May 31, 2013

Scientists Urged To Disseminate Research Findings At Home

Scientists meeting for their 14 annual scientific conferences in Kampala are urging researchers to disseminate findings of their works in Uganda before publishing them abroad.

Speaking during the forum, Andrew Kambugu, the Chairperson of Uganda Health Scientists Association (USHS) argued that increasingly, findings of health studies done in Uganda do not benefit local people or provide the much needed medical interventions.

He said many times research done in Uganda is first disseminated in Europe, because universities and research institutions in the country lack essential funding to sustain the research area. Kambugu called on scientists in Uganda to look for opportunities to publish their work at home.

He said slow patent and copyright procedures hinder scientists from getting full credit on their innovations. In addition, young researchers lack experienced mentors who can help them develop their practice.

Dr. Sabrina Bakeere Kitaka, a Pediatrician and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Paediatrics at Makerere College of Health Sciences, said frequently researchers are giving value to training in Uganda and opt to working in the scientific field here. However, it was observed that local scientists prefer to establish their practice in European countries because of the associated financial and professional benefits.

Dr. Kitaka noted that the medical fraternity tries to discourage brain drain, which is blamed for a shortage in skilled practitioners in Uganda.

The researchers meeting under the theme Research for better Health are presenting findings of studies done in Uganda on HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis, pediatric care, and neglected tropical diseases among other health fields.

Denis Mpiima, a Clinical Field Services Supervisor at The Aids Support Organization (TASO), has developed a mobile phone technology for early initiation and prevention of highly infectious smear TB. He argues that getting published is essential in disseminating findings.

Mpiima hopes his findings will help patients utilize the mobile phone technology to communicate with care workers in times when they cannot afford transport costs to attend TB clinics.

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