Brief about training Services at JCRC
The training programs at JCRC bring together in-service health professionals, students at different levels in Universities and other tertiary institutions, the policy makers and other global scientists towards acquiring skills using technologically advanced mechanisms and tools to respond to existing and emerging health problems. The training programs are offered through experiential learning approach i.e. Hands-on practice, group participation, self-teaching and case discussions tailored to enhance skills and suit the needs of the individual trainee. The training takes place physically at JCRC headquarter is located at Lubowa and at 4 of the JCRC Regional Centers of Excellence: in Mbale in the east, Fort Portal in the west, Gulu in the north and Mbarara in the south of Uganda and at JCRC partner institutions. The JCRC also provides a wide range of virtual online learning.
In general the programs provide novel research experience and hands-on skills in biomedical and social sciences, ethical regulatory processes, good clinical practices, data processing, statistical analysis techniques, proposal writing, Good Clinical laboratory practices, field community engagement, health systems and services research. The areas of training include: health care (Clinical, Nursing, Pharmacy, Adherence and Counseling), pharmacy, Data, Monitoring and Evaluation, procurement, laboratory services, Information Technology, research (HIV, TB, Cardiology, sickle cell etc) , financial (Audit, Purchasing Finance, revenue and Inventory) among others. Training is open to JCRC staff and non-staff (local and international) with defined minimum qualification usually: Diplomas, Bachelor, Masters, PhDs holders and Post doctorates.
The Overall Objective of the JCRC training department
The overall goal of the training department to identify required training needs at international, national, institutional and individual needs ( JCRC staff or non staff) and devise means of filling the gap through providing training Services.
The specific objectives are:
- To provide job related knowledge and improved competency to the in-service workers (local and international) for increased productivity, respond to changing technologies/approaches and quality of services.
- To impart hands-on-skills and knowledge among upcoming scientists/learners for increased quality manpower.
- To bring about improve attitudes of the workers towards clients, fellow–workers/supervisor and the general organization performance.
The JCRC Training Committee with representatives from (Clinical, Radiology, Nursing, Pharmacy, Counseling, Information Technology, Data, Estates, Stores, Dental, Research, Pediatrics, and laboratory) deliberates on the training activities identified, prioritizes, lead development of training materials as needed, selection of trainees, recommend participants to benefit from particular training within and outside JCRC under the guidance of the JCRC Executive Director. The training committee is also an advisory body to JCRC management on matters related to training priorities, mandatory training, training opportunities for staff, and training collaboration with JCRC partners. The committee is guided by the JCRC: Training policy, annual employee training plan, trainee placement contractual terms, any existing Memorandum of Understating (MoUs), human resources manual and the JCRC strategic plan.
Since its establishment in 1991, the JCRC has established an outstanding track record of providing quality training to both local and international trainees. The JCRC has successfully accomplished several collaborative research training programs.
Here we share with you key outstanding training programs with remarkable achievements.
i). The FIC/NIH funded International Clinical Operational and Health Services Research Training (ICOHRTA HIV/TB) collaboration grant number TW0006879 (2004 -2016), The goal of ICOHRTA was to strengthen the national capacity to address the public health and scientific challenges of the evolving HIV/TB epidemic. The program trained PhD (n=6), Masters (n=64), and HIV/TB fellows (n=5) each conducted a research project on HIV or TB and made at least one publications (2 students had research projects on CVD in HIV). The ICOHRTA graduation rate was 98% and our carrier tracker shows that over 85% of former trainees are increasingly becoming successful independent scientists, educators, and public health practitioners in Uganda. A total of 873 trainees benefited from the short-term courses e.g. Grants writing and Grants Award Management, TB Laboratory Skills and External Quality Assessment (EQA); Ethics, Human Rights and the Law on HIV/AIDS; Dissemination and Implementation Science; Research administration; Research methods; Research Ethics and Good Clinical Practice; Manuscript Writing Skills; Responsible Conduct of Research; HIV/TB Collaborative; Mentorship etc. Several training materials were developed under ICOHRTA that are used in Uganda and beyond.
