African Journal of Health Professions Education

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UniSkilling up medical laboratory technologists for higher roles in biomedical sciences: A needs analysis

CC Ezeala


Introduction: Uganda is in short supply of biomedical scientists with competencies in research and professional services. To date the educational system for medical laboratory technologists in Uganda has produced many technologists with diplomas that do not qualify them for entry into postgraduate education. One potential way to address the problem is to offer medical laboratory technologists, who have a diploma, further training to bridge the gap between the diploma qualification and a higher qualification such as a Master’s degree. We would like to propose the development of a postgraduate diploma programme in medical laboratory sciences that will form a link between the diploma and a Master’s degree programme.
Methods: To develop a curriculum that will address this need, a nationwide needs assessment was conducted to determine stakeholders’ recognition of the need for the programme and the preferred modes of programme delivery. National stakeholders were identified and prioritised and a questionnaire was developed and piloted. The questionnaires were distributed to the stakeholders in Makerere University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, and Kampala International University. Data were analysed using qualitative and quantitative methods.
Results: A response rate of 83% was recorded; 96% agreed that the programme was needed, and 93% wanted it developed immediately. Reasons given for this need included scaling up of manpower, production of better-qualified scientists, more opportunities for medical laboratory scientists, technological development, and improving health care services.
Conclusion: This study has demonstrated the need for further training of medical laboratory technologists in Uganda. This will address the  manpower shortages in biomedical sciences and empower the technologists to become biomedical scientists.

AJOL African Journals Online