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School of Public Health
College of Health Sciences, Makerere University

Advert for a PhD Training Position

Date of Validity

Vacancy Details


First Referral Level Hospitals (FRLH) hold a special role between primary and secondary care, and form the apex of the Primary Health Care (PHC) and are vital to the realization of the national UHC goals. While the special role of FRLH is recognized, there is a general neglect of this level of care, in terms of hospital management, financing, staffing, technology and infrastructure. For example, essential medicines to cater for unique services at these hospitals are often in serious shortage thus curtailing the performance of these hospitals (AHSR 2023). Likewise, the share of health expenditure on FRLH was below 10% despite FLRH constituting about 70 percent of units (163 General hospitals and 222 HC IVs nationally) across the 136 districts (World Bank Public Expenditure report, 2023). FRLH attract high patient visits partly due to less optimal functionality of the PHC system.  Restrictions on the wage bill and recruitment of staff has escalated the workload for the few available staff – a situation that brings about task-sharing and related quality challenges. 

The AFRHiCARE is a research partnership with Makerere, Oxford and Witwatersrand Universities and KEMRI concerned about future of First Referral level Hospitals in Africa. The partnership is supported by Wellcome Trust to address the following research questions:

1.    What essential hospital care (EHC) services are FLRH expected to provide across LMIC; how might expectations and integration with primary and higher system levels evolve over time?
2.    What forms of task-sharing have emerged and worked (or not), across LMIC to deliver quality care among FLRH?
3.    Which technologies are present or being introduced to support task-sharing have most potential to influence quality of care and service redesign in FLRH in the future?
4.    How do workforce behaviours and the psychological and physical health of FLRH vary between settings and profession groups; and how do workplace factors, influence workforce behaviours, well-being, task-sharing and service design?
5.    How does engagement with policy and practice communities help generate and customise the evidence to support learning and change management at FLRH?

Position description: As part of capacity building, a doctoral (PhD) training position (PhD fellowship) is available on the AFRHiCARE project for a suitably qualified individual with interest in advancing their knowledge and research area aligned with AFRHiCARE partnership objectives and scope. The PhD candidate shall be required to register at Makerere University. S/he will receive support for tuition, research costs and a stipend. The PhD fellowship support is for a maximum of three years only, with an annual review for performance and progression.  
The role: The PhD candidate will be expected to conduct the following tasks among others:
i.    Support the day-to-day implementation of AFRHiCARE project.
ii.    Support the development of study protocols and engagements with stakeholders; 
iii.    Coordinate the conduct research activities including data collection and analysis in line with the project objectives and as guided by supervisors.
iv.    Present research papers at scientific conferences and write scientific manuscripts that will contribute to the attainment of the PhD.
v.    Co-draft grant applications for supplemental funding.
vi.    Contribute to departmental, School and university activities as guided by supervisors. 


•    A master’s degree in Public Health or Environmental Health or Health Services Research, or Social Sciences, or a closely related master’s degree.
•    A CGPA of at least 3.6 at bachelor’s, and at least 4.0 at master’s degree training.
•    Ugandan citizenship.
•    Experience in conducting health systems or workforce research will be an added advantage. 

How to apply:

Suitably qualified persons should email their application with must include the following:
(i)    A one-page type written application letter addressed to the Dean, Makerere University School of Public Health, with a subject line: “Application for a PhD Position on the AFRHiCARE project”.
(ii)    Up-to-date curriculum vitae.
(iii)    Copies of the relevant academic certificates and transcripts.
(iv)    A copy of the national identification card.
(v)    The PhD concept (no more than 4 pages, font type Arial 11, single spacing) describing the possible PhD research idea in line with the project domains described above; including: (i) Brief background, ii) research problem, iii) research hypothesis/ theoretical underpinning of the research, (iv) specific aims, (v) research design, and (vi) analysis plan.
(vi)    Two (2) letters of recommendation, with at least one from an academic supervisor at master’s training, including their functioning email address and a daytime phone number.
The above application documents must be submitted as ONE PDF file to the email:, with the subject line “Application for PhD Position on the AFRHiCARE Project”. The deadline for submission is by 11.59pm on the 19th March, 2024.

NB: Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interviews before the end of March 2024. 

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