangle Technologies roll out of a real-time domestic violence reporting bracelet. Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

By Joseph Odoi

A Consortium of Researchers from Makerere University School of Public Health/Resilient Africa Network (MakSPH/RAN), Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Somero Uganda together with Safe Bangle Technologies have rolled out a real time domestic violence reporting bracelet.

    This roll out was made possible with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the PARTNERSHIPS FOR ENHANCED ENGAGEMENT IN RESEARCH (PEER) program and the National Academies of Sciences.

    Dr. Juliet Kiguli, the Principal Investigator from Makerere University, along with Dr. Roy Mayega, Deputy Chief of Party at RAN, and Dr. Agnes Nyabigambo, the study coordinator, initiated the PEER program to identify entry points for testing SafeBangle Technologies (a social enterprise based at Resilient Africa Network (RAN) with a mission to create a safer and more secure environment for women and children through innovative, affordable, and creative technology solutions to curb GBV in Africa.) wearable safety bracelet in the informal settlements. This decision stemmed from findings of increased intimate partner violence (IPV) and gender-based violence (GBV) in three informal settlements in Kampala, Uganda, following a longitudinal study, geospatial mapping, and interviews. The project, titled ‘The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Gender-Based Violence among Women and Girls in Informal Settlements in Kampala,’ highlighted the urgent need for affordable and immediate reporting mechanisms for violence.”

    ‘’While carrying out a study after the Covid-19 Pandemic, we identified gaps when it comes to reporting and response to Gender Based Violence (GBV) among women in informal settlements. Therefore, we used incorporated the SafeBangle intervention to solve the problem of lack of affordable and immediate reporting mechanisms for violence using a bracelet that reports violence in real time’’ explained Dr. Kiguli.

    Innovation details

    According to Saul Kabali and Messach Luminsa, the innovators behind SafeBangle from SafeBangle Technologies, hosted at the Resilient African Network Lab. ‘’The inspiration behind SafeBangle came from a deeply personal place. ‘’We heard countless stories of women who couldn’t call for help during moments of danger. We were deeply affected by the story of Aisha, a young woman in a rural village who was attacked while walking home alone at night. With no way to call for help, she felt helpless and vulnerable. This incident made us realize the critical need for immediate reporting alert tools, accessible to women like Aisha. We knew technology could play a crucial role and this incident awakened a strong desire in us to create a solution’’

    Saul Kabali, Executive Director and Chief Operations Lead at SafeBangle Technologies explaining how the bracelet works at 2023 Imara Girls Festival exhibition. Makerere University School of Public Health/Resilient Africa Network (MakSPH/RAN), Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Somero Uganda, Safe Bangle Technologies roll out of a real-time domestic violence reporting bracelet. Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
    Saul Kabali, Executive Director and Chief Operations Lead at SafeBangle Technologies explaining how the bracelet works at 2023 Imara Girls Festival exhibition.

    “While developing SafeBangle, we tested with the users in both rural and urban contexts. We piloted the innovation around Kampala with support from Digital Human Righs Lab and Naguru Youth Health Network as well as it in five districts of Karamoja region with support from Save the Children and Response Innovation Lab. Right now it has become handy in Kamapala‘s informal settlements. We envision a future where SafeBangle becomes a standard tool in the fight against GBV, ensuring every woman feels safe and secure as it has the potential to transform how we respond to GBV in Africa” added Kabali.

    HOW THE SAFEBANGLE TECHNOLOGY WORKS

    The SafeBangle is wearable technology similar to a smartwatch that sends an alarm by SMS to people chosen by a woman herself if she feels threatened.

    How the SafeBangle Real-time Domestic Violence Reporting Bracelet works.  Makerere University School of Public Health/Resilient Africa Network (MakSPH/RAN), Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Somero Uganda, Safe Bangle Technologies roll out of a real-time domestic violence reporting bracelet. Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
    How the SafeBangle Real-time Domestic Violence Reporting Bracelet works.

    In terms of the acceptability of the SafeBangle innovation as a solution to GBV among at-risk women in informal settlements Of the 72 adolescent girls and women who received the SafeBangle, 22 activated the reporting button, resulting in 19 receiving immediate and appropriate support, including counseling, police intervention, and health services.

