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- ItemEnhancing the value of short term volunteer missions in health from host country perspectives: the Case of Uganda(Africa policy Centre. Uganda Christian University, 2022) Maractho, Emilly Comfort; Lasker, Judith; Alang, Sirry; Austin, KellyShort-term medical missions (STMMs), estimated to involve 1.6 million volunteers and US$2-3 billion annually, can be very valuable, but there is a growing critique of practices. Serious concerns have arisen around possible harms to host countries and patients, including medical errors, non-alignment with local systems and priorities, cultural insensitivity, and the high cost compared to benefits. Scholars and practitioners across diverse sectors involved-faith-based, corporate, NGO, and educational-have questioned the value of STMMs and proposed strategies for improving them. Missing from this assessment are voices of host communities and research on host country efforts to control the quality of visiting programs. In this study, we investigated host perspectives on STMMs. The study was driven by the need to examine the regulatory and policy environment as well as to establish the perspectives of all country stakeholders on STMMs with the view of enhancing their value. This research is a collaborative effort between researchers at Uganda Christian University in Mukono, Uganda and Lehigh University, PA, United States of America. A qualitative methodology was adopted, with in-depth interviews as the main tool. A total of 46 interviews with policy makers, Non-Governmental Organisations and those who have engaged with volunteers in the communities were conducted in Uganda. The analysis was computer-assisted and thematic. The study revealed that the health needs of the country are many, and STMMs contribute to closing some of the gaps, although this may be limited given the scope of needs. Some of these health needs include limited infrastructure and budget support for health, low levels of staffing and inadequate resources such as equipment in the facilities. It was further revealed that the contributions made are bi-directional, with host communities claiming that they contribute towards pre-visit preparations, accommodation, local expertise on tropical diseases, and social support while volunteers contribute skills, treatment, equipment, awareness and research. Nevertheless, from the perspective of stakeholders interviewed, STMM volunteers face challenges such as cultural shock, inadequate resources to work with, manpower to support them, high expectations from the communities and delay in clearance for practice. Despite their contributions, the study established that host communities expressed concerns about the nature of STMMs involving lack of experience, hidden interests, misalignment with community needs, security risks, code of conduct and sustainability of support. A review of Ugandan laws reveals many that are related to the regulation of health services, but none that specifically mentions short-term mission trips. Most stakeholders interviewed were unaware of any regulatory oversight of visiting health teams, although some were aware of the need for clearance of visitors’ credentials. It is therefore recommended that in order to enhance the value of STMMs in Uganda, concrete actions be taken involving improving and making known the conditions for licensing and oversight, improving communication, enhancing collaboration and supporting capacity building for local experts.
- ItemSurvey Report on Student Perception of Schools’ Shut-down due to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Uganda(Africa policy Centre. Uganda Christian University, 2020-06) Kabahizi, Cadreen BarungiAfrica Policy Centre, a policy research Centre within Uganda Christian University embarked on a research project on the Impact of the COVID-19 disruptions on Higher Education in Uganda. It is this project that inspired the carrying out of this survey. We were able to gather 427 responses from students in Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) around Uganda between 29th May 2020 and 11th June 2020. This survey was distributed online, sending the link to as many different student social media platforms as possible. Respondents were thus limited to those with access to mobile phones and internet making it a convenience sample. This was a main restriction which may have limited the number of responses from students with low or no access to internet or no cell phones.
- ItemHow AI could transform Uganda’s Eduscape Paving the Path for Blended Learning(Africa policy Centre. Uganda Christian University, 2020-07) Kabahizi, Cadreen BarungiAs the world enters the fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence (AI), an emerging technology, is subtly becoming part of our lives. In many ways, we are becoming increasingly dependent on AI-powered tools and devices. In the education sectors of several countries, we see some cases in which AI has been integrated into students’ personal and school lives. Because Sub-Saharan Africa has not yet fully launched the use of AI in schools, it is of paramount importance that Uganda’s education system looks into this proposition as a means to bridge the historic literacy gaps within the country. Educating students with AI and about AI is also a means to prepare Ugandan students to be competitive in the world market. This is especially important to consider now that Uganda’s education sector is recalibrating the education system as a response to the COVID-19 driven school closures. AI offers the chance for faster recovery of the learning losses that students are currently suffering. It would empower educators, increasing their reach in the number of students taught and thus increasing their efficiency. This, however, does not come without challenges. The biggest of which are ethical concerns and lack of necessary infrastructure. This paper explores ways in which these challenges can be mitigated to bring about the necessary advancement. We encourage the Government of Uganda to run trials to find the best-suited ways to apply AI in the education system. AI application has to be safe, ensuring secure data and privacy of users and it has to be helpful and beneficial, producing positive learning outcomes and increasing the teachers’ efficiency. All this is in hope that AI can provide the avenue to reach through which many uneducated people get access to world-class education closing the historical learning gaps of illiteracy and greatly enriching the Human Capital of Uganda.
- ItemImpacts of the COVID-19 Disruptions on Institutions of Higher Education in Uganda(Africa policy Centre. Uganda Christian University, 2020-06) Kabahizi, Cadreen BarungiThis policy brief gives a short overview of the disruptions of the COVID-19-driven school closures on Institutions of Higher Education (IHE’s) in Uganda. Nearly 170,000 tertiary institution students are at home facing uncertainty not only about their family financial situations but also about their academic future. We surveyed 427 students in IHE’s to find out their perceptions of the impact of school closures on their learning experiences and found that 92% of the students had continued studying albeit by self-initiative. Only 16% of the students were constantly in touch with their lecturers and only 16.5% of the students had access to online learning platforms. The respondents also expressed the challenges faced during the COVID-19 lockdown, the biggest of which was being able to continue their studies fairly normally. The obvious learning losses suffered by these students may in some way never be recovered. The government and all relevant stakeholders have to come together to find the most appropriate ways of going forward. In this study, students give voice to their recommendations most of which turn towards blended learning. We further explore strategies for a new learning system that has the potential to be a game-changer in the country’s education system. A new normal is being planned for and will start being implemented sooner than later. This new system should be more effective at education delivery, be inclusive of marginalized groups, and yet must also be affordable to the students. Furthermore, all this must be carried out in such a way that the standard health measures can be easily enforced. The results of carefully planned policy measures would greatly help in recouping the learning losses suffered during this pandemic and would make great strides in filling historical gaps in literacy rates.
- ItemUganda’s road to economic recovery post covid-19(Africa policy Centre. Uganda Christian University, 2020-07) Kabahizi, Cadreen BarungiLike the rest of the world, Uganda is suffering its share of economic disruption because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some lockdown policies, used as safety measures meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus, are still in place after four months. As a result, schools are closed, churches are closed, bars are closed, many people have lost their jobs, and many small business owners are struggling to get back on their feet, and even the big institutions such as universities are struggling to remain afloat. A great deal of uncertainty still hangs around the business and work sectors in the country. The gradual easing of lockdown measures may take an unpredictable pattern with possible spikes of reinfections warranting the reinstating of the lockdown measures. As Uganda grapples with the slowing down of its economy, the policy measures implemented may make or break Uganda’s recovery process. In this paper, we examine measures that can be taken to recover the losses Uganda has suffered and to get the economy back on track. These policy measures may also help pave the way forward for higher economic growth thus delivering Uganda into the middle-income category in the near future.