Reserapport - utresande lärare
Lärosäte: Makerere University
Utbildningsprogram: Folkhälsovetenskap
Utbytesprogram: INK
Termin: Hösttermin 15/16
Antal dagar: 19
Namn: Lawoko Stephen




Having researched in Uganda during 2011-2012, I was well aware of living conditions in the capital city, Kampala. It is advisable to live closer to the university (in this case Makerere university) and there are a number of affordable accomodation (both flats and houses) of reasonable standard for rent in the vicinity. This is in stark contrast with hotels that usually are very expensive. Secondly, the department of psychiatry, Makerere University is geographically located only a few kilometers away from the Kampala city center, where traffic jam is very heavy, particularly during rush hours (i.e. mornings and evenings)! Living relatively close to the work place is therefore of advantage. The university area, like most of the city, is also secure and free of crime.

There are numerous house brokers who can be contacted in advance when in search of accomodation, but it is recomended to find one through the host institution, so that your taste and preferences are considered, as well as for easy follow-up. It is in this manner that I got my housing and since I would be staying for three weeks, renting a house turned out to be comparatively cheaper than hoteling would have been, in a similar living environment.

Språk och kultur


Course language and cultural issues

Like all education in Uganda, the course was delivered in English. Having lived and studied in Uganda for the first 19 years of my life, I was well-versed with the cultures in the country. Though Uganda is a multicultural society, divide on ethnic and other grounds have gradually faded out and students/teachers from different ethnic groups thrive very well together. Differences in values (e.g. culture, religion, attitudes etc) are an important dimension in enrichening discussions particularly in psychiatry,  as research shows that such factors may influence adhererence to treatment, be it traditional or conventional.



Free-time and social life

There is a lot to see and do in Kampala city as well as it neighbourhood. The interested reader can access a number of websites online for more detail and pictorial overviews.  See for example the link below


In summary therefore, my experience was very educative and has provided opportunity for deep reflection on ways to adapt teaching methods to varying academic environments. I will look forward to  teaching opportunities both at the home institution and other host institutions, including Makerere in the near future!

Annan verksamhet


Other activities

Though the main focus of the teacher exchange was education, spin off effects were reaped. Discussions with high level faculty were initiated for joint research applications between the two institutions. Research collaborations between the host and home departments have historically been strong, particularly with regard to doctoral education, but has weakened during recent years. This opportunity served to revive collaboration through initiating discussions on joint research proposal development. 




Makerere University was my choice for this teacher exchange program for several reasons. Firstly, I am born in Uganda and having spent the past 25 years in Sweden, I looked forward to research and education activities in Makerere, an institution that I have since childhood held in high esteem. Secondly, I recently returned from a collaborative research project (2011-2012) with a placing at Makerere University, School of Health Sciences, Department of public health sciences. During that period, the main activity was research, with little opportunity for education (teaching). Researching at Makerere however provided several opportunities for cross-departmental interaction. Having expanded my academic network in Makerere to include several other departments through writing of joint research proposal etc, I picked a particular interest in psychiatry, a significant concern in Uganda, particularly in post-conflict. Together with the head of department of psychiatry Dr. Noeline Nakasujja, a number of issues relating to academia and research were discussed including teaching at the department in the future. When funding opportunity arose in the form of teacher exchange, I was honoured to accept an invitation from the department. I was to participate in a course titlted "Development of a resrearch proposal" for post-graduate students in their first of a three years masters program in psychiatry.




My main reflection of this experience concerns the contrast of my teaching activities in Uganda contra Sweden (described previously in the text). I have always admired the KI teaching methods, but now also appreciate that variations in the education environment certainly dictate choice of approach, following this exposure. There is no blue print for which teaching model is most giving, as each is influenced by factors such as, length of program, class size, ratio of practical vs. theoretical moments, full or part-time studies etc. Matching teaching methods with environmental factors thus is crucial!   



The teaching activity


The course objectives and expected learning outcomes

The Research proposal development course is organised by the Makerere College of Health Science, Department of Psychiatry. The course is intended for Master of Medicine (Psychiatry) postgraduate students, attending the first of a three year Master of Psychiatry. The course runs for 15 weeks in Semester 1 of the academic year.    

Course Objectives

The specific objectives of the course are:

  1. To appreciate and understand what research is, and reasons for conducting research.
  2. To identify priority mental health problems which they can investigate for their dissertation research project (for a Master’s degree).

3.    To provide "hands on" experience with the research process and specific research skills needed to formulate research questions, hypothesis and objectives; and be able to apply an appropriate research design to achieve their research objectives.

4.    To demonstrate how to conduct a literature review based on research objectives.

5.    To demonstrate the building of conceptual frameworks.

6.    To provide familiarity with the dominant research designs and research strategies used by scientists.

7.    To appreciate and understand the basic ethical principles that governs human subject research.

8.    To provide a solid foundation for critically reviewing the reliability and validity of research findings.

Expected Learning Outcomes

 Upon successful completion of this course, the students will have gained professional skills such as:

1.     Ability to formulate and investigate informed mental health research questions, and their interdisciplinary connections.

