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1.  An assessment of Makerere University College of Health Sciences: optimizing health research capacity to meet Uganda’s priorities 
Background
Health research is critical to the institutional mission of the Makerere College of Health Sciences (MakCHS). Optimizing the alignment of health research capacity at MakCHS with the health needs and priorities of Uganda, as outlined in the country’s Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP), is a deliberate priority, a responsibility, and a significant opportunity for research. To guide this strategic direction, an assessment of MakCHS’s research grants and publication portfolio was conducted.
Methods
A survey of all new and ongoing grants, as well as all publications, between January 2005 and December 2009 was conducted. Research, training, and education grants awarded to MakCHS’ constituent faculties and departments, were looked for through financial records at the college or by contact with funding organizations. Published manuscripts registered with PubMed, that included MakCHS faculty authors, were also analyzed.
Results
A total of 58 active grants were identified, of which 18 had been initiated prior to 2005 and there were an average of about eight new grants per year. Most grants funded basic and applied research, with major focus areas being HIV/AIDS (44%), malaria (19%), maternal and child health (14%), tuberculosis (11%), mental health (3%), and others (8%). MakCHS faculty were identified as Principal Investigators (PIs) in only 22 (38%) active grants. Grant funding details were only available for one third of the active grants at MakCHS. A total of 837 publications were identified, with an average of 167 publications per year, most of which (66%) addressed the country’s priority health areas, and 58% had MakCHS faculty or students as first authors.
Conclusions
The research grants and publications at MakCHS are generally well-aligned with the Ugandan Health Ministry priorities. Greater efforts to establish centralized and efficient grants management procedures are needed. In addition, greater efforts are needed to expand capacity for MakCHS faculty leadership of grants, as well as to continue to expand the contribution of MakCHS faculty to lead research publications.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S1-S12
PMCID: PMC3059471  PMID: 21410999
2.  A grander challenge: the case of how Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) contributes to health outcomes in Africa 
Background
“Grand challenges” in global health have focused on discovery and development of technologies to save lives. The “grander challenge” involves building institutions, systems, capacity and demand to effectively deliver strategies to improve health. In 2008, Makerere University began a radical institutional change to bring together four schools under one College of Health Sciences. This paper’s objective is to demonstrate how its leadership in training, research, and services can improve health in Uganda and internationally, which lies at the core of the College’s vision.
Methods
A comprehensive needs assessment involved five task forces that identified MakCHS’s contribution to the Ugandan government health priorities. Data were collected through analysis of key documents; systematic review of MakCHS publications and grants; surveys of patients, students and faculty; and key informant interviews of the College’s major stakeholders. Four pilot projects were conducted to demonstrate how the College can translate research into policy and practice, extend integrated outreach community-based education and service, and work with communities and key stakeholders to address their priority health problems.
Results
MakCHS inputs to the health sector include more than 600 health professionals graduating per year through 23 degree programs, many of whom assume leadership positions. MakCHS contributions to processes include strengthened approaches to engaging communities, standardized clinical care procedures, and evidence-informed policy development. Outputs include the largest number of outpatients and inpatient admissions in Uganda. From 2005-2009, MakCHS also produced 837 peer-reviewed research publications (67% in priority areas). Outcomes include an expanded knowledge pool, and contributions to coverage of health services and healthy behaviors. Impacts include discovery and applications of global significance, such as the use of nevirapine to prevent HIV transmission in childbirth and male circumcision for HIV prevention. Pilot projects have applied innovative demand and supply incentives to create a rapid increase in safe deliveries (3-fold increase after 3 months), and increased quality and use of HIV services with positive collateral improvements on non-HIV health services at community clinics.
Conclusion
MakCHS has made substantial contributions to improving health in Uganda, and shows great potential to enhance this in its new transformational role – a model for other Universities.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S1-S2
PMCID: PMC3059474  PMID: 21411002

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