Headlines:

flickr facebook twitter digg stumbleupon feed

War on Tuberculosis in Uganda

Tuberculosis: Working to Empower The Nations’ Diagnostic Efforts (TWENDE) is a research and advocacy project which is convinced of the theory of change that is based on the assumption that empirical data can be collected; and which data documents the barriers that hinder up-take of successful tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics and also the opportunities that can accelerate up-take of successful TB diagnostics.

The theory’s logic follows that TWENDE can collect empirical data and that once collected, documented and analysed, the data can be a sound basis on which to engage policy. Engaging policy, within the context of TWENDE, is with the view of influencing policy makers and implementers, in a conciliatory manner, in order to encourage the translation of research innovations into policy and into practice; and thus improving access to TB diagnostics and medication.

CPAR Uganda Ltd, as part of the TWENDE Consortium, is thus conducting an empirical qualitative investigation of TB in Uganda, in order to collect data; document the data; analyse the data; and to disseminate the resulting findings.

Its TWENDE qualitative investigation in Uganda is led by its Managing Director, Ms. Norah Owaraga; whom Prof. Dr. Christopher Garimoi Orach is mentoring, in his two capacities: as the Board Chair of CPAR Uganda Ltd; and as a professor with the relevant public health expertise - he is, in fact, the Deputy Dean of the Makerere University School of Public Health.

During the first year of the project-cycle, CPAR Uganda Ltd participated in the necessary project inception activities, including: application and processing of ethics approvals from the relevant authorities; launching the project; developing research maps; determining research participants; designing of data collection tools; and training of investigators.

The TWENDE data collection tools for which CPAR Uganda Ltd provided its expertise and contributed in shaping the design, indeed, received ethics approvals from the University of St. Andrews School of Medicine Ethics Committee, acting on behalf of the University’s Teaching and Research Ethics Committee (UTRECT); and also from the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology, meaning de facto also from the Office of the President of the Republic of Uganda.

This year, 2017, CPAR Uganda Ltd collected ‘new’ qualitative data on TB through conducting interviews with 85 individuals – those it interviewed it selected from all the four big regions of the Country – North, East, South and West, who are representative of a range of interest groups; and through conducting four focus group discussions – of which the sessions were held in three of the four regions of the Country and with a total number of 87 individuals participating.

In addition, CPAR Uganda Ltd has conducted five policy workshops in one event which drew participation from 32 high level executives and officers. The participants in the policy workshops included: 10 politicians – Member of Parliament, Resident District Commissioners and District Chairpersons; 13 administrators – Permanent Secretary, District Chief Administrative Officers, administrators of civil society organisations and universities; nine health experts – Professors, District Health Officers and Medical Lab Technicians.

The participants of the policy workshops were officers representing 13 districts in the northern half of Uganda that are populated by nearly 3.7 million Ugandans – covering Teso, Bukedi, Bunyoro, Acholi and Lango sub-regions; and executives of national organisations, private hospitals, universities and civil society organisations.

The process has begun of transcribing and analysing its ‘new’ qualitative data on TB; and the analysed data, CPAR Uganda Ltd plans to use to author research reports, policy briefs, articles and opinions for publication in academic journals and in the media.

CPAR Uganda Ltd is confident that the TWENDE theory of change will hold true. That its research and advocacy intervention shall significantly contribute to bridging Uganda’s gap of insufficient availability of reliable data on TB for policy making and implementation, an unacceptable status quo which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has noted exists in Uganda.

Importantly, also, CPAR Uganda Ltd intends that its intervention will contribute towards increasing accessibility to TB diagnostics and treatment for the people of Uganda; thus contributing to breaking the cycle of Uganda’s TB burden.

TWENDE is a team of academics and researchers, including the Managing Director of CPAR Uganda Ltd, that have joined together in a consortium to contribute towards breaking the cycle of the TB burden in East Africa. The lead TWENDE investigators include: research scientists, clinical researchers, pulmonologists, microbiologists, immunologists, paediatricians, physicians, public health specialists and a cultural anthropologist. The lead TWENDE investigators are from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and the United Kingdom (UK). TWENDE lead investigators are affiliated to the seven institutions that make up the TWENDE Consortium, that is led by the University of St. Andrews, UK. TWENDE is a two year research and advocacy project (January 2016 to December 2017) that is funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), under its EDCT2 programme, funded by the Horizon 2020 European Union funding for Research and Innovation.

Photo: Prof. Dr. Christopher Garimoi Orach, Board Chair (left); Ms. Norah Owaraga, Managing Director (centre); and Mr. Alex B. Okello, Finance Committee Chair.