Although a lot of successes have been registered by the increasing number of HIV/AIDS related programs as well as increased funding, it has been observed that a number of challenges still exist. Amongst these challenges is the shortage of trained personnel with necessary skills to provide the much needed stewardship in program leadership and management, more so in the rural areas. Sustainability of the various HIV/AIDS programs also remains a challenge.
In order to address these challenges, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), undertook a commitment to train more individuals to gain expertise in addressing the various aspects of managing HIV/AIDS programs. This commitment saw the initiation of the MakSPH-CDC HIV/AIDS Fellowship Program in January 2002. The main objective of the Fellowship Program is to provide systematic Public Health training focused on increasing the number of professionals trained in program leadership and management that is needed to spearhead HIV/AIDS programs.
The MakSPH-CDC Fellowship program currently has four major training activities: 1) the two-year (long-term) fellowship which has been implemented over the last seven years, 2) offsite short courses, 3) the recently launched six month (medium-term) fellowship, and 4) technical placements.
The Long-term HIV/AIDS Fellowship Program is a 2-year, non-degree fulltime program offered on a competitive basis to Ugandan nationals with a postgraduate degree in Public Health, Medicine, Statistics, Journalism, Social Sciences, Demography, Information Technology, or any other health-related field.
Medium-term Fellowships are offered for a period of eight months to in-service professionals working in organizations with HIV/AIDS activities. The purpose of these Fellowships is to build institutional capacity through training individuals in identified technical fields. As such, the Fellowships are offered to mid- and senior-level managers, coordinators and supervisors who can influence systems and improve management and leadership within their respective institutions.
Technical Placements involve attachment of in-service HIV/AIDS organization staff to another HIV/AIDS organization for up to one month. Prior to the placement, participants undergo a one-week orientation at MakSPH to enhance understanding of the placement objectives and be instructed in the area of interest. During the technical placements, participants understudy a particular health issue and are involved in activities in their specified area of interest to facilitate learning and exchange. Participants document the best practices observed for adoption/replication/piloting as a project in their organizations within the subsequent six-month period.
Off-site Short Courses are conducted in response to organization's training needs at selected sites. The training is offered to mid and senior level managers as well as staff involved in HIV/AIDS activities at national, district, facility and community level, based on institutional demand, training needs assessment and/or relevance to program goals and objectives.