EKWARO Obuku | Production and use of Postgraduate students’ research to inform health policies: a multiple methods study of universities in Uganda & other low & middle income countries

EKWARO Obuku studied the numerous research projects completed by masters students at Makerere University that simply ‘gathered dust’ in shelves, despite investing time and resources. Over 1,000 dissertations were produced between 1996 & 2010 at the College of Health Sciences, with only 20% published. Ekwaro systematically reviewed 27,000 dissertations in 10 countries in Africa, Asia, & South America, & confirmed this problem. Also, only 1 of every 70 dissertations (1.5%) was cited (used) in policy-related documents. Noteworthy, research from masters’ students at Makerere University was used at an international level, including World Health Organization, to solve medical/public health problems (AIDS, TB, Malaria). Further, masters’ students at Makerere, Mbarara, Nkonzi & Mukono Universities said that they received more support in proposal development by their supervisors, compared to ‘setting re- search priorities’ or ‘promoting the use of their research’, involving decision makers in Government or non-state agencies. Lastly, few students knew about Uganda’s intellectual property processes. The study was funded by IDRC-Canada and was supervised by Prof. Nelson Sewankambo and Prof. John Lavis.