Research fails MNH quest as a centre of excellence

16May 2019
Henry Mwangonde
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
Research fails MNH quest as a centre of excellence

EFFORTS by the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) to be a centre of excellence in healthcare provision in the country and beyond have not materialized due to insufficient research and documentation of cases for reference, it has been revealed.

MNH executive director Prof Lawrence Museru.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday during the MNH’s first research dissemination symposium for 2019, MNH executive director Prof Lawrence Museru said most outstanding clinical works undertaken by healthcare providers at MNH are not recorded due to low research output.

“Research output at MNH, although it has been increasing for the past four years, is still low compared to the number of healthcare providers,” he stated.

“For example, for the year 2016/17, there were 13 publications in peer review journals. In 2017/18, there were 37 publications featuring MNH staff. This number is low if you compare, for example to the number of medical specialists,” he further noted.

Prof Museru specified that in recent years there has been a paradigm shift from experience-based to evidence-based practice in medicine.

Evidence suggests that patients who receive care in research active hospitals have better health outcomes, the director stated, elaborating that research-active hospitals tend to be advanced in learning, and more likely to have wider treatment options and hence benefit patients.

He, however pointed out some strategies put in place by the national hospital to address the challenge, including having a research policy that recognizes research efforts by allocating time for clinical research as well as establishing seed funding for research capacity building.

The hospital is also collaborating with internal and external research institutions, and at the same time conducting training on research methodology and related topics in order to increase research skills, the don affirmed.

Since 2015, the hospital has been allocating seed funding for capacity building in research but utilization of the funds has been low. In the year 2017/18, a total of 57m/- was awarded, just 57.7percent of the budgeted amount. This was the case despite the criteria for award set at absolute minimum, which the director said was obtaining ethical clearance from MNH.

Prof Charles Majinge, the chairman of the MNH board of directors said in his remarks that research is part and parcel of medical care provision. There is no way solutions to address challenges facing the sector can be addressed without research, he added.