Over the team years , the ICOHRTA established new graduate programs namely: i) Ms in Health Services Research at Makerere University School of Public Health (MUSPH) ii) Curriculum for PhD in Health Services Research at MUSPH iii) MPH at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) UST iv). Msc in Psychiatry and MPH at Gulu University. The ICOHRTA published the “Mentors Manual for Health Sciences Training in Africa”. The manual was the first ever mentors manual that has been produced and published in Uganda. Through the ICOHRTA FIC D43 administrative supplement, an online course on Responsible Conduct Research (RCR) was developed and hosted on the JCRC website since Dec 2014 and over 421 trainees have benefited. Several programs in Uganda have adapt the ICOHRTA mentorship arrangements, faculty, execution of training courses, evaluation process (trainee career track approaches), trainee terms of references and handling trainee progress and remediation processes.
ii). The Targeted HIV/AIDS and Laboratory Services (THALAS) training program
The main goal of the THALAS training program was is to: Improve skills of laboratory personnel in 19 THALAS supported regional referral and district hospitals to support provision of laboratory diagnostic tests for improved HIV/AIDS care and management. THALAS project had 6 objectives.
Specifically, objectives of the THALAS project was to; Provide external quality assurance (EQA) coaching, mentoring and training for labs under SUSTAIN. The Project further organized training that specifically targets JCRC clinical teams to meet the demands of Deliverable, To provide quality care to clients in JCRC Kampala and Deliverable, Offer Lab services to SUSTAIN supported labs.
THALAS provides training through adoption of the following strategies:
i) Adopt MoH training tools to conduct training and where non-exist, develop required materials for national adoption.
ii) Conduct facility assessments to establish staff capacity needs and existing competencies
iii) Conduct training using various training methodologies to address capacity gaps.
The following training materials were developed:
a). Laboratory training materials
Review and development of Laboratory Technology Training Curricula for Certificate and Diploma courses, Support to Ministry of Health/ Central Public Health Laboratories to review and update the Laboratory Logistics curriculum used for roll out of the national logistics management training programs, Developed Laboratory mentorship training materials: Training curriculum, training manual and Mentors guide, all of which are used to support the national laboratory mentorship programs.
b). Community Based Health workers
Developed the Community Liaison Volunteers (CLV) training package, materials that are used to support community based health workers like Village Health Teams (VHTs) to support ART adherence monitoring within the community. Materials available include: CLV training curriculum; CLV handbook; Community education grain sack Flip charts; Hand held Flip charts for one on one community based counseling.
iii). The International Extramural Associates Research Development Award (IEARDA) funded by NICHD grant number G11HD065299-05, 2010 to 2015 at JCRC. Selected JCRC staff together with other 12 IEARDAs from other African institutions participated in the International Extramural Associates award virtual and residence mentorship at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in 2010 prior to program implementation. The IEARDA aimed at building capacity of research administrators capable of addressing current and future NIH and other funding agencies’ grant policies and procedures. The program trained 345 persons on short courses including: publication and scientific writing; engaging the public in research, Implementation sciences, research administration, facility based data management and collaboratively developed other training materials. The program established research and grants structures at partner institutions i.e. Uganda Christian University and Ndejje University in Uganda.Through administrative supplement support from PEPFAR administrative supplement through Initiative on Research and Innovation Management (iRIM), IEARDA consortium in Africa developed interactive tutorials on innovative research administration.
The JCRC Virtual Learning Centre is an online e-Learning platform targeting different stakeholders/trainees including healthcare providers, policy makers, academia among others at local and international level. Our virtual learning mainly focuses on research, diseases prevention, management and treatment of HIV/AIDS and other tropical infectious diseases. The virtual learning centre caters for different online training: short training courses, annual HIV update meeting; Continuous Medical Education, platform for sharing case studies, health policy documents-guidelines and any other relevant training materials as may be decided by JCRC training team and eventually management.