    All adolescent girls and women who experienced GBV received a phone call from Somero Uganda to discuss the most appropriate intervention, including counseling, police cases being handled by the probation office, referral for health services, and post-exposure prophylaxis. All the GBV survivors received support and are still receiving continuous follow-up.

    Researchers conducted a survey among 644 girls and women in Kinawataka (Nakawa Division) and Bwaise (Kawempe Division) to gain insights into awareness and understanding of sexual and gender-based violence among adolescent girls and women in informal settlements. The survey measured socioeconomic factors, mental health symptoms, and exposure to GBV. Focus group interviews were conducted with a separate sample of women over 18 in the settlements to explore responses to GBV.

    Preliminary impact of SafeBangle on tracked survivors.  Makerere University School of Public Health/Resilient Africa Network (MakSPH/RAN), Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Somero Uganda, Safe Bangle Technologies roll out of a real-time domestic violence reporting bracelet. Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
    Preliminary impact of SafeBangle on tracked survivors.

    A tabular representation of the key findings and lessons learned from your study on gender-based violence (GBV)

    Key FindingsLessons learned
    Prevalence of GBV.
    – Overall prevalence: 34.1% of women and girls reported experiencing GBV.
    – Among adolescents (15-19 years): Over 50% reported experiencing GBV.
    – The pandemic highlighted the need for accessible and comprehensive support services for GBV survivors.
    – Schools emerged as crucial safe spaces for girls, emphasizing their well-being during crises.
    – Economic independence proved crucial, enabling women to leave abusive environments.
    – Involving men and boys as allies in GBV prevention efforts is essential.
    Age-related trends– GBV prevalence tends to decrease with increasing age.
    Physical and health consequences.– Women and girls suffered physical violence, injuries, and deaths, primarily from domestic violence and unsafe abortions due to limited healthcare access.
    – GBV resulted in unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) like HIV/AIDS.
    Social and economic impact. .– GBV contributed to family breakups, strained marriages due to financial stress.
    – Economic hardships forced some women and girls into transactional sex, exposing them to further health risks and exploitation.
    – Pandemic-related job losses and economic constraints increased financial dependence on abusers, trapping women in violent situations.
    – School closures and increased household responsibilities limited women’s job opportunities and subjected them to sexual harassment.
    Psychological effects– Survivors experienced guilt, shame, anxiety, fear, and suicidal thoughts due to ongoing abuse.
    Long-term effects– Post-COVID-19, survivors faced disrupted education, early marriages, pregnancies, social stigma, and persistent mental health issues.
    A tabular representation of the key findings and lessons learned from your study on gender-based violence (GBV)

    Reproductive Health Consequences: GBV resulted in unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) like HIV/AIDS.

    Family Breakdown: The rise in GBV led to family breakups as women fled abusive relationships. Marriages were strained due to increased financial stress.

    Transactional Sex for Survival: Desperate for basic needs due to job losses and economic hardship, some women and girls resorted to transactional sex, exposing them to further health risks and exploitation.

    One study participant stated, “The time of COVID-19 was so terrible for some of us. We in fact got a lot of diseases from it because you would want to get food and didn’t have money. That way you would be forced to get a man who would use you and pay.” – (FGD_Girls_19–24years_Kinawataka).

    Economic Effects: COVID-19 restrictions caused job losses and limited economic opportunities, particularly for women in the informal sector. This increased financial dependence on abusers and trapped women in violent situations.

    Limited Access to Employment: School closures and increased household chores limited women’s ability to seek employment, perpetuating gender inequality in the workforce. Some faced sexual harassment from potential employers.

    Psychological Effects: Survivors of GBV experienced guilt, shame, anxiety, fear, and even suicidal thoughts due to the constant threat and unpredictability of abuse.

    Post-COVID Effects: GBV survivors faced long-term consequences, including disrupted education, early marriage, early pregnancy, social stigma, and persistent mental health issues.

    Lessons learned

    The pandemic highlighted the need for accessible and comprehensive support services for survivors of GBV, the significance of schools as safe spaces for girls, and the need to prioritize their well-being during crises. Economic empowerment emerged as a significant protective factor for women and girls. Those with greater economic independence were better equipped to leave abusive environments and secure their safety and well-being, while dependent ones suffered abuses. Engaging men and boys as allies in the fight against GBV and involving them in prevention efforts can help promote positive behavior change and foster more equitable relationships.

