SMART Africa Center and ICHAD were ecstatic to co-host the 3rd Annual Conference on Child Behavioral Health in Sub-Saharan African in Masaka, Uganda between July 30th and August 1st, 2018. Bringing together approximately 300 conference participants from Ghana, Kenya, Uganda and the United States, the conference provided a platform for participants to discuss how to achieve sustainable impact on child behavioral health. Conference participants included stakeholders such as teachers, parent peers and community health workers from the SMART Africa-Uganda study, as well as government officials such as the Minister of Education, the Minister of Children and Youth, the LC5 Chairperson of Masaka, and the Mayor of Masaka, researchers, religious stakeholders including the Bishop of Masaka Diocese, Junior Scholars, Global Fellows and NGO representatives. In addition to workshops and presentations, the conference included the SMART Africa Field Research & Implementation Report to Community Stakeholders. Hon. Dr. John Chrysestom Muyingo, State Minister for Higher Education, Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, State Minister of Youth and Children Affairs, as well as Dr. Benjamin Ola. Akande, Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and Director of Africa Initiative at Washington University in St. Louis were the Guests of Honor for this year’s conference.
The 3rd Annual Conference also launched two new initiatives: 1) A poster session that included poster presentations on child and adolescent wellbeing research in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, and Sierra Leone. Posters were evaluated by three independent judges and the highest ranked three posters were acknowledged with awards; and 2) The Junior Scholar Conference Travel Award Program was launched and provided scholarships to 19 local high school and university students to attend one day of the conference (see the following section for more details).
Policy Maker-Researcher Engagement Panel
SMART Africa and ICHAD hosted a Policy Maker-Researcher Engagement panel at their 3rd Annual Conference on Child Behavioral Health in Sub-Saharan Africa. It was led by a two-member panel made up of Dan Ferris from Washington University in St. Louis, USA and Timothy Opobo from ChildFund International-Uganda. The facilitator was Mr. Simba Machingaidze from ChildFund International-Uganda. Dan and Timothy’s presentation focused on what policy is, why a policy is essential, the policymaking process and practice, as well as the value of research in policy development, challenges, and opportunities for researchers in policy advocacy and formulation.
The full panel can be found below.
On the 3rd day of the conference, SMART Africa colleagues spent the first half of the day engaging in discussions on study implementation in Ghana and Kenya with the U.S. and Uganda team members. They also held a discussion session on multiple family group (MFG) intervention adaptation and implementation with input from the Uganda team on lessons learned. Global Fellow Dr. Tyrone Parchment also participated in this session and provided insights from the MFG study currently implemented in New York City.
ICHAD and SMART Africa staff are very grateful to all the participants in the conference who contributed to stimulating discussions focused on promoting sustainable research, programming, and policy on child behavioral health in Sub-Saharan Africa.