The Health Professions Education Conference – 2023 themed, ‘Health Professions Education for Improved Health Outcomes’ was held on the 11th to 12th May 2023 with calls from stakeholders for competency-based education, quality assurance in training institutions, partnerships and enhanced supervision. The conference was organised by Health Professional Education Partnership Initiative (HEPI-SHSSU) and the East African Health Professionals Educators Association (EAHPEA).
HEPI-SHSSU is an NIH funded project hosted by Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) working in partnership with Busitema University, Kabale University, Clarke International University, Mulago School of Nursing and Midwifery, Yale University, John Hopkins University and African Centre for Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST). The vision of the HEPI-SHSSU partnership is to transform Health Professions Education (HPE).
In her remarks, Professor Sarah Kiguli – Principal Investigator, HEPI-SHSSU welcomed participants to the conference. She expressed the privilege of the initiative in hosting the conference together with EAHPEA. ‘In this initiative, we believe, it is relevant to have all the HPE stakeholders working together to transform the sector which is key in creating strong health systems leading to improved health outcomes. This can only be achieved by engaging and working with all stakeholders present here’ she said.
The keynote address was read by Dr. Sanny Okuruafo, Technical Advisor – WHO Uganda Office who represented Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam – WHO Representative in Uganda. The address gave insights of why the health workforce is a key enabler for achieving the health-related sustainable development goals considering their role in ensuring health and well being of the population; how Competency-based education is the foundation for training health workers to address the contemporary health needs of populations; and the discourse on competency – based education in recent years and how the Global Competency and Outcomes Framework for Universal Health Coverage was birthed in 2022. The keynote address underlined that:
- Enhancement of health professions education lies in allowing a comprehensive and more cohesive approach to identifying the needed competencies that enable effective performance. This enables the health workforce to gain competencies that are on demand by the employers.
- In enhancing health professions education in Uganda, the Framework offers an opportunity to ensure that competency-based curricula from competency-based outcomes are developed based on:
- the essential service package,
- legislation, policies, regulations, and guidelines guiding service delivery and health worker practice.
- Occupational role and scope of practice for health worker category
- Local epidemiology, mortality, and morbidity, and
- Emergency risk assessments from All-hazards emergency risk assessments
The address concluded that the aforementioned proposals would ensure that ‘the health workers produced in Uganda will be trained using curricula that is rooted in the health and health system needs towards improved individual and population health, and efficient management and organization of the health sector of the country’.
Dr. Woldermariam implored health professional educators and health training institutions to embrace the WHO Global Competency and Outcomes Framework that will ensure that health workers produced in Uganda have the competencies and behaviors to meet Uganda’s health and population needs in the development and emergency contexts. ‘This will ultimately improve the health and well being of Ugandans, and ensure that Uganda achieves its National development and health sector goals’ he concluded.
Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice Chancellor – Makerere University commended HEPI-SHSSU and MakCHS for convening HPE stakeholders to deliberate on this important issue.
Professor Nawangwe stressed that it is crucial that health training institutions come-up with appropriate innovative methods of training and education of current and future health professionals. He also reiterated the importance of retention of faculty through improvement of terms and conditions of service as well as support of career progress. The Vice Chancellor also called for an evaluation of the contribution of health workers to the economy of a nation and the effect if training institutions do not produce health professionals.
‘I wish to emphasise that HPE is important for national development and call on all training institutions to ensure that our curriculum as well as training matches international standards’, Professor Nawangwe advised.
Some of the issues arising from the plenary discussion included:
- Large number of students in health training institutions is affecting clinical practice and the teacher to student ratio.
- Institutions are moving towards student-centred learning where they are encouraged to research and make presentations
- Soft skills and practicum are embedded in the curriculum
- Mentors in health centres require payment from training institutions which is a challenge.
- Competency-based training has been adopted by the training institutions
- The attitude of students admitted has continued to improve.
- While curricula have been reviewed, there remains gaps in the instruction/teaching
- There are staffing gaps at health centres where students are sent for practicum thereby causing supervision gaps.
- Inter-professional learning (for example training doctors and nurses together because they work together)
Increase number of faculty and refresher training whenever curricula are reviewed to keep abreast with new trends.
Mak’s GMI Labs Authorized to Conduct DNA Paternity Testing
The Genomics, Molecular, and Immunology Laboratories (GMI Labs), operating under the auspices of the Makerere University Biomedical Research Center (MakBRC), have achieved another significant milestone in their journey of diagnostic excellence. The labs, renowned for their pivotal role in infectious and non-infectious disease research, have received official approval from the Director General Health Services at the Ministry of Health (MoH), Uganda, to conduct DNA Paternity Tests.
Situated at the Dept of Immunology & Molecular Biology under the School of Biomedical Sciences at the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, the GMI Labs have been at the forefront of cutting-edge research, diagnostic testing, and training initiatives. Their remarkable contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic, where they conducted nearly a million PCR tests, underscored their unwavering commitment to public health and scientific advancement. The labs’ exemplary performance and reliability were further highlighted by their successful management of two critical COVID-19 prevalence surveys. The findings of these surveys served as foundational data for crucial decisions guiding the country’s lockdown strategies and phased reopening, earning commendation from the President and the Ministry of Health.