b) Short courses
JCRC is well-suited to offer virtual training courses through its core business that include Clinic, Laboratory and Research. Some of the courses include:
- HIV drug resistance
- Management of patients on3rd line ART
- Geographical Information Systems
- Large data Management and use
- Research Administration
- Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
- Grants writing and Managment
Each Medical and Dental Practitioner in Uganda is required to engage in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training and accumulate mandatory Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in 12 months in order to qualify for Annual Practicing Licence (APL). The aim of CPD is to continuously improve quality of care provided by the Medical and Dental practitioners to individuals, families and communities they serve through increasing the health workers’ skills, technical/professional knowledge in fields related to health professional practices, such as health care delivery, Leadership, management, ethics and communication and human rights. The provision of CPD is the principal mandate of Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council (UMDPC) but it accredits some institutions to provide CPD. The JCRC is among organizations in Uganda that are accredited by UMDPC to offer CPD nationwide.
i). The Annual HIV update meetings
The Annual HIV update meeting is one of the CPD activity. This is an avenue that has been used by JCRC in collaboration with the Uganda Ministry of Health (MoH) and other partners since 2008 to update health care workers managing HIV clinics on the most recent research findings and new developments in HIV care, prevention and treatment as presented at International HIV conferences. This meeting specifically targets, clinicians- doctors, policy makers, researchers, nurses, counselors, clinical officers, and other personnel at facilities providing HIV services and research across the country. The meeting draws on expertise of local and international speakers who have experience in managing HIV patients over long period of time and those involved in HIV research. The Update meeting takes on the training and experiences/research results sharing approach. The participants learn from what has worked elsewhere and what has not worked with a focus on HIV prevention, treatment and research. The program includes presentations at conference on retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) updates. For the last four years representatives who are supporting national HIV/AIDS response from the East African region (Rwanda, Kenya, South Sudan and Tanzania) are invited to make country specific presentations and discussions. All attendees including the JCRC staff register online and upon completion they receive their Continuous Professional Development (CPD) credits for the sessions attended which contributes to renewal of their annual practicing license. At the meeting, there are selected cases presented by healthcare workers from various parts of the country. The meeting that usually runs for three (3) days physical or mix of physical and virtual.
The JCRC training committee and Management prioritizes, schedules and conducts weekly Continuous Medical Education (CMEs) that are physical or virtual. These CMEs are not entirely medical, but they consist of educational activities that serve to maintain, develop, increase the knowledge, relationship with customers, skills and general professional performance of JCRC staff. The CMEs are selected based on feedback from customer satisfaction, JCRC employee plan, continuing professional development, changes in medicine/treatment/technology/approaches, Continuous Quality improvement projects, new technologies professional bodies directives, Update on treatment guidelines; decision by JCRC Management among others.
e) Internship and trainee placement Opportunities
The JCRC offers a range of exciting and highly regarded placement and internship opportunities for local and international trainees. Placement trainees are attached to JCRC for an agreed period of time to gain experience in a wide range of fields, practicing alongside experienced clinicians, researchers and other specialized professionals at JCRC. The JCRC is the oldest and most prestigious HIV/AIDS treatment clinic and other tropical diseases research centre in the region. Trainees receive novel research experience and hands-on skills in biomedical and social sciences, ethical regulatory processes, good clinical practices, data processing and statistical analysis techniques, research proposal writing, laboratory bench experiences, field community engagement opportunities, health systems and services research. In addition, trainees establish and develop more contacts and expand networks with professionals in their field of study and further boost their career opportunities.
For the past 27 years, local and international trainees have received internship physical attachment at JCRC in various fields. However, due to COVID 19 pandemic since the year 2020, most students especially international students are not able to come to Uganda hence the virtual field schooling. For example, the first Virtual Field School between Canada (Western University) and Uganda (JCRC) took place in August 2020. The Global Health Systems (GHS) virtual field process involved video coverage tour of JCRC headquarters at Lubowa by the videography team and field school coordinator for GHS in Uganda. A selected team of 14 JCRC specialists lead by Dr. Cissy Kityo (the Executive Director, JCRC) made recorded presentation about on JCRC Please find link for the JCRC video.
The video informed the question and answer session with 42 students of western university – Canada.