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Building the evidence-base of public health in the DRC and in Uganda

The Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp (ITM) and African partner organisations have launched two European Union (EU) funded projects. The projects aim at strengthening the capacity of public health institutes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda, as well as contributing sound evidence-based policy analysis and advice. “RIPSEC” and “SPEED” won a competitive call of the European Commission’s EuropeAid in December 2014.

“Evidence-based policy analysis and advice are key ingredients of a resilient health system. We put our expertise in the subject matter at disposal of our partner institutes in the DRC and Uganda to build health care which better responds to people’s needs,” said ITM’s Prof. Bart Criel.   

RIPSEC: Renforcement Institutionnel pour des Politiques de Santé basées sur l’Evidence en République Démocratique du Congo (Institutional strengthening of health policies based in evidence in DRC)

RIPSEC was launched in the capital of the DRC, Kinshasa, on Tuesday 24 March 2015. The project links a consortium of four Congolese institutes (Public Health Schools of Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Bukavu, and the Biomedical Research Centre INRB) with the National Public Health School (ENSP) of Rabat, Morocco and ITM. Led by Prof. Bart Criel, the Unit of Health Financing of ITM’s Department of Public Health coordinates this 5-year-long project worth 4 million euro of EU funding.

This project will launch an autonomous knowledge centre in the DRC, inspired by the Belgian model of the KCE (Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre). Four learning and research health districts will also be developed. They will eventually constitute privileged sites for training and research of Congolese health managers in the field of health services organisation and management of local health systems. A broad range of capacity building activities of the four Congolese institutes and their staff are also foreseen.

SPEED: Supporting Policy Engagements for Evidence-based Decisions for Universal Health Coverage in Uganda

The SPEED project coordinated by the Ugandan Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), a long-standing institutional partner of ITM, was launched in the Ugandan capital of Kampala on Thursday 19 March 2015. 
In the SPEED project, Antwerp experts will support the development of the innovative Fellowship Program in Health Systems Management (FPHSM). This programme, fruit of the institutional collaboration between ITM and MakSPH, targets health systems managers with a master’s degree in public health. Most of them are based on the periphery of the Ugandan health system and are in need of support and coaching in their ambitious task of organising quality health care services. The blended training programme, spread over 2 years, alternates one week classroom teaching with 3-months of fieldwork in the fellow’s work setting, where they develop an action research aiming to solve an identified problem.

ITM’s health systems experts will also contribute to reinforcing the researchers’ capacity of policy analysis and policy influencing at MakSPH and institutions affiliated with SPEED. They will also support the development of the “Policy Implementation Barometer” surveys as well as the production of technical and scientific papers.

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