MUST VC Graces the MMU Implementation Science Training Workshop

Prof. Celestino Obua, the Vice-Chancellor of Mbarara University of Science and Technology, and Dr. Achilles Katamba of the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University were the main facilitators of the Mountains of the Moon University (MMU) Implementation Science Training Workshop that occurred between June 4th – 7th 2024 at Kalya Courts Hotel, Fort Portal City.  

The training attracted all staff from the Faculty of Health Sciences, MMU with funding from the VLIR-OUS project entitled “Strengthening Training and Research Capacity in Epidemiology and Biostatistics to Enhance Public Health Research at Mountains of the Moon University.”

The training objectives were:

 1) To enable participants to appreciate the importance of implementation science in the scale-up of evidence-based interventions to maximize their potential health benefits at the population level in the real-life world;

2) To equip participants with knowledge and skills in implementation science methods and strategies to improve efficiency in the delivery of desired implementation outcomes; 3) To equip participants with knowledge and skills in the conduct of implementation research.

Dr. Kimera Emmanuel Dean Faculty of Health Sciences explained that the training was aimed at building capacity for Implementation Science at Mountains of the Moon University specifically for the Faculty of Health Sciences under the project of developing a Master’s programme in Epidemiology and Biostatistics that is highly research-based. So the training will go a long way in assisting the staff of MMU in different faculties (Health Sciences, Education, Agriculture and Environment Sciences, Science, Technology and Innovations) in being able to develop research programmes that are based on the Implementation of Science Methodology. “Through the training, we have learnt the different frameworks and models that are important in conducting implementation research as well as the understanding that stakeholders are key in this kind of research. Where you need to understand the behaviour of different stakeholders, how they get engaged in the kind of interventions you want to drive and the context in which this behaviour is taking place,” he added.

Prof. Celestino Obua said “as we know today there are two known things, one, there is a lot of evidence that is known, this evidence normally is provided to be used in the form of either policy or guidelines, so that is the practice that is expected. Two, there is also what we know that works that is evidence, then, there is also what we know about the practice, in between, we know that the evidence may not necessarily be translated into the practice, in other words, there is usually a gap between what we know and we are doing, so implementation science comes in to bridge that gap between what is known (evidence) and the practice.”

Prof. Obua further explained “Sometimes the practice is doing well, we want to escalate that practice, so we talk of facilitators (things that are making this practice achieve the kind of results you want). If it is working well in one area how can it be escalated in other areas? Practice is premised on the behaviour of individuals and behaviour occurs within a certain context. Even if you are dealing with individuals there is still other people to deal with called Community. There are three main levels of Implementation research including: individual, community or Organisation, and systems. We need to address all these to understand how can we bridge this gap known as “the know-do gap” in order to achieve what we want. What is known, what is being done, why the two things not working to achieve the wanted results.” It should be remembered that Mbarara University of Science and Technology and MMU signed a 5-year Memorandum of Understanding on May 31st, 2023 to jointly teach and award PhD qualification. 

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