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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.  Building partnerships towards strengthening Makerere University College of Health Sciences: a stakeholder and sustainability analysis 
Background
Partnerships and networking are important for an institution of higher learning like Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) to be competitive and sustainable.
Methods
A stakeholder and sustainability analysis of 25 key informant interviews was conducted among past, current and potential stakeholders of MakCHS to obtain their perspectives and contributions to sustainability of the College in its role to improve health outcomes.
Results
The College has multiple internal and external stakeholders. Stakeholders from Uganda wanted the College to use its enormous academic capacity to fulfil its vision, take initiative, and be innovative in conducting more research and training relevant to the country’s health needs. Many stakeholders felt that the initiative for collaboration currently came more from the stakeholders than the College. External stakeholders felt that MakCHS was insufficiently marketing itself and not directly engaging the private sector or Parliament. Stakeholders also identified the opportunity for MakCHS to embrace information technology in research, learning and training, and many also wanted MakCHS to start leadership and management training programmes in health systems. The need for MakCHS to be more vigorous in training to enhance professionalism and ethical conduct was also identified.
Discussion
As a constituent of a public university, MakCHS has relied on public funding, which has been inadequate to fulfill its mission. Broader networking, marketing to mobilize resources, and providing strong leadership and management support to inspire confidence among its current and potential stakeholders will be essential to MakCHS’ further growth. MakCHS’ relevance is hinged on generating research knowledge for solving the country’s contemporary health problems and starting relevant programs and embracing technologies. It should share new knowledge widely through publications and other forms of dissemination. Whether institutional leadership is best in the hands of academicians or professional managers is a debatable matter.
Conclusions
This study points towards the need for MakCHS and other African public universities to build a broad network of partnerships to strengthen their operations, relevance, and sustainability. Conducting stakeholder and sustainability analyses are instructive toward this end, and have provided information and perspectives on how to make long-range informed choices for success.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S1-S14
PMCID: PMC3059473  PMID: 21411001
3.  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
4.  Situational analysis of teaching and learning of medicine and nursing students at Makerere University College of Health Sciences 
Background
Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) in Uganda is undergoing a major reform to become a more influential force in society. It is important that its medicine and nursing graduates are equipped to best address the priority health needs of the Ugandan population, as outlined in the government’s Health Sector Strategic Plan (HSSP). The assessment identifies critical gaps in the core competencies of the MakCHS medicine and nursing and ways to overcome them in order to achieve HSSP goals.
Methods
Documents from the Uganda Ministry of Health were reviewed, and medicine and nursing curricula were analyzed. Nineteen key informant interviews (KII) and seven focus group discussions (FGD) with stakeholders were conducted. The data were manually analyzed for emerging themes and sub-themes. The study team subsequently used the checklists to create matrices summarizing the findings from the KIIs, FGDs, and curricula analysis. Validation of findings was done by triangulating information from the different data collection methods.
Results
The core competencies that medicine and nursing students are expected to achieve by the end of their education were outlined for both programs. The curricula are in the process of reform towards competency-based education, and on the surface, are well aligned with the strategic needs of the country. But implementation is inadequate, and can be changed:
• Learning objectives need to be more applicable to achieving competencies.
• Learning experiences need to be more relevant for competencies and setting in which students will work after graduation (i.e. not just clinical care in a tertiary care facility).
• Student evaluation needs to be better designed for assessing these competencies.
Conclusion
MakCHS has made a significant attempt to produce relevant, competent nursing and medicine graduates to meet the community needs. Ways to make them more effective though deliberate efforts to apply a competency-based education are possible.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S1-S3
PMCID: PMC3059475  PMID: 21411003
5.  Perception and valuations of community-based education and service by alumni at Makerere University College of Health Sciences 
Background
Training of health professionals can be deliberately structured to enhance rural recruitment by exposing the trainees to the realities of rural life and practice through Community-Based Education and Service (COBE) programs. Few studies have surveyed the alumni of these programs to establish their post-university views and whether the positive impact of COBE programs endures into the post-university life. This study surveyed the alumni of COBE at Makerere to obtain their perceptions of the management and administration of COBE and whether COBE had helped develop their confidence as health workers, competence in primary health care and willingness and ability to work in rural communities.
Objectives
• To assess the efficiency of the management and administration of COBES.
• To obtain the views of the impact of COBES on its alumni.
Methods
A mixed qualitative and quantitative study was conducted using focus group discussions (FGD) and a telephone administered questionnaire. From a total of 300 COBES alumni 150 were contacted. Twenty four Alumni (13 females and 11 males) were purposefully selected by discipline, gender and place of work, and invited for the focus group discussion. The discussions were transcribed and analyzed using a manifest content analysis table. The thematic issues from the FGDs were used to develop a structured questionnaire which was administered by telephone by the authors. The data were entered into Microsoft excel template and exported to Stata for analysis. The findings of the telephone survey were used to cross-match the views expressed during the focus group discussions.
Results
The alumni almost unanimously agree that the initial three years of COBES were very successful in terms of administration and coordination. COBES was credited for contributing to development of confidence as health workers, team work, communication skills, competence in primary health care and willingness to work in rural areas. The COBES alumni also identified various challenges associated with administration and coordination of COBES at Makerere.
Conclusions
This study has established that the positive impact of COBES endures with the alumni of the program. Health planners should take advantage of the impact of COBES and provide it with more support.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S1-S5
PMCID: PMC3059477  PMID: 21411005
6.  Assessing community perspectives of the community based education and service model at Makerere University, Uganda: a qualitative evaluation 
Background
Community partnerships are defined as groups working together with shared goals, responsibilities, and power to improve the community. There is growing evidence that these partnerships contribute to the success and sustainability of community-based education and service programs (COBES), facilitating change in community actions and attitudes. Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) is forging itself as a transformational institution in Uganda and the region. The College is motivated to improve the health of Ugandans through innovative responsive teaching, provision of service, and community partnerships. Evaluating the COBES program from the community perspective can assist the College in refining an innovative and useful model that has potential to improve the health of Ugandans.
