On Friday 12th October 2018, the Collaboration for Evidence-Based Healthcare and Public health in Africa (CEBHA+) closed a five – day workshop held at Resilience Africa Network (RAN) in Kololo. The training was in Evidence-Based Public Health (EBPH). The overall strategy of the training aimed at building capacity and providing methodological support to conduct high-quality evidence syntheses for the benefit of translating evidence into policy and practice. It was funded by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany specifically, from their Ministry of Education and Research.

The training focused finding, appraising, interpreting and applying the best evidence to public health questions relevant to the African Setting. Participants were expected, among other things, to be able to understand how the concepts of complex interventions and systems affect the evaluation of public health interventions in primary research and evidence synthesis. They were also expected to formulate clear questions relevant to public health in Africa, and critically appraise systematic reviews and interpret results.

Dr Anke Rowher (pictured above) from Stellenbosch University in South Africa who was one of the facilitators expressed gratitude for what the participants had done; for their “energy, participation, engagement, discussions and enthusiasm”. She attributed the success of the workshop to the active participation of the group, adding that their feedback would be helpful in improving the course. She also appreciated Stella Namatovu and Grace for running the training.

Dr Olive Kobusingye who was the Chief Guest at the closing ceremony expressed hope that the course had met and exceeded the expectations of the trainees, adding that “sometimes in a training like that, you don’t even know that you do not know something, and then you learn it. I would imagine that this is such a course, given the sentiments I have heard from around”. Dr Kobusingye (pictured above) also revealed that Uganda was the first country to pilot this kind of training. “I am really glad that it all turned out very well. I know that you came with a lot of experience and knowledge, so we did not start on a clean slate”, said Dr Kobusingye. She also challenged the trainees to go beyond the knowledge and experiences they had encountered, to the application of the knowledge. “It’s not just what you have, and you all have it. It’s what you are going to do with what you have that will really matter”, she implored the audience. She cautioned them against postponing action to “next year”. She entreated them to choose “one thing that they wouldn’t do without the course, and then start on it the following day: “If it doesn’t happen quickly, it is not going to happen at all; if we don’t use what we have, we lose it”. Dr Kobusingye also urged the participants to start posting testimonies of practising what they had learnt.

Trainees and facilitators take a picture at RAN, Kololo, during the EBPH training organized by CEBHA+

The workshop had 30 trainees selected from more than 90 who had submitted applications. They included researchers working on aspects of evidence-based public health, mid-career professionals working in public health institutions, and students undertaking postgraduate studies and wishing to embark on a career in public health.

Participants hold a discussion during one of the sessions in the EBPH training organized by CEBHA+.
L–R: Mr Jacob Burns (Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich), Dr Anke Rowher (Stellenbosch University, South Africa), Dr Ann Akiteng (Makerere University, Uganda), Dr David Tumusiime, and Mr Seleman Ntawuyirushintege (the latter two from the University of Rwanda) were facilitators at the workshop

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