Malnutrition remains a major public health problem and a priority area for targeted health intervention in an ever changing world. Many strategies and interventions have been implemented with little or no success in reducing the unacceptably high rates of malnutrition and the attributable mortality and morbidity. Among the strategies recommended for nutrition improvement in Uganda is the development of human resources with competencies to promote nutrition with spin off benefits to health and socio- economic status of the community. Human resource development for nutrition has not, however, received much support just like other nutrition interventions.
As a result, the World Bank emphasized the urgent need to train nutrition workers to fill the gross deficiency of nutrition service providers at all levels of the health system. The few nutritionists/nutrition workers available in Uganda are based at Government Ministry headquarters-especially that of Health and Agriculture, Universities, Research institutions and the NGOs. Even at the institutions, the existing nutrition expertise is little to make substantial and sustainable impact on in the country. Many of our neighbouring East, Central and Southern African countries have trained nutritionists to meet the target of at least one nutritionist per region and/or district meaning that there is need to train more Public Health Nutritionists to beef up services and programmes at all levels.
Responding to this need, Makerere University through Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and partners developed a training programme leading to a Master of Public Health Nutrition. The programme started in 2008 and has since graduated over 80 candidates who are now providing leadership in nutrition in different sectors and international agencies. Experiences gathered running the program for the past 10 years are being used to improve the curriculum for the betterment of the training.
The MPHN curriculum is 78 weeks (22 months) in duration and consists of four semesters and one recess term. Each semester is 17 weeks, of which one week is for registration, 15 weeks are used for tutoring and one week for examinations. The recess term is 10 weeks.
The programme is hosted by the Department of Community Health and Behavioural Sciences at MakSPH. The program will leverage existing facilities such as lecture rooms, resource centre, computer laboratory, Kasangati Health Centre and other facilities in collaborative University departments.
On eligibility, the program is open to Ugandans and non-Ugandans who fulfill the admission requirements. The requirements described below are the minimum academic conditions for admission:
- A degree in Nutrition, Dietetics, Medicine or Nursing, or any other Medical Discipline from a recognised institution.
- A degree in any biological sciences from a recognised institution for example: Food Science and Technology, Veterinary Medicine, Sports Sciences, Home Economics, Agriculture and other relevant courses.
- A degree in Arts or Social Sciences having obtained at least a credit in Mathematics at the Ordinary Level. Field experience is an added advantage too.
The programme is run on a multi-disciplinary basis using specialists from within and without the University. Makerere University School of Public Health has adequate staffing for this program but additional experts will be solicited from the School of Medicine and other Schools within the University, especially School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-engineering; Social Sciences and the Ministry of Health.
Collaborating Universities as well, are invited in the implementation of the programme. Suitable supervisors, training sites and NGOs/CBOs are also identified to support students to achieve the necessary competencies. Supervision and guidance of the students during field attachments is therefore a key component of the programme
Upon completion, The products of this programme have skills to work as managers of programmes within Ministries and international nutrition agencies, will become nutrition researchers in universities and research institutions and lecturers in Universities. They will also be employed as nutrition officers or as part of the district health management team (DHMT) and the nutrition teams that provide patient care in the health care facilities. Career and professional growth opportunities will include continuation of studies into PhD programmes, specialisation in specific nutrition subjects like Maternal, New-born and Child Nutrition, Nutrition Policy, Nutrition Program Management, among others.
To apply, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Hanipher on 0782 036721
N.B: you can also access full Master of Public Health Nutrition curriculum at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oSUo-lcWvmi3ITfAPSwykmUHWrOwAhN0CzmakEY9d34/edit