Methods
A stratified random sample of 11 COBES sites was selected to examine the community’s perception of the program. Key Informant Interviews of 11 site tutors and 33 community members were completed. The data was manually analyzed and themes developed.
Results
Communities stated the students consistently engaged with them with culturally appropriate behaviour. They rated the student’s communication as very good even though translators were frequently needed. Half the community stated they received some feedback from the students, but some communities interpreted any contact after the initial visit as feedback. Communities confirmed and appreciated that the students provided a number of interventions and saw positive changes in health and health seeking behaviours. The community reflected that some programs were more sustainable than others; the projects that needed money to implement were least sustainable. The major challenges from the community included community fatigue, and poor motivation of community leaders to continue to take students without compensation.
Conclusions
Communities hosting Makerere students valued the students’ interventions and the COBES model. They reported witnessing health benefits of fewer cases of disease, increased health seeking behavior and sustainable healthcare programs. The evidence suggests that efforts to standardize objectives, implement structural adjustments, and invest in development of the program would yield even more productive community interactions and a healthcare workforce with public health skills needed to work in rural communities.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S1-S6
PMCID: PMC3059478  PMID: 21411006
7.  Makerere University College of Health Sciences’ role in addressing challenges in health service provision at Mulago National Referral Hospital 
Background
Mulago National Referral Hospital (MNRH), Uganda’s primary tertiary and teaching hospital, and Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS) have a close collaborative relationship. MakCHS students complete clinical rotations at MNRH, and MakCHS faculty partner with Mulago staff in clinical care and research. In 2009, as part of a strategic planning process, MakCHS undertook a qualitative study to examine care and service provision at MNRH, identify challenges, gaps, and solutions, and explore how MakCHS could contribute to improving care and service delivery at MNRH.
Methods
Key informant interviews (n=23) and focus group discussions (n=7) were conducted with nurses, doctors, administrators, clinical officers and other key stakeholders. Interviews and focus groups were tape recorded and transcribed verbatim, and findings were analyzed through collaborative thematic analysis.
Results
Challenges to care and service delivery at MNRH included resource constraints (staff, space, equipment, and supplies), staff inadequacies (knowledge, motivation, and professionalism), overcrowding, a poorly functioning referral system, limited quality assurance, and a cumbersome procurement system. There were also insufficiencies in the teaching of professionalism and communication skills to students, and patient care challenges that included lack of access to specialized services, risk of infections, and inappropriate medications.
Suggestions for how MakCHS could contribute to addressing these challenges included strengthening referral systems and peripheral health center capacity, and establishing quality assurance mechanisms. The College could also strengthen the teaching of professionalism, communication and leadership skills to students, and monitor student training and develop courses that contribute to continuous professional development. Additionally, the College could provide in-service education for providers on professionalism, communication skills, strategies that promote evidence-based practice and managerial leadership skills.
Conclusions
Although there are numerous barriers to delivery of quality health services at MNRH, many barriers could be addressed by strengthening the relationship between the Hospital and MakCHS. Strategic partnerships and creative use of existing resources, both human and financial, could improve the quality of care and service delivery at MNRH. Improving services and providing more skills training could better prepare MakCHS graduates for leadership roles in other health care facilities, ultimately improving health outcomes throughout Uganda.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S1-S7
PMCID: PMC3059479  PMID: 21411007
8.  The impact on nurses and nurse managers of introducing PEPFAR clinical services in urban government clinics in Uganda 
Background
Improving provider performance is central to strengthening health services in developing countries. Because of critical shortages of physicians, many clinics in sub-Saharan Africa are led by nurses. In addition to clinical skills, nurse managers need practical managerial skills and adequate resources to ensure procurement of essential supplies, quality assurance implementation, and productive work environment. Giving nurses more autonomy in their work empowers them in the workplace and has shown to create positive influence on work attitudes and behaviors. The Infectious Disease Institute, an affiliate of Makerere University College of Health Science, in an effort to expand the needed HIV services in the Ugandan capital, established a community-university partnership with the Ministry of Health to implement an innovative model to build capacity in HIV service delivery. This paper evaluates the impact on the nurses from this innovative program to provide more health care in six nurse managed Kampala City Council (KCC) Clinics.
Methods
A mixed method approach was used. The descriptive study collected key informant interviews from the six nurse managers, and administered a questionnaire to 20 staff nurses between September and December 2009. Key themes were manually identified from the interviews, and the questionnaire data were analyzed using SPSS.
Results
Introducing new HIV services into six KCC clinics was positive for the nurses. They identified the project as successful because of perceived improved environment, increase in useful in-service training, new competence to manage patients and staff, improved physical infrastructure, provision of more direct patient care, motivation to improve the clinic because the project acted on their suggestions, and involvement in role expansion. All of these helped empower the nurses, improving quality of care and increasing job satisfaction.
Conclusions
This community-university HIV innovative model was successful from the point of view of the nurses and nurse managers. This model shows promise in increasing effective, quality health service; HIV and other programs can build capacity and empower nurses and nurse managers to directly implement such services. It also demonstrates how MakCHS can be instrumental through partnerships in designing and testing effective strategies, building human health resources and improving Ugandan health outcomes.
doi:10.1186/1472-698X-11-S1-S8
PMCID: PMC3059480  PMID: 21411008

Results 1-8 (8)