Medical and health researchers told to focus on local needs


KAMPALA, Uganda–The permanent secretary Ministry of Health Dr. Diana Atwine has asked Ugandan medical and Health Researchers to engage mainly in researches that are going to improve the health situation in the country.

She noted that on many occasion researchers are conducting studies that have no economic value to the country but only serving the interest of the funders who are either pharmaceutical companies, looking for market for their products.

“As government we argue the researchers to support government by conducting studies aimed at providing solutions to what is affecting the health sector in the country. This is the only local people will benefit from scientists “She said.

She made the appeal while officiating at the opening of Building –Bridge workshop between Researchers, Journalist/information Brokers and Policy Makers at Protea Hotel.

The Workshop was organized by African Health Sciences in partnership with the United State National Library of Medicine, African Journal partnership program and the Health Journalists Association of Uganda among other partners.

The main objective of the meeting  was  to promote  the dissemination  of health research  information by fostering  long term  relationship  between  Researchers, Journalists and Policy makers .

The PS said that in order to ensure that Uganda scientist’s engage in effective studies, the Ministry is developing new policy and communication guidelines which will see local medical and Health Researchers being funded by the government instead of depending on international funders.

The three days event run under the theme “Enhancing national response to health emergencies through research and information sharing “

The Principal health officer at the Uganda Virus Research Institute Dr.Julius Tutwama   challenged government especially the Ministry of Health to streamline mechanism to be used in disseminating information of health emergency.

 “There’s need for government to come up with strong information dissemination system in case there’s an out brake of both medical and health emergencies; this will help the general public to get correct information about the emergencies especially on how to contain the emergency by the public” Lutwama advised.

Among the key issues discussed  in the meeting Include  challenges  in communicating health  emergencies  especially by  the media ,Knowledge  translation  from research  to policy  and practices.

The participants especially Journalists and policy makers blamed the medical researchers for disseminating their information in scientific mode which cannot easily be interpreted by the media and policy makers.

Esther Nakazi the president of Health Journalists Association of Uganda asked the scientist always to package their information in a simple way that the media will be able to report the findings from theirs studies professionally.

Responding to the queries from the participants, Professor James Tumwine the Editor in Chief at the African Health Sciences  and also Senior lecture at the college of Health Sciences Makerere University  said the  researchers will  be equipped with  communication skills to enable them disseminate their findings in simple language  for the general public to understand.