Researchers gather in Kisumu for internship programme
This week sees the start of an annual international research internship programme for health systems researchers, hosted by the Great Lakes University of Kisimu (GLUK), Kenya. The programme offers junior researchers the opportunity to receive training and to network with peers and facilitators from other countries.
The internship originally began in Canada in 2001 with funding received by Prof. Nancy Edwards of the School of Nursing and Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine of the University of Ottawa. The internship programme was expanded internationally in 2008 and has since been held in Canada (2008), Kenya (2009& 2012), Jamaica (2010), and South Africa (2011). In this, its 6th year, the programme has 15 participants, mostly from Kenya.
The participants work under the mentorship of Kenyan facilitators such as Prof. Dan Kaseje, vice- chancellor of GLUK, and international colleagues such as Prof.Edwards.
They will spend the first month (15 April-10 May 2013) of the internship programme in Kisumu. During this time they will, among other things, attend workshop sessions to acquire knowledge and skills in health systems research, think about different ways of designing and evaluating health system intervention programmes, learn about networking and developing partnerships with health system decision-makers, and acquire skills in developing grant proposals. They will also begin to develop a research project of their own choice and have the opportunity to attend the three-day 15th Annual Scientific Conference of the Tropical Institute of Community Health.
In mid-May 2013 the participants will return to their home countries and organisations and receive part-time mentorship from the facilitators, focused mostly on the finalisation of the research protocol they began developing while still in Kisumu and the eventual publication of their scientific work.
GLUK is one of the partner institutions of the Consortium for Health Policy and Systems Research in Africa (CHEPSAA). CHEPSAA, a European Union-funded consortium of African and European universities, is a partnership whose overall purpose is to increase African capacity to produce and use high-quality health policy and systems research (http://www.hpsa-africa.org/).
Some of the GLUK-based facilitators of the internship programme have benefitted from training facilitated by CHEPSAA and conducted as part of the Winter School of the School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, South Africa and are now able to apply some of the course contents and methods learnt to their engagement with the internship programme.