On the afternoon of April 14th 2019, a team from the UK that included Nottingham Trent University (NTU) staff met with a team from Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH). The meeting focused on bringing the Dean of MakSPH up to speed about a new project, "Strengthening Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) in Wakiso district to be implemented between the two universities. This project is funded through the Commonwealth Partnerships for Antimicrobial Stewardship Scheme, which is funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) through the Fleming Fund for the benefit of the UK and partner country health sectors.

 

A team from the UK that included Nottingham Trent University staff in the meeting

The UK team had Linda Gibson, an Associate Professor at the School of Social Sciences at NTU. It also had, from NTU, Dr. Jody Winter, a Principal Lecturer in Microbiology. Two other members on the UK team were from Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust. These were: Claire Brandish, a Lead Antimicrobial Pharmacist and Bee Yean Ng, an Antimicrobial Pharmacist.

Dr. Linda Gibson of NTU (left) speaking with the Dean of MakSPH, Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze

Giving a brief history of the 10-year partnership between MakSPH and NTU, Dr. Gibson mentioned that the two institutions have been running several projects together. Currently, “the SPICES (Scaling-up Packages of Interventions for Cardiovascular disease prevention in selected sites in Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa) Project, a five-year project is the biggest,” she said. The collaboration has been having challenges with mobility as the UK partners could travel to Uganda while Ugandan counterparts particularly students could hardly travel there. However, Dr. Gibson said that a two-year grant from the European Union under the Erasmus+ scheme was obtained which will support mobility. With this grant, two undergraduate students, two masters’ students and three faculty members will be travelling to UK for a two-months exchange programme this year. Dr. David Musoke, the Uganda Partnership Lead explained that the participants of the exchange programme will benefit from training, mentorship and participating in research activities in the UK.

Dr. Gibson was however more thrilled about the new antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) collaboration. “This collaboration is university-wide beyond public health at MakSPH and social sciences at NTU,” she said, referring to the collaborations that have happened in the past between the two universities. “It is a year-long project and I am looking forward to further multi-disciplinary collaborations beyond what we already have. It is exciting to be working with a number of people,” she finished off.

Giving a brief insight into the collaboration, Dr. Musoke, who is a Lecturer in the Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health (DCEH) at MakSPH explained that the project will be taking a One Health approach. This means that different disciplines in the Makerere University have been engaged to implement the project. Pharmacy is a critical part of the partnership and Dr. Freddy Kitutu from the Department of Pharmacy in the School of Health Sciences will be leading the pharmacy side of the collaboration. The College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-security (COVAB) also has members that are part of this partnership led by Prof. Lawrence Mugisha.

The project, which will focus on Wakiso district, will see health facility-based practitioners trained on AMS. Since Community Health Workers (CHWs) prescribe medicines for simple ailments among children under 5 years of age, they too will benefit from the training. Importantly, the project will establish an online community of practice on AMS. “This will be a one-stop area where all students, researchers, academia and practitioners in this field can share experiences and learn from each other,” Dr. Musoke explained to the meeting.

Dr. Kitutu said he was happy to be a part of the partnership as a lead from pharmacy. A member of the National Taskforce on AMR, he said he will be infusing knowledge from that platform into the project.

Dr. Freddy Kitutu (right) who will be leading the pharmacy side of the collaboration, speaking in the meeting. Left is Dr. David Musoke, the Project Lead from the Ugandan side.

Uganda to benefit from UKs AMR Practice

While Uganda is just starting to fully recognize AMS, the UK has been involved in its awareness for much longer. “There has been this big awareness campaign going on about patients who unnecessarily demand for antibiotics and how this can be dealt with,” explained Brandish.  She added that, “This is a shared problem globally that has a big impact on the economy.” She explained that UK has seen an 18% reduction in AMR use since these campaigns started. However, this has not been achieved through a single method but a variety of approaches. Brandish warned that for positive feedback, practitioners should be communicated to tactfully that over issuing antimicrobials is not desirable. Advocates have got to be tactful and probably propose that the issuance of antibiotics can be improved in order to get health practitioners on their side.

