Makerere University School of Public Health (MUSPH)
The Makerere University School of Public Health (MUSPH) is one of the leading Public Health education and research institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. It conducts research and provides consultation services to the Government of Uganda, various national and international health organisations, as well as bilateral and multilateral agencies involved in health. The School’s annual research budget is over US $ 5 million, and its faculty produce an average of 25 scientific publications in peer reviewed journals per year.
The MUSPH started as a Department of Preventive Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine in 1959. The Department subsequently started the first post-graduate training programme (Diploma in Public Health) in Sub-Saharan Africa in 1969. During the 1970s the Department of Preventive Medicine acquired the name “Institute of Public Health” but continued to function as a Department of the Faculty of Medicine. In the year 2000 it became an autonomous institute with the four departments of a) Health Policy, Planning and Management, b) Epidemiology and Biostatistics, c) Disease Control and Environmental Health, and d) Community Health and Behavioural Sciences. It also started a Regional Centre for Quality of Health Care (RCQoHC), which is a semi-autonomous body with a regional mandate to support improvement in quality of health care. In July 2007, the Institute of Public Health changed name and status to “Makerere University School of Public Health”. From July 2008, the MUSPH joined with the former Faculty of Medicine, to form the Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MUCHS), a constituent college of Makerere University. The School has as its vision to be a “Centre of excellence, providing leadership in Public Health”.
The mission of MUSPH is “To promote the attainment of better health for the people of Uganda and beyond through Public Health Training, Research and Community service, with the guiding principles of Quality, Relevance, Responsiveness, Equity and Social Justice”.
The School has 3 basic core functions of teaching, research and service. In addition to its primary mandate of capacity building and research in Public Health, it collaborates with the Ugandan Ministry of Health (MOH) and with district, municipal and city local governments, international agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in supporting the planning, implementation and evaluation of health programs.
Over the years, the particular focus of MUSPH activities has been on education and research in health planning and management, health systems, policy analysis in health, nutrition and population, epidemiology and control of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, reproductive health, child health, emerging diseases, public health in complex emergencies and environmental health concerns. Apart from teaching public health to undergraduates i.e., medical students from the Faculty of Medicine and its own Bachelor of Environmental Health Sciences, the main focus of education at MUSPH is to train graduate level Public Health and other professionals and specialists in Public Health. The main graduate level training is a two year Master of Public Health (MPH) under the Public Health Schools without Walls (PHSWOW) initiative which uses a field oriented practice-based curriculum.
The mission of the MPH program is “to produce practically oriented public health specialists who possess the knowledge, skills and professional attitudes required to assume leadership roles in the public health system,” and “to develop a new model of public health training that emphasizes problem-oriented learning and acquisition of competencies.” The School also offers a three-year MPH program by distance education. In 2007, a two-year Master of Health Services Research (MHSR) program was introduced. There are currently over 10 PhD students in the School working on various Public Health topics. The School’s Regional Centre for Quality of Health Care offers a 9-month Post-graduate Diploma in Quality Assurance of Health Care.
For the last several years now, the School has collaborated with the US-CDC and a network of HIV/AIDS care organizations operating in Uganda to run a non-degree two-year Fellowship Program in the Management of HIV/AIDS programs. MUSPH Students come from Uganda and other countries in the region. The MUSPH has a number of international partnerships and collaborates with universities and institutions in Africa, Europe and North America.
Links to the health workforce crisis
The School hosts and runs an International Centre for Systematic Reviews on Human Resources for Health (see link below). The Centre is dedicated to conducting systematic reviews of initiatives aimed at mitigating the severe human resources for health crisis and generally promoting evidence-based policies and translation of research into policy.
Among the central tasks of the Centre are:
- Collection of reports, systematic reviews, overviews of overviews and early warnings;
- Projects that aim to improve the quality, quantity and productivity of HRH;
- Surveys of HRH and health systems experiences;
- Support to the health services of LMICs through the provision of current evidence about the effect of relevant policy instruments to increase supply, variety and productivity of HRH;
- To provide evidence for HRH decision making to policymakers, health managers and training institutions on issues related to HRH;
- To provide linkages between researchers, health workers, policy makers and health managers;
- To promote the dissemination and use of evidence in HRH decision making; and
- To promote quality in the conduct of HRH research.