    Recommendations

    To address GBV against women and girls, the researchers recommend the following moving forward;

    1. There is need to integrate technology-driven solutions like SafeBangle into national GBV prevention and response strategies. SafeBangle can be a valuable tool for policymakers as cases of violence that would have gone unreported will be brought to light and the would-be victims will be able to get immediate help from trusted relatives and friends.
    2. Provide economic opportunities and vocational training for women and girls to enhance their financial independence and reduce vulnerability to violence. There is therefore a need to introduce education and training programs that empower women and girls, by providing them with skills, resources, and opportunities to start their own ventures and to participate fully in community affairs.
    3. Strengthen and enforce existing laws and policies related to GBV, including laws against domestic violence, child marriage, and sexual assault without discrimination be it for law enforcers, leaders, and employers where such cases were suffocated. Ensure that perpetrators are held accountable through swift and fair legal processes that have no room for corruption.
    4. Establish and promote effective, accessible, and confidential reporting mechanisms for GBV incidents that provide confidence and can be trusted by survivors to enhance reporting of such incidences of GBV. Community Engagement and Involvement: Involve community leaders, religious leaders, and elders in discussions about GBV to promote gender equality, change social norms, and reinforce the message that violence against women and girls is unacceptable.
    5. Launch extensive public awareness campaigns to challenge harmful gender norms, report cases of GBV, raise awareness about the consequences of GBV, and promote positive behaviors and attitudes towards women and girls.
    6. Implement comprehensive sexuality education in schools and communities, educating young people about healthy relationships, consent, and reproductive rights to be able to make informed decisions about their own lives and well-being.
    7. Engage men and boys as allies in the fight against GBV, encouraging them to challenge harmful masculinity norms and behaviors. This will help minimize GBV because mostly they are the perpetrators. Strengthening Support for Survivors: Provide ongoing support and follow-up services for survivors of GBV mostly counselling services to aid their recovery and facilitate their reintegration into society.
    8. Provide ongoing support and follow-up services for survivors of GBV, mostly counseling services to aid their recovery and facilitate their reintegration into society.
    9. Provide avenues to seek free or subsidized services by survivors of GBV medical services and legal processes by survivors of GBV to enhance reporting of GBV cases, access to medical care, counseling, legal support, and other essential services.
    10. Encourage and support more research and innovations like SafeBangle to curb incidents of GBV.
    11. A comprehensive and inclusive approach is required. The efforts should involve government institutions, civil society organizations, community leaders, and individuals working together to address the root causes and provide support to survivors.
    12. Involve media in GBV prevention activities and for enhancing campaigns against GBV mostly on radio and TV.

    MORE ABOUT THE STUDY

    The core project team, included researchers at Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) led by Prof.  Julia Dickson-Gomez, SafeBangle Technologies, and Somero Uganda, a community-focused NGO, began the project by designing their research protocol and taking a CITI Program course on human subjects social/behavioral research. Team members also met with the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development (MGLSG) in support of the gender-based violence policy process, Ministry of Health and local government. They also established relationships with the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and Nakawa and Kawempe probation offices to support legal processes for the GBV survivors. SafeBangle Team also received an award from Defenders Protection Initiative.

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    Digital Mobile Technologies to Study Tuberculosis: A Multi-Discplinary Program

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    An aerial view of the Makerere University School of Public Health construction site on the Main Campus. To the Right is the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) and in the background are Dag Hammaskjold Hall (Green roof) and University Hall (Brown tiles).