The Department Chair of DCEH at MakSPH Dr. Esther Buregyeya, where this project is housed, was also present at the meeting. She welcomed the new project as well as exchange opportunity among students and staff, and stressed that since Uganda has just launched a National AMR Action Plan, the exchange programme will greatly benefit learning and the understanding of AMR Stewardship.

Rebecca Nuwematsiko (centre) who works with MakSPH interacting with some members of the UK team.

Online Community should identify gaps

Speaking in this meeting, the Dean of MaksPH, Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze said she was excited about the partnership and looking forward to what will come out of it. However, she requested that other than the sharing of lessons learnt by the online community of practice, the partnership could also consider looking at the gaps in AMR practice in Uganda. “If these gaps are identified, we can find ways of adding value and doing more research,” she said.

She also said that the research on AMR should also reach out to traditional healers since it was found that some herbal concoctions actually contain conventional drugs.

This AMS partnership comes after a series of several collaborations that have seen MakSPH working with NTU for over 10 years. The first was a small grant of 5,000 pounds was given through THET (Tropical Health and Education Trust).

 

The two representative teams took a group photo outside the main building of Makerere University School of Public Health after the meeting.

By Faith Atai | Public Health, JHU Graduate Student

     Sofia Milosavljevic | Public Health, JHU '20

     Stone Streeter | Public Health / Molecular and Cellular Biology, JHU '21

Introduction

In January 2019, our team of students fromJohns Hopkins University joined students from Makerere University School of Public Health under the Johns Hopkins UniversityChildhood, Health, and Society IntersessionPrograminUganda.Our group was assigned the topic of water, sanitation and hygiene (WSH).

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The Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support (METS) program is a five year CDC-funded mechanism. Its mandate is to promote evidence-based decision-making for an AIDS free generation by supporting the alignment of USG supported Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting systems with the national M&E framework, resulting in a fully functional one M&E system. We seek to recruit persons to work in the following positions:

 

1.     M&E Technical Advisors (2)

2.     Management Information Systems Advisor (1)

3.     Health Information Analyst (1)

4.     Software Developers (4)

 

M&E Technical Advisor (2)

Key Responsibilities:

§  Providing technical advice for strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation Systems and Continuous Quality Improvement initiatives for CDC supported Districts through training, mentorship, coaching and support supervision.

§  Participate in the development of training materials required to meet the training needs of the program.

§  Participate in the development of Performance Monitoring Plan and work plans for the program and support IPs in developing Evaluation and Performance Measurement Plans.

§  Conduct service quality assessments, data quality assessments and any other assessments, and train and mentor district and health facility staff to be able to conduct their own assessments.

§  Participate in the development of evaluation protocols and train and mentor MoH, district and health facility staff in the implementation of program evaluations.

§  Provide mentorship and coaching for the identified gaps and /or needs in the supported districts and health facilities

§  Actively participate in partner reporting activities for both national and PEPFAR reporting

§  Preparation of periodic reports on the Program activities.

§  Keep abreast of the updates relating to M&E and CQI of HIV/AIDS programs in Uganda and inform the program accordingly.

 Qualifications: Masters in any of the following disciplines:  Public Health, Health Services Management, Health Systems Strengthening, Global Health and Social Sciences

 Experience: At least more than 5 years of progressive experience in public health at the local and national level, experience in a Monitoring and Evaluation role for a health program as well as experience in providing technical assistance in capacity building initiatives of health programs.

 

Management Information Systems Advisor (1)

Key Responsibilities

·       Works with CDC supported implementing partners to provide technical and program support to the collection, cleaning, aggregation, analysis and submission of the quarterly, Semi-annual (SAPR) and Annual reports (APR)

·       Works with the various program teams to ensure activity work plans and monitoring plans are properly implemented and results documented.

