The Role of Open and Distance Learning in Health Education, a Case Study of Masters of Public Health, Distance Education Program (MPH, DE) of Makerere University

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF5 Suib-theme: Health // The Masters in Public Health, Distance Education Program (MPH, DE), and Makerere University was launched in October 2004. The need to sensitize the public about Primary Health care and the need to persuade the public to practice Primary Health care in all districts of Uganda prompted the need for training in public Health. The use of distance education which is accessible and convenient is justified because of convenience for medical officers in the decentralized districts of Uganda. // This paper content is from a survey of 37 out of 51(65%) of pioneer students at the end of their first face-to-face sessions semester one 2004, that sought to find out their experiences and benefits derived from the course. The paper demonstrate successful outreach in training doctors in Uganda who address health concerns, in the decentralized districts but cannot leave their jobs for full time courses but would like to take up masters programs.. The findings show that the majority of students were conversant with computers (51.4%) somewhat comfortable with computers, (94.3%) had ever used email. However only 5.4% had done online courses earlier, Other computer aided communication techniques of chatting, online discussion boards, videoconferencing, were new to more than 90% of the students. // Students' problems were limited time, limited access to computers and internet. Students indicated improvement of handling health care, acquiring knowledge of research techniques reflected in improved health data. They appreciate the continued education that keeps them within their working environment, as they apply the knowledge they acquire as they study, without depriving the society of the scarce medical human resource even if they were to study fulltime. //Paper ID 603