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Makerere University to showcase Evidence-based Research in Parenting

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By Agnes Namaganda

On Thursday 22nd February 2024, Makerere University will hold a symposium to showcase the evidence-based research that has been undertaken in the field of parenting for over 10 years. This symposium will run under the theme, Promoting Child Health by Addressing Parenting and Family Disparities. This will take place from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility; Makerere University main campus.

Speaking about the symposium, Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator of the program that will host this symposium remarked that, “We are very happy and excited to hold the symposium because we have an opportunity to showcase our work and to share the policy implications with our stakeholders. There are so many stakeholders who know our work and appreciate it for example the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, as well as other NGOs.  The University community, in particular, has not had a great interaction with our work and so we would like to bring the symposium to the university so we can inform them about what is happening in the area of parenting research.”

Men holding a discussion during an activity of the PfR research. CHDC, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University.
Men holding a discussion during an activity of the PfR research.

Dr. Siu is a Senior Lecturer at the Child Health and Development Centre (CHDC) which is in the School of Medicine within the College of Health Sciences. He heads the Families, Parenting and Children’s Health Program at CHDC. In collaboration with her partners, CHDC has been working on the development, evaluation and scaling up of parenting programmes through five main projects;

  1. Parenting for Respectability (PfR) Project (2013 – 2022): The main goal of this project was the prevention of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and child maltreatment.
  2. Parenting Agenda Initiative (2019 -2022): The main goal here was to provide a national platform for stakeholders to shape the country’s parenting policy priorities.
  3. Global Parenting Initiative-Digitalization of the PfR programme: This program is providing free, evidence-based parenting support to every parent, everywhere.
  4. Going to Scale Project (2023-2026): investing in institutional capacity and systems to support the ongoing standardization of the Ugandan parenting landscape.
  5. PfR scaling up in Kenya and Tanzania (2017-2025): The goal here is to build capacity of over 50 parenting partners working in clusters in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

 Dr. Siu called upon the wider university community to attend the symposium for an experience about what CHDC is doing. He said; “This is a great opportunity and we will be happy to see people from the university community including top leaders, researchers and students. We want to showcase this work and we want to give an opportunity to those who share similar research interests within the College of Health Sciences and other colleges to look at what we can do together.” He also appreciated the collaborators including funders operating in the country and outside the country, that have supported this research.

CHDC will hold three other subsequent symposia after this for three consecutive months. The Centre has another program, Technology and Child Health Program, that will also showcase its work in the month of March under the Program Lead, Dr. Herbert Muyinda. The Health Systems Strengthening Programme whose Principal Investigator is Dr. Arthur Mpimbaza will hold the third symposium in the month of April. The last symposium will be hosted by Dr. Anthony Batte and Dr. Aggrey Dhabangi who head the Non-Communicable Diseases among Children Programme at CHDC.

Stakeholders in the field of parenting pose for a picture in the CHDC conference room after an online meeting at CHDC. CHDC, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences (CHS), Makerere University.
Stakeholders in the field of parenting pose for a picture in the CHDC conference room after an online meeting at CHDC.

Funding for this activity has been enabled by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. This funding was directed through the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training under the “Consolidating Early-career Academics Programme (CECAP, 2022-2024) at MaK and partner public universities. Dr. Mpimbaza who is a Senior Lecturer at CHDC is a Post Doc Fellow on this grant, through which this CHDC departmental strengthening sub-grant was awarded

About Child Health and Development Centre

To ensure efficiency, the research activities are organized under six research programmes as outlined below;

  • Health Systems Strengthening
  • Families, Parenting & Child Health
  • Non-Communicable Diseases among Children
  • Technology and Child Health
  • Capacity Building & Training
  • Early Childhood Development & Health Outcomes

The Centre currently has a number of research grants in different domains of health research and training. The main areas of focus include disease surveillance – HIV and AIDS, malaria, parenting and child protection, health technology, and knowledge transfer.

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Makerere University Research shows challenges facing Forcibly Displaced Persons (FDPs) with Chronic Disease in Northern Uganda

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Left to Right: Dr. Esther Nanfuka Kalule, a postdoc fellow on this study; Emma Ikwara, a researcher at CHDC; PhD student Onesmus Kamacooko at CHDC and Dr. Ritah Nakanjako interacting after the colloquium.

By Agnes Namaganda

Preliminary findings from a study by Child Health and Development Centre (CHDC) -Makerere University have revealed several challenges faced by Forcibly Displaced Persons (FDPs) with chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. This study is specifically looking at FDPs in northern Uganda. Accessing food, water, medicine, clothing, toilet facilities, privacy and support is a challenge for healthy FDPs but for those with chronic diseases, these provisions may mean the difference between life and death.

According to Drs, Ritah Nakanjako and Esther Nanfuka Kalule, who are post-doc fellows at Makerere University, FDPs with chronic diseases are unable to access facilities with medicines. Speaking at the February monthly colloquium of CHDC, Dr. Nanfuka said, “Medicines and medical forms are sometimes forgotten by these patients yet some do not know the names of their medicines. For others, these medicines get finished along the way due to the abrupt movements.” These disturbances in the continuity of care affects their health and wellbeing.