·       Participates in data collection and analysis, training of staff and CDC implementing partners in PEPFAR M&E protocols and tools and assists in the dissemination of information for timely utilization by OGAC, PEPFAR related USG agencies, implementing partners, and key stakeholders.  

·       Guides efforts to streamline and standardize CDC Implementing partner reporting efforts through dialogue on reporting processes and routine monitoring of the quality, accuracy, and consistency of reporting. 

·       Supports the CDC Strategic Information teams to build capacity and utilization of key Information Systems including SIMS, DATIM and the National DHIS2

·       Utilizes appropriate data management systems to monitor indicators for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care activities. 

·       Analyzes quarterly programmatic data entered by implementing partners into PEPFAR’s

·       Data for Accountability Transparency and Impact (DATIM) online platform.

·       Provides assistance to the PEPFAR team in interpreting data on indicators, targets and results.

·      Responds to requests from CDC Strategic Information teams, Implementing partners and national stakeholders for information and technical assistance on strategies for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care activities.  

·       Responds to other program related duties as assigned by the Program Manager and/or the Deputy Program Manager.

 

Qualifications

A Master’s degree in one of the following disciplines: Health Sciences; Social Sciences; Applied Mathematics, Information Science or a strongly related discipline is required.

Experience: At least five years of progressive and responsible experience in public health at the local, national, experience working with U.S. Government agencies on PEPFAR-funded projects and work experience in an M&E capacity building position. Expertise in supporting health projects related to HIV or health systems strengthening would be an asset.

 

 

 Health Information Systems Analyst (1)

Key Responsibilities

·       Support the M&E teams to build capacity and utilization of key Information Systems including HIBRID, DATIM and the National DHIS2 and other USG data management systems

·       Utilize appropriate data management systems to monitor indicators for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care activities and update staff and stakeholders on the same. 

·       Analyze programmatic data entered by implementing partners into national and PEPFAR’s data management systems and provide ongoing feedback and technical support

·       Provide assistance to the IPs and district staff in understanding and interpreting indicators, targets and results.

  • Respond to requests from CDC Strategic Information and program teams, Implementing Partners and national stakeholders for information and technical assistance on HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment.
  • Laise with the Systems Developers (Programmers) to support the development, modification, testing and operationalization of new and existing database systems including but not limited to DHIS2, HIBRID, UgandaEMR and various dashboards etc at METS, national, district, health facility, and IP levels.
  • Analyse and develop automated reports based on the data in any of METS supported database systems
  • Facilitate IP and district staff development (through training, mentoring and coaching) in database management, data management and report generation and dissemination to enhance data use for decision making.
  • Actively participate in health information systems related support requirements during the lifetime of the program
  • Participate in data quality assessment activities.

 

Education: Masters Degree or Post Graduate qualification in any of the following fields: Public health, Computer Science, Information Technology, Health Systems management, Informatics, Monitoring and Evaluation.

 Experience: At least 3 years’ experience in managing health information systems, data management for an M&E agency and experience working in PEPFAR supported programs.


Software Developers (4)

Key Responsibilities

·       Design software solutions by studying information needs; systems flow, data usage, and work processes while adhering to the software development lifecycle

·       Design, develop, modify and maintain new or existing health information systems (OpenMRS, DHIS2, fingerprinting technologies, etc.).

·       Support the development of an interoperability framework between DHIS2 and UgandaEMR to support automated synching of records to a central DHIS2.

·       Investigate, analyze and make recommendations to management regarding technology improvements, upgrades and modifications

·       Analyze user needs and software requirements to determine the feasibility of design within time and cost constraints.

·       Develop and direct software system testing and validation procedures, programming and documentation

·       Prepare reference for users by writing operating instructions, flowcharts, layouts, diagrams, charts, code comments and clear code.

·       Analyse and develop automated reports based on the data in any of METS supported database systems

  • Facilitate staff development (through training, mentoring and coaching) of district and program personnel in database management, data management and report generation and dissemination to enhance data use for decision making.
  • Support the rollout of national DHIS2 and electronic systems through training, mentorship and coaching of Implementing Partner  and district staff.

