The Quality Use of Medicines in Children (ChildMed) project has come to an end with a final dissemination event, where all the beneficiaries of its MastersÔÇÖ, PhD and Post-doc funding support, presented their work.
The dissemination event was held at Hotel Africana in Kampala and was attended by stakeholders from Uganda and Denmark.
Dr. Jesca Jitta, the Project Coordinator, said that the five-year project, implemented by Makerere University College of Health sciences Child Health and Development Centre and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences University of Copenhagen, Denmark, supported 4 PhD students, 4 MastersÔÇÖ students and 2 Postdoctoral students. The DANIDA-funded project will formally close in December 2014.
Dr. Jitta said the project was a multidisciplinary undertaking across the University that recruited people from medicine, public health, psychology and other areas of the social sciences.
The national dissemination meeting was organized to share key findings and policy implications from the five-year research work on improving quality use of medicines in children in Uganda. This area of research was selected on the premise that medicine use is core to providing quality health care to children in the country.
The project scholars worked on a wide range of issues including policies, diagnosis, medicines and communications. Specific areas were acute respiratory infections (pneumonia and asthma), HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, neglected diseases (Schistosomiasis) and relevant policies.
The Acting Director Child Health and Development Centre (CHDC), Dr. Herbert Muyinda said at CHDC a multidisciplinary team of researchers work together to improve and promote the health of children and women. He appreciated the partners from University of Copenhagen and those from Makerere University for the invaluable input to the project.
Prof. Ebba Holmes Hansen of University of Copenhagen coordinated the project on the Denmark side. She said ChildMed was a research as well as a capacity building project. She said the project set outputs are; not less than 25 articles for international journals, not less than two articles for local and regional journals, 5 policy briefs, 4 PhD theses and degrees, 4 MastersÔÇÖ degrees and theses and 2 postdocs.
The Acting Principal, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Dr. Isaac Okullo congratulated the two institutions on a collaboration successfully concluded.
In a message read for him by Dr. Okullo, the Principal, Prof. Nelson Sewankambo noted that medicine use is core to providing quality health care to children. He added that out of the research conducted, quality information has been generated on effective communication, accurate diagnosis and coherence of policy and guidelines.
Prof. Sewankambo said the College of Health Sciences continues to build its capacity in all areas of its work including research in response to the needs of the population.
Opening the dissemination event, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye said that research is an important tool for policymaking and improved programming.
He said that many times errors are made at the time of prescription and they are potentially harmful. He added that these are more common with children as compared to adults. ÔÇ£It is very easy to estimate the age and weight of an adult than a childÔÇØ, he said.
He committed government to the continued support of efforts for improved use of medicine in children, through policy.
The MinisterÔÇÖs speech was read for him by the Commissioner, Community Health in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Anthony Mbonye.
Research on the project was conducted in the broad areas of:
1. Acute Respiratory Infections and Asthma (Clinical Outcomes of Children with acute asthma and pneumonia in Mulago Hospital & Inhaled corticosteroid reduce ARI case fatality in Ugandan children U5
2. Quality Medicine Use for Children with Epilepsy (Multiple Anti-epileptic drug therapy in childhood epilepsy & Social Support, self-esteem and adherence to medication for Epilepsy among Children)
3. Social and Communication aspects of Paediatric ART in Uganda (HIV+ Children-care giver communication and childrenÔÇÖs knowledge of their medicines: a cross sectional study in Jinja district & Social Support for refugee children on ART in Kyaka II Refugee Settlement, Kyegegwa District)
4. Schistosomiasis in pre and school children: Treatment adherence and reduction in morbidity (Effectiveness of pre-treatment snack on uptake of mass treatment for schistosomiasis in Uganda: a cluster randomized trial & Intestinal schistosomiasis related morbidity and effect on praziquantel on morbidity in pre-school children along Lake Victoria shorelines)
5. Policy and Medicine use in Children (Factors affecting child caretaker knowledge on administering Medicines for Malaria in U5 in Public Health Facilities in KCCA & ÔÇÿChild Size MedicinesÔÇÖ Concept: Policy provisions in Uganda)
Beneficiaries of the ChildMed research funding were Dr. Rebecca Nantanada, Prof. Grace Ndeezi, Dr. Rita Atugonza, Ms. Suzan Akwii, Ms. Phoebe Kajubi, Ms. Yusrah Nagujja, Dr. Simon Muhumuza, Dr. Allen Nalugwa, Mr. Julius Ssentongo and Mr. Xavier Nsabagasani.