|D Nakanjako, P Byakika-Kibwika, K Kintu, J Aizire, F Nakwagala, S Luzige, C Namisi, H Mayanja-Kizza & R M Kamya.|
|BMC Medical Education, 2011|
"Mentoring is a core component of medical education and career success. There is increasing global emphasis on mentorship of young scientists in order to train and develop the next leaders in global health. However, mentoring efforts are challenged by the high clinical, research and administrative demands. We evaluated the status and nature of mentoring practices at Makerere College of Health Sciences (MAKCHS). Pre-tested, self-administered questionnaires were sent by email to all Fogarty alumni at the MAKCHS (mentors) and each of them was requested to complete and email back the questionnaire. In addition to training level and number of mentors, the questionnaires had open-ended questions covering themes such as; status of mentorship, challenges faced by mentors and strategies to improve and sustain mentorship within MAKCHS. Similarly, open-ended questionnaires were sent and received by email from all graduate students registered with the Uganda Society for Health Scientists (USHS). Qualitative data from mentors and mentees was analyzed manually according to the pre-determined themes. Twenty- two out of 100 mentors responded (14 email and 8 hard copy responses). Up to 77% (17/22) of mentors had Master's-level training and only 18% (4/22) had doctorate-level training. About 40% of the mentors had [greater than or equal to] two mentees while 27% had none. Qualitative results showed that mentors needed support in terms of training in mentoring skills and logistical/financial support to carry out successful mentorship. Junior scientists and students reported that mentorship is not yet institutionalized and it is currently occurring in an adhoc manner. There was lack of awareness of roles of mentors and mentees. The mentors mentioned the limited number of practicing mentors at the college and thus the need for training courses and guidelines for faculty members in regard to mentorship at academic institutions. Both mentors and mentees were willing to improve mentorship practices at MAKCHS. There is need for institutional commitment to uphold and sustain the mentorship best practices. We recommend a collaborative approach by the stakeholders in global health promotion to build local capacity in mentoring African health professionals. "