 Qualifications: Bachelor’s Degree in any of the following fields: Computer Science, Software Engineering, Health Informatics

Experience: A minimum of 1 year of experience as a software developer or engineer; with demonstrable success in developing a variety of software systems while taking on increasing responsibility for analysis, design, implementation and development tasks. Advance experience developing data-driven applications utilizing significant relational database engines as part of the overall application architecture (experience with either PostgreSQL or MySQL is required and any of the following highly desirable; Oracle, MS SQL Server, H2 SQL) . Working experience using most of the following: Spring, Hibernate, JQuery, Subversion, Liquibase, Git, Restful web services, Agile methodology, Maven, Jasper server, android SDK. And knowledge and skill with popular open source programming languages.

 

How to apply: Interested persons should send their applications with current CV and academic papers, stating two referees and their contacts.

The application should be addressed to the Principal Investigator; Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Support Program, not later than Thursday 18th April 2019, 5.00 pm, Ugandan time.

Submit a hard copy of the application at the Reception desk, METS Offices, Plot 20A Kawalya Kaggwa Close Kololo. Ensure that you register after submitting the application.

NB: Only candidates shortlisted will be contacted for the interview 

On Saturday, 16th March 2019, Makerere University Environmental Health Students’ Association (MUEHSA) joined hands with the Uganda Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships Alumni Association to carry out a clean-up exercise in Nakulabye Zone 9 (Kiwuunya Slum). MUEHSA is an association of students who study Environmental Health, a programme that is housed at Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH). MUEHSA did this together with other partners like the Kampala Capital City Authority and the Integrated Community Health Initiative Uganda. The activity was carried out together with community members. The students also used the opportunity to share health messages with community members. This clean-up was organized as part of activities to celebrate the Commonwealth day in Uganda. The celebrations for this day started on Monday 11th March 2019 with a panel discussion on employability for university students at Makerere University Main Hall which was officiated by Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs.

MUEHSA regularly gets involved in such drives because of the association’s firm belief in the prevention of diseases and promotion of health. “This starts from the environment where people live,” explained Rawlence Ndejjo, one of the patrons of the group. He went on to explain that such activities have always been a part of MUEHSA since the association was conceived in 2003.

Ferdinand Treasure Kimunyu, a student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree of Environmental Health Sciences (BEHS) in second year at Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) was one of the participants in the cleaning and health education drive. This is what he had to say; 

“The day was a success to me personally. The Kiwuunya slum community was so willing to participate and work hand-in-hand with our team. Giving back to the community and preserving the cleanliness was my best achievement of that day,” Kimunyu said.

 Students cleaning drainage channels. One of the student members of MUEHSA, Namakula, who participated in the drive said the day did not come with a clear-cut method of making sure the place is clean. There was a lot of improvisation and flexibility to ensure that the job got done.

Genevieve Nannyonyo, also a student at MakSPH in her second year and a member of MUEHSA remarked that she was taken aback by the simplicity and togetherness of the people who participated in the cleaning drive. “They came together for the common cause of extending a hand and contributing to the health and wellbeing of the community.”

For Lydia Nabawanuka Namakula, the exercise was an extension of the theory that is learnt in class. “From this clean-up, I have realized that flexibility is key because not every theoretical principle applies in the field,” the second year student said explaining further that by flexibility she was referring to improvisation while in the middle of a task in order to complete it and sacrificing.

 

This students’ association, MUEHSA, where these learners all belong also participates in the celebration of important Environmental Health days. This is done through holding public seminars and exhibitions, involvement in nationwide health activities such as outbreak investigations. MUEHSA also organizes and gets involved in annual conferences. This year, the association will be hosting the annual IFEH/MUEHSA conference. The international conference will take place in April, 2019. More information about it can be obtained on their website https://ifehmuehsa2019.musph.ac.ug/. IFEH stands  for International Federtion of Environmental Health.

 

 

 

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