IFGH 2012: Moving Mountains to Develop Public Health Knowledge and Skills in Uganda and Ireland

January 27, 2012

Authors:MacLeod F.1, Cronin M.1, Rubaihayo J.2, Collins A.1

Author Affiliations: 1Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University College Cork, Ireland, 2Public Health Department, Mountains of the Moon University, Uganda

Option 2– Lessons from the field; project and programme evaluations; and syntheses or analyses

Presented as – Oral Poster

Issues:

Collaboration between academic Public Health departments in higher educational institutions in the North and South will facilitate: (i) health worker career development (ii) capacity strengthening in teaching and learning for higher education & (iii) capacity strengthening in research. The outcome of such collaboration(s) will strengthen public health practice from a global perspective.

Description:

The Mountains of the Moon University (MMU), established in 2002, is located in the Western Ugandan town of Fort Portal. MMU has initiated an innovative Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health to address the shortage of Public Health professionals in Uganda, and to assist in strengthening the health system for Uganda and other regional countries. The vision and purpose of the MMU programme mirrors that of the BSc in Public Health & Health Promotion which commenced in University College Cork (UCC) in 2004. Staff from the UCC Department of Epidemiology and Public Health and the MMU Department of Public Health, have been working in collaboration since late 2008 with the overall aim of developing a skilled and knowledgeable public health workforce in Ireland, Uganda and potentially other African countries.

Lessons learned:

  • Significant capacity building potential for both parties but lack of sustainable funding limiting progress
  • Requirement to develop administrative structures to facilitate the collaborative processes
  • Restriction on joint activities also linked to the limited numbers of, and time, which interested staff can dedicate to the collaboration

Next steps:

Teaching and learning:

  • Source assistance from appropriately experienced colleagues in UCC to work with MMU on distance learning methodology, technology, innovation
  • Source funding for student exchange in 2012
  • Investigate opportunities for lecturer exchange in the short to medium term research
  • Implement first collaborative research project
  • Source research funding options for immediate project proposal

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