HISP Masters, PhD and Action Research
Here you find the history of the HISP research project, references to recent research as well as the activity calendar of our research group.
History of HISP Research
The University of Oslo initiated an integrated Masters Programme in Mozambique in 2000 and which has since spread to other countries as part of the HISP network. This programme provides a vehicle for practical operationalisation of integration of the disciplines of informatics and public health. At the Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, two Masters programmes in health informatics were started; one as part of the public health programme in the Medical Faculty, and one as part of the informatics department in the Faculty of Science. The two Masters had some courses specialising their ‘own’ students, and a general introduction course for the ‘other’ students, and a shared core module for students from informatics and health worked together. Research and theses writing were also carried out with the two groups working together. These integrated Masters programmes were based on the following pedagogical and developmental principles:
- Engage students in local practical development to ensure both the local relevance of education and research as well as contributing to local systems development.
- Establish synergetic collaboration between the academic disciplines of informatics and public health to ensure that the informatics students learn about the health domain and how IT could be applied there and vice versa.
- Establish collaboration with the Ministry of Health, both for education and applied research; Ministry of Health staff taking part in teaching, and staff from the Ministry of Health also being enrolled as students, and student research projects being designed as to support Ministry of Health by developing HIS in pilot provinces contributing to the larger national strategy.
Who is going to run and sustain the Masters programmes? In order to respond to this developmental question, a PhD programme was established in Mozambique together with the Masters programmes. Six staff members from the UEM University were enrolled as PhD students at the University of Oslo in a ‘sandwich’ mode, meaning that they carried out their research in Mozambique while also helping to supervise the Masters students, while taking courses and attending their PhD related seminars in Oslo.
Since the start in Mozambique, over the last 10 to 12 years, the University of Oslo in collaboration with respective national universities have established in-country Masters programmes including in South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. With funding and scholarship support from the Norwegian government, and in some cases supplemented with national funding, more than 500 students to date have been awarded such Masters degrees, many of whom have gone on to register for doctoral programmes at Oslo. Till date, about 25 such PhD students have graduated, and about 40 are in process at various stages of their research. Both the research and Masters students have also actively contributed to the teaching of the Masters programmes and also for the in-service courses in different countries. Since individual students come from countries where such HIS reform initiatives are ongoing, this model has contributed to the development of sustainable capacity at the institutional levels within the Ministry Departments of Health and also the Faculties of Public Health and Informatics of the national universities.