2.    Ability to identify a range of different research strategies and methods, and to comment on their relative advantages and disadvantages

3.     Ability to write a research proposal, including principles of research design and ethical considerations

4.    Ability to recognize the relevance of mental health research to social, public and civic policy.

Contrast with related activities carried out by the undersigned at the Karolinska Institutet

Although there is no exact equivalent of the above described course at my home institute (the Karolinska Institutet, department of public health sciences), I have taught in several courses that share similar objectives as the above mentioned. I would here like to draw contrast between my teaching experiences at the host institution (Makerere) and at the home institution (Karolinska), particularly with regard to the theory-practice relationship, the teacher-student-patient relationship, teaching approach and support materials. 

Theory/practice relationship: The post graduate students I taught at Makerere are also practicing psychiatrist, and the department lies a stone throw away from the  psychiatric clinic at the Mulago national referral hospital, Uganda’s largest government owned health facility. Thus, Master students of psychiatry spend half the day treating psychiatric patients, and the other half attending courses. This alternating between education/research and practice in my view serves as a strong and constant reminder to students, that the ultimate goal of education and research is for the betterment of health service delivery for the patients the see daily.  This is particularly important for a course with primary focus on the fundamental pillars of research including conception (theory), design (methodology), fieldwork (practical part e.g. interaction with patients), analysis and reporting. In stark contrast, at the Karolinska Institutet most Master programs are a fulltime education commitment for the student, limiting the opportunity for alternating between theory/research and practice. Opportunity for field work is also limited, as many programs are between 1-2 years of duration. The link between theory and practice thus is less pronounced, when contrasted with Makerere. It is important however to recognize that the Master of Public Health students  I teach at the Karolinska vary in their occupational characteristics and majority do not have a clinical background.

Teacher-Student-Patient relationship: Owing to the above, the student-patient relationship at Makerere, department of psychiatry is reinforced by the alternation between education/research and clinical work.  Another distinction between Makerere and Karolinska in Master education lies in the classroom size. The master’s program in psychiatry consisted of only 5 students, in stark contrast with masters programs in public health at Karolinska where the number of students have varied between 30-50 students over the years. A part from logistic advantages (e.g. easier to go through assignments etc.), the advantage of having smaller classes over large ones include among others improved teacher/student interaction time at the individual level, building a closer academic relationship with each student, and thereby enhancing better understanding of individual-level weaknesses and strengths of students. On the other hand, the smaller the classroom the smaller the variation in student characteristics that foster learning. Variations in age, gender, culture etc. are known to enrichen discussions, widen perspectives etc. which are important for a course at post graduate level.

Teaching approach: Finally, an important distinction between the two institutions lies in the grade of student involvement in knowledge transfer. While both Karolinska and Makerere require students active participation in knowledge transfer, my experience is that postgraduate students at Makerere, department of psychiatry are markedly more involved. A model characterized by what I will term as “peer learning and feedback” supported by a tutor is used. In this model each student is assigned a topic to review, based on tutor-provided materials. They then make a power-point presentation of main message therein followed by an in-depth discussion of the topic with the rest of the class, guided by the tutor. An additional major requirement is that all students complete a thorough synthesis of the materials provided, to enrichen the discussion. Each session is then rounded up with real-world examples of mental health problems with knowledge gaps in the Uganda context that could generate research hypotheses for further investigation.

Support material: A pre-condition for the above teaching approach is that students have access to updated materials. The university libraries are not as well equipped at Makerere as they are at the Karolinska. Students at Makerere risk therefore missing out on the state of the art in the fields studied. Tutors need to pay attention to this aspect, as they distribute materials on which lectures are based, by including recent discussions and debates in the field.  

My contribution to the course

My contribution in the course covered a total of 2 working days per week, over a 3 week period. Spreading out the course over a 15 week period is congruent with the teaching approach laid out above, so as to allow students time to prepare presentations, deep reading and reflection. In general, I was assigned as tutor for the methodology part of the course, which addressed research study designs, study populations, sampling, sampling strategy, sample size estimation, study variables and their measurement, reliability and validity issues, data collection methods and analysis.  I wrapped this up with a group assignment (two groups of 3 and 2 students respectively) that concerns developing and writing up a methodology section based on a specific research question. The assignment was to be completed in writing and posted to me after one week. According to the results, it appears the students had developed deep understanding of the issues addressed during my tutorship.




Time spent on teaching activities

The table below shows the time spent per week on different aspects of the teacher-exchange

Table 1: Weekly distribution of activities related with the teacher-exchange


Time spent/week

Proportion of total weekly activity

Supporting “Peer learning and feedback” activities

2 hours


Actual tutorship

3 hours



2 hours


Interaction with individual students

4 hours


Interaction with junior and senior faculty

4 hours


Preparation of materials, lectures etc.

6 hours


Total time on teacher exchange activities/week

21 hours