This latest authorization from the Ministry of Health marks a significant expansion of the GMI Labs’ diagnostic capabilities. With the approval to conduct DNA Paternity Tests, the labs are now equipped to offer a crucial service addressing the need for accurate and reliable genetic testing for determining biological parentage. In a letter dated 22nd November 2023, the Director General Health Services emphasized the laboratory’s rigorous adherence to international standards, proficiency in molecular biology techniques, and their proven track record in delivering precise and credible results. This approval further solidifies the labs’ position as a trusted institution for advanced genetic diagnostics in Uganda.
Prof. Moses L Joloba, the Director of the GMI Labs, expressed immense pride in the team’s dedication and expertise that led to this authorization. He highlighted the labs’ commitment to upholding the highest standards of ethical practice, confidentiality, and accuracy in DNA paternity testing, ensuring the delivery of dependable results crucial for legal, personal, and familial purposes.
The inclusion of DNA Paternity Testing within the GMI Labs’ list of services aligns with their overarching goal of advancing healthcare through state-of-the-art diagnostics, research, and education. This milestone represents not only a significant achievement for the labs but also a valuable resource for individuals seeking reliable and comprehensive genetic testing services. As the GMI Labs continue their unwavering commitment to excellence in healthcare and research, this new capability reaffirms their pivotal role in advancing the frontiers of molecular diagnostics and genetic testing in Uganda, working closely with reputable institutions such as Makerere University Hospital and other top-notch health facilities.
MNCH e-Post Issue 121: Learning from Nsambya Hospital Human Milk Bank to inform national scale-up & save preterm babies
Welcome to this exclusive interview with Prof. Peter Waiswa, lead expert from the Makerere University Centre of Excellence for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health. Dr. Victoria Nakibuuka from St. Francis Nsambya Hospital, and Dr. Jesca Nsungwa from Ministry of Health Uganda. In this video, they discuss a groundbreaking innovation in Uganda’s healthcare landscape: the country’s first-ever human milk bank at St. Francis Hospital Nsambya. This initiative represents a significant stride towards improving the survival rates of premature and vulnerable infants by ensuring access to essential breast milk, even when mothers are unable to produce enough. Watch Video
METS Newsletter October 2023
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 October 2023 Newsletter
- Strategies for Enhanced Disease Surveillance and Public Health Response in Uganda
- The MoH Department of Integrated Epidemiology Surveillance & Public Health Emergencies (IES&PHE) Head, Commissioner Allan Muruta (Dr) visited METS to acquaint himself with the various surveillance activities supported by the Program.
- Commissioner Muruta emphasized the need to build the capacity of districts and regions to conduct surveillance activities by training the relevant staff and establishing surveillance focal points at health facility levels.
- He further emphasized the importance of linking laboratory data to the District Health Information System (DHIS2) and ensuring that different systems are interoperable.
- Improving quality of data for HIV testing services (HTS) through regular assessments
- MoH has been conducting Data Quality Assessments and Improvement (DQAI) activities to inform program planning, monitoring, and performance management. HIV testing services (HTS) inter was conducted in 16 regions, 81 districts, and 111 health facilities in partnership with 26 Implementing partners.
- The HTS DQA has improved data management, infrastructure, and understanding of indicators. Specific staff assignment at each HTS entry point has proven effective, and use of the UgandaEMR system for reporting has yielded positive results.
- Shaping Uganda’s Healthcare Data Landscape
- METS has maintained a strong collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) providing invaluable technical support in developing various strategic guidelines for the country. These guidelines include the Uganda Health Information Exchange and Interoperability (HIE) Guidelines, the Uganda Health Data Protection and Confidentiality (HDPC) Guidelines, and the Uganda Health Data Sharing, Access, and Use Guidelines.
- HIE and HDPC guidelines have received the endorsement of the Health Information, Innovation and Research (HIIRE) Technical Working Group (TWG), awaiting presentation to the senior management team at the MoH for final approval.
- Empowering Health Professionals: PrEP Training in Hoima District
- MakSPH-METS has taken a proactive stance in supporting Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) for key populations through the development, management, and conducting trainings on the use of the PrEP tracker system across various agencies.
- METS conducted a 5-day training on the KP/PrEP Tracker system in Hoima district. Moving forward, facility staff will be able to enter data on PrEP services into the system in a timely manner, analyze the data, and use it for program improvement.
- HIV testing services (HTS) Data Quality Assessments and Improvement DQAIs
- Interagency cervical cancer on-site mentorships
- Orientation in KP tracker-Soroti
- TDY from CDC headquarters visit to METS
- M&E orientation meetings for new Implementing Partners
- Planning meeting for Cross Border Data Sharing-Busia
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