Building evidence-based public health capacity in Africa: developing and piloting a workshop




Oral session: Education and training (3)


Thursday 24 October 2019 - 11:00 to 12:30


All authors in correct order:

Rohwer A1, Burns J2, Akiteng AR3, Ntawuyirushintege S4, Tumusiime D4, Namatovu S5, Kobusingye O5
1 Centre for Evidence-based Health Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
2 Institute for Medical Information Processing, Biometry, and Epidemiology, Pettenkoffer School of Public Health, LMU Munich, Germany
3 Makerere University, Uganda
4 University of Rwanda, Rwanda
5 School of Public Health, Makerere University, Uganda
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Anke Rohwer

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: there is a lack of evidence-based public health (EBPH) training initiatives in Africa. The Collaboration for Evidence-based Health Care and Public Health in Africa (CEBHA+) is a network of seven African partners in Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Malawi and South Africa, and two German partners, aiming to build long-term capacity and infrastructure for evidence-based healthcare and public health in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Objectives: to develop, implement and evaluate a workshop on EBPH relevant to the African setting

Methods: the CEBHA+ capacity development working group, comprising one member of each partner, developed a five-day, face-to-face EBPH workshop. We met regularly via Skype to develop the workshop, drawing on existing materials, previous experience and expertise within the group. The workshop aimed to introduce the concepts of EBPH to public health professionals, researchers and students. Workshop content focused on phrasing questions, and finding, appraising, interpreting and applying best available evidence for public health questions. We used various interactive approaches to enhance learning, including illustrated lectures, group exercises and discussions, and hands-on searching. Examples throughout the workshop were relevant to public health in Africa. We used an online learning platform as a repository for workshop material and an opportunity for interaction during and beyond the workshop. Participants completed daily online evaluation forms and facilitators met to reflect at the end of each day.

Results: the CEBHA+ EBPH workshop was first implemented at Makerere University, School of Public Health in Kampala, Uganda, from 8 to 12 October 2018 and was attended by 30 participants. Five CEBHA+ team members from Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa and Germany facilitated the workshop. Diversity in professional backgrounds, countries of origin and facilitation experience within the team led to an enriching experience for both learners and facilitators. Considering that Uganda faces a huge burden of disease related to road traffic injuries, we used this as the main example to illustrate the five steps of EBPH, and selected a controlled before-after study, an interrupted time series study and a systematic review on interventions to prevent road traffic accidents for critical appraisal. Participants reported that the content was relevant and applicable to their daily work. Based on their feedback, they enjoyed the interactive sessions, critically appraising challenging papers and networking opportunities. Participants recognised the importance of EBPH and identified the need to expand the offering of EBPH training beyond CEBHA+.

Conclusions: the first CEBHA+ EBPH workshop was successfully implemented in Uganda, with 30 participants receiving theoretical and practical training in EBPH. We will offer future workshops in Rwanda, Malawi and Ethiopia, and are planning a formal evaluation.

Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: none