The College of Health Sciences Sets its Research Priorities

The College of Health Sciences, Friday 1st July 2011 held its Research Agenda setting meeting to identify and agree on its research priorities. The meeting was attended by staff and faculty from the different Schools in the College.

├ö├ç┬úOutcome exceeded expectation in view of divergence of the field.Ôö¼├í We managed to come to a common agreement which was inclusive-no one felt left out, one of the participants said.├ö├ç├ÿ Ôö¼├í
The Principal College of Health Sciences, Professor Nelson Sewankambo emphasized that this was important as complaints have always been raised about development partners setting the research agenda for African collaborating partners.

He noted that as the College sets off on its Strategic Plan which is its road map into the future, it was important to set its agenda and identify its priorities clearly. He pointed out that Strategic Pillar No.2 in the Strategic Plan is on research, making the meeting even more relevant. He also noted that Strategic Pillar No. 3 was not just about formulation of partnerships but relevant and strategic ones and to do this, one needed to know their priorities and then identify who is relevant to them.Ôö¼├í

He hoped that the workshop process would stimulate thoughts about what should happen in the long term. He encouraged participants to be open-minded, outward-looking and take on a country view, and avoid being limited by their disciplines and departments.
The Chairperson, Graduate Research Committee, Professor James Tumwine, noted that knowledge created through research, has to be relevant, serve the community and contribute to better health.

In his presentation, Mr. Delius Asiimwe, Research Scientist with the Supporting Use of Research evidence for Policy in African Health Systems (SURE) Project said the key considerations for setting research priorities are;

  • Relevance to public health (scientific evidence, public concerns)
  • Potential for filling the knowledge gap
  • Scientific suitability (study design and methods)
  • Feasibility (in terms of cost, ethical issues and timescales)

At the end of the meeting, the key priority areas identified were as summarised in the table below.

Research area

Public health benefit

Feasibility

Relative Cost

Average Score

Infectious and communicable diseases (including HIV, TB and malaria)

15

8.8

4.6

9.5

Maternal, Adolescent and Child health, sexual and reproductive health

13.8

8.8

5.5

9.4

Health systems research

13.5

7.8

5.9

9.1

Professionalism, health professional education, ethics and medico-legal

11.6

7.4

8

9.0

Non-communicable diseases

11.1

8.0

4.6

7.9

While closing the meeting, the Deputy Principal, Professor Celestino Obua, noted that research at the College has been happening but in an un-focused manner, and so many opportunities are being missed in the process. He was happy to note that the College was getting more focused in this area.