IFGH 2012: The International Doctorate in Global Health: Building Capacity for Health System Research

January 27, 2012

Authors: Uduma O., MacLachlan M.

Author Affiliations: Centre for Global Health, Trinity College Dublin

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

Presented as – Oral Poster


The Indigo programme emerged from ongoing debates around aid effectiveness, academic collaboration between universities and institutions in low and middle-income countries and, more specifically, the widely recognised need for health system research strengthening in Africa.


The Indigo programme is engaged in a collaborative effort that, over time, will build capacity for researcher training in Africa.These are achieved in five main ways:

1. Maximising exposure of students to leading universities and academics outside of Africa, while retaining the bulk of study time in Africa;

2. Full involvement of African supervisors – who are the lead supervisors for African-based students

3. Selection of research topics of direct relevance to home country needs

4. Specific activities aimed at the professional development of supervisors.

5. Students participation in Research Development Symposia for Strengthening Health Systems

Lessons learned:

Among the strengths that can be identified are the high level of ‘buy-in’ to the programme evident in all the participating institutions – and the desire to accelerate its development – and the high quality of students coming on to the programme. Key challenges that have emerged to date include:

  • Identification of available supervisors in areas directly related to student selected topics.
  • Establishment of good communication and effective working relationships
  • Identification of appropriate doctorallevel courses that address specific needs of individual students;
  • Administrative challenges have characterised the relationship between Trinity and some of the partner.

Next steps:

The next stage of development of Indigo is to transfer the administrative leadership of it from Trinity to Makerere University in Uganda. Student intake will be through either of two parallel routes via either Trinity or African universities, with European and North American universities continuing to contribute taught modules as part of degrees awarded by the respective African universities


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