Left to Right: Dr. Esther Nanfuka, Dr. Ritah Nakanjako, Dr. Godfrey Siu who is giving the presenters feedback about their presentation and Dr. Aggrey Dhabangi.
Left to Right: Dr. Esther Nanfuka, Dr. Ritah Nakanjako, Dr. Godfrey Siu who is giving the presenters feedback about their presentation and Dr. Aggrey Dhabangi.

As an example, she referred to the constant need to monitor blood pressure or blood sugar for these FDPs. “Even when facilities are available, you may not have the money to refill medicines or you may not remember the name of the medicine.” She added that the stress and trauma of this kind of situation usually exacerbates these conditions.

Speaking about the rationale for doing this research, Dr. Nakanjako said that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are largely unrecognized and inadequately addressed in humanitarian settings, something which the Red Cross calls ‘a neglected crisis’.  Yet, studies conducted among refugees and asylum seekers across the world report a high burden of NCDs. Uganda hosts over 1.5m refugees, the highest proportion in sub-Saharan Africa with the majority comeing from South Sydan.

“The objective of this study is to examine the experiences of FDPs- which will contribute to knowledge on innovative ways of chronic disease care. This will also contribute to the management of NCDs in humanitarian, low resource settings,” Dr. Nakanjako explained.

Dr. Godfrey Siu (Left) and Dr. David Kyaddondo who is the Principal Investigator of this project interacting with other members of CHDC after the CHDC monthly colloquium which takes place every last Wednesday of the month.
Dr. Godfrey Siu (Left) and Dr. David Kyaddondo who is the Principal Investigator of this project interacting with other members of CHDC after the CHDC monthly colloquium which takes place every last Wednesday of the month.

This 5-year study that started in 2022 will run till 2026 and is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation under the Mobility-Global Medicine and Research Fund. It is a collaboration between three institutions; Makerere University, the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and the Sudan Centre for Strategic and Policy Studies in South Sudan. This research is taking place in Nyumanzi Reception Center in Adjumani district; Nyumanzi Refugee Settlement also in Adjumani district; IDP Settlements in South Sudan; and the Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlement in Yumbe District.

Other challenges revealed by the FDPs with chronic diseases include the fear of drinking recommended amounts of water before or during travel to manage urine and to avoid stop-overs for security reasons.

After arrival at Nyumanzi Reception Centre in Uganda, these FDPs with chronic diseases do not receive any special care. It is only those with communicable diseases like TB. Cholera or Covid19 that get special care. Other challenges include; “a limited range of drugs, maintenance of cold chains for insulin, rationed water, lack of drinking water, lack of sanitary facilities and the congestion.

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Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Short Course 2024

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Some of the 22 participants that successfully completed the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) certificate course joined by course facilitators and administrators show off their certificates in July 2022 at MakSPH. Makerere University School of Public Health, New Mulago Hospital Complex, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Did you know that with just a Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education (UACE) or its equivalent, along with at least 1 year of working experience in WASH, you qualify to join our Short Course in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene?

The Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health at Makerere University School of Public Health brings you yet another opportunity to enhance your skills and knowledge in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene from for the 2024 intake, scheduled to run from 20th May to 12th July 2024.

Designed to equip practicing individuals with the necessary attitudes, skills, and scientific knowledge for effective WASH management, this course is open to officers with limited training in WASH and Environmental Health Practitioners seeking continuous professional development. For more details and application instructions, please refer to the attached course poster or visit the course website at https://sph.mak.ac.ug/academics/water-sanitation-and-hygiene-wash.

Apply before Thursday, 28th March 2024 for a rewarding learning experience!

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Call for Abstracts: Annual Health Professions Education Scientific Conference

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The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Centre Mak tie) with participants at the Health Professions Education Conference held 11th to 12th May 2023 at Hotel Africana, Kampala Uganda.

The Health Professions Education and Training for Strengthening the Health System and Services in Uganda Project (HEPI-SHSSU) at Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) is organizing the Annual Health Professions Education Scientific Conference.

Venue: Hotel Africana, Kampala, Uganda

Conference Dates: 10th, 11th and 12th April 2024

Theme: Advances in Health Professions Education:  Research, Innovations in Teaching and Learning, Quality Assurance

Sub-Themes

  1. Quality Assurance and Accreditation
  2. Health Professions Education Research
  3. E-Learning 
  4. Innovations in teaching and learning
  5. Graduate Education
  6. Simulation-based Learning

Abstracts are welcome in any of the above areas for oral presentations, mini-workshops, thematic poster sessions, and didactic sessions.

We welcome abstracts from all people involved in the education and training of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals, students, health providers, and other stakeholders.

Abstract Submission:

Abstracts should be structured into:

Background, Objectives, Methods, Results, Conclusion

For Education innovations: What was the problem, What was done, Results, and Conclusion (300-word limit).

Include the details of the corresponding author, the author(s), their contacts, and Affiliation.

Send your abstract to: hepishssu@gmail.com

Deadline for Submission of abstracts: Saturday 23rd March 2024

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