    A TRAINING PROGRAM SPONSORED BY FOGARTY INTERNATIONAL CENTER NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, USA

    INFORMATIONAL SESSION

    Makerere University School of Public Health under D43 multi-disciplinary training program in digital mobile technologies to study tuberculosis that was recently funded by the NIH, through the University of Georgia (UGA) has an opportunity for funding of a masters’ research thesis. This is available to two (02) first year students of the Graduate programmes offered at Makerere University who have progressed to concept proposal development stage of their graduate program. These should be in good academic standing and have or are about to complete year 1 in Academic Year 2023/24. The support will start at the beginning of Academic Year 2024/25, i.e., end of August 2024 when the students are starting their year 2.  Students of geography and or digital health related courses are encouraged to apply, females too.  Students will be provided with secondary data to address the following, or similar, issues relating to tuberculosis (TB):

    1. Characterizing mobility patterns between urban and rural areas of Uganda using archived cell-phone (CDR) metadata
    2. Correlation between self-reported geolocated mobility patterns of TB patients and CDR data
    3. Differences in mobility patterns of TB patient’s pre-diagnosis and post-diagnosis
    4. Gender differences and relationship between IGRA and TST in a prospective cohort
    5. Patterns of change in serial IGRA test results by sex, age, HIV status
    6. Temporal changes in contact, mobility and geographic networks in TB converters and non-converters
    7. Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) of social contacts and location patterns of movement by residents at risk for TB infection

    Interested students are encouraged to attend an information session on Wednesday 17th July 2024 at MakSPH Annex Kololo where details about the research questions and funding opportunity will be provided to prospective applicants. Prospective applicants will be required to work with their mentors and training grant personnel to develop a 2-5-page concept that will be vetted for possible funding by training faculty of the training program.

    Interested students should register their attendance with the training Coordinator, Mr Ivan Mutyaba by sending an email expressing interest in attending the session to imutyaba@musph.ac.ug by close of business on Thursday, 11th July 2024.

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    METS Newsletter June 2024

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    Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) Dean, Prof Rhoda Wanyenze (Left), MoH Director General, Dr. Henry Mwebesa (Right) and other stakeholders join Dr. Amy Boore (2nd Right) to cut cake at her farewell event. Golden Tulip Hotel, 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 June 2024 Newsletter

    • Tracking Trends in HIV Outcomes: The Implementation of HIV Case-Based Surveillance
      • METS in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and various implementing partners, is spearheading the HIV Case-Based Surveillance (CBS) initiative across Uganda. By February 2024, CBS had been activated in 504 health facilities, with 349 sites (69%) actively transmitting data.
      • Trends of New HIV Diagnosis: An analysis trends over a 20-year period (2000-2022) revealed an increase in new HIV diagnosis over time, peaking in 2014 and 2018, before starting to decline. Diagnoses among females consistently exceeded those among males each year.
      • Case-Based Surveillance (CBS) complimenting other HIV surveillance programs: CBS provides valuable insights into infection patterns and highlights the need for targeted interventions, particularly among females. Next steps include continued scale up of CBS implementation to reach 80% of ART sites; improving data transmission from facility to the national repository to achieve at least 90% of the CBS activated sites; and strengthening data analytics and use of the data for program improvement.
    • Enhancing HIV Prevention Data Collection Through Bootcamps
      • METS in collaboration with HISP Uganda held a workshop in Mbarara to update the Health Management Information System (HMIS) tools for PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) in the HIV Prevention Tracker. The workshop focused on digitizing paper forms to efficiently collect data on key and priority populations.
    • Electronic Medical Records (EMR) upgrades in Eastern Uganda
      • The two-week activity kicked off with a week-long training session at Northeast Villa in Kumi focused on the enhancements of UgandaEMR+, including improved point-of-care (POC) functionalities and data visualization techniques.
      • The initiative successfully trained over 15 AIDS Information Centre (AIC) staff members, including M&E leads, IT personnel, data officers, and M&E managers, in the practical use of UgandaEMR+. Additionally, the two facilities, Ochero HCIII and Kapelebyong HCIV, were upgraded and their staff trained on the new system.
    • Tribute to Dr. Joshua Musinguzi (9/09/1963 – 7/06/2024)
      • Dr. Joshua Musinguzi’s efforts to minimize HIV incidence and death strategically focused on translating knowledge into policies and actions, which has helped Uganda manage the HIV epidemic.
    • Gallery
      • Bidding farewell to Dr. Amy Boore, Program Director, Division of Global Health Protection – CDC
      • Analysing the UgandaEMR Clinical Laboratory Module
      • UgandaEMR+ training for USAID SITES
      • Training for clinicians at Ruharo Mission Hospital on SARI and ILI
      • HIV Treatment Services (HTS) Implementers Meeting

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