The permanent secretary Ministry of Health Dr. Diana Atwine has asked Ugandan medical and health researchers to engage mainly in projects that are going to improve the health situation in the country.
Dr. Atwine says that, on many occasions, researchers conduct studies that have no economic value to the country but only serving the interest of the funders, who are mostly pharmaceutical companies looking for market for their products.
“As government we urge the researchers to support government by conducting studies aiming at solving problems that are affecting the health sector in the country. The population should benefit from scientists,“ she said.
The permanent Secretary made the appeal when officiating at the opening of Building–Bridge workshop between researchers, journalists, information brokers and policy makers at Protea Hotel in Kololo, Kampala.
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 a long term relationship among stakeholders.
Dr. Atwine further revealed that the health ministry is developing a new policy and communication guidelines which will see local medical and health researchers get funded by the government instead of depending on international funders.
The three-day event run under the theme, “Enhancing national response to health emergencies through research and Information sharing. “
On his part, the principal health officer at the Uganda Virus Research Institute Dr. Julius Tutwama challenged Government, especially the Ministry of Health to streamline mechanisms to be used in disseminating information of health emergency.
“There’s need for the government to come up with strong a information dissemination system in case there’s an outbreak of both medical and health emergencies,” Dr. Lutwama said, adding that this will help the general public to get collect information in such instances.
The key issues that were discussed in the meeting included challenges in communicating health emergencies, especially by the media, knowledge translation from research to policy and practices.
At the event, medical researchers were blamed 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 to always package their information in simple way to make it is easy for use by newsmen.
Responding to that, Prof. James Tumwine, the editor-in-chief at the African Health Sciences and also a senior lecturer at the College of Health Sciences Makerere University said the researchers will be equipped with communication skills to enable them disseminate their findings in a simple language to the general public .