Monday November 28 2011

Consult local research, don tells lawmakers

By Stephen Otage

Lawmakers should consult local medical research and studies before they pass healthcare laws and policies if those policies are to impact communities, Prof. Harriet Mayanja Kizza, the dean of the School of Public Health at Makerere University, has said.

Prof. Kizza made the call at the first Conference on Evidence-Based Approach to Healthcare provision in Africa in Kampala on Friday.

Understanding policies
She said consultations would create an understanding of the policies among the communities, which then makes it easier for the communities to appreciate and embrace them.

This, she added, is unlike the current practice where healthcare policies are drafted in foreign boardrooms and then imposed on Ugandans, which according to the university professor, leads to policies that are “geographically, physically and economically different” from the local setting.

Prof. Kizza said although a lot of clinical research is conducted in Uganda, the findings are not implemented in policy making and clinical practice, citing the case of widespread malnutrition in Namutumba District early this year, which was attributed to bad weather, yet background checks later revealed that most families in the district resort to sugarcane growing while neglecting food crops.

“We know that the resources to the health sector are meagre. We need policies which are sustainable. If we went to Parliament and told the legislators what we have found out in Namutumba, it will make sense to the MPs to pass laws which will require every household to plant food crops,” she said.

The conference seeks to increase knowledge and expertise on evidence-based medicine for African countries and promoting and facilitating the use of current evidence to improve healthcare and health policies in Africa.

sotage@ug.nationmedia.com

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