Category Archives: PhD

New PhD at Hawassa University

On April 23, 2024, Zelalem Tenaw defended his PhD thesis at Hawassa University titled “Reproductive Health Service Utilization and Burden of Problems among Women with Disabilities in Sidama Region, Ethiopia”.

His PhD thesis and publications can be downloaded here.

This study aimed to assess the utilization of reproductive health services and the burden of reproductive health problems among women with disabilities in the Sidama Region in Ethiopia. It used a cross-sectional study design of 652 women with disabilities. Two-thirds had recently experienced an unintended pregnancy, and 60% of reproductive-age females with disabilities reported sexual violence experience. Only 27 % were current contraceptive users, and transport accessibility, age, and types of disability determined their contraceptive use. Also, age, residency, income, parity, alcohol use, and sexual information were the risk factors. It is essential to implement strategies for raising contraceptive awareness and incorporating at-home contraceptive provision into the health extension programs.

Zelalem Tenaw earned his BSc in midwifery at Hawassa University and a Master’s in Maternity and reproductive health at Addis Ababa University in 2015. He is an assistant professor at Hawassa University.

Zelalem’s achievement is the first PhD in Public Health at Hawassa University, a testament to his dedication and the university’s commitment to advancing knowledge in this field. This is a significant achievement at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences. Zelalem is the first to enroll and complete his doctoral work as a “pure Hawassa PhD graduate.” Students before him were also attached to other universities.

The Senuph project aims to strengthen the College of Health Sciences to run good PhD programs. In the case of Zelalem Tenaw, both his supervisors are attached to the Senuph project, and the Senuph program has participated in giving PhD courses at the institution. We are now looking forward to more PhD graduates completing their Ph.D.

Progress of Senuph project

During the last two weeks of May, the Senuph PhD and master’s students, supervisors, and coordinators from Ethiopia and Norway met in Arba Minch and Hawassa.

The pictures show the research gatherings; the upper picture is from Arba Minch, and the lower is from Hawassa University.  (Photo: Prof Ingunn Marie S. Engebretsen).

We delved into the progress of the research components in research seminars, group discussions, and individual meetings. I’m pleased to report that our research is making significant strides forward, filling us with optimism for the future.

In addition, we started to work to strengthen the possibility of doing various kinds of mathematical modelling, especially by investigating the possible causal links between climate variability and infectious diseases or malnutrition. We hope such work will broaden our scope by including interdisciplinary teams in meteorology, environmental sciences, biology, and epidemiology.

Improving health care for patients with diabetes and hypertension

The World Health Organization has designed a package of essential non-communicable diseases (PEN) strategies to improve the detection and management of NCDs. However, the implementation of the PEN in Ethiopia is at an early stage, and the readiness of rural primary healthcare units to implement the strategy is unknown.

We aim to determine the prevalence of undiagnosed hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and sickness associated with hypertension and diabetes among older adults. Furthermore, we shall apply the WHO-PEN-based care model for participants diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension and evaluate its effectiveness in controlling these diseases.

Recently, the NCD group published a pre-pring of the protocol; see submitted paper.

The study started, and the picture shows a teaching session of fieldworkers before the study began.

Senuph students and staff visit Bergen

During the past six weeks, students and staff from the Senuph program at Hawassa and Arba Minch Universities attended courses at the Centre for International Health at the University of Bergen.

Ten people attended the classes and returned to Ethiopia this evening.

The upper picture shows four participants from Hawassa in the health economics course, and the lower photo shows students attending a course on experimental epidemiology visiting Magnhild and Bernt Lindtjørn.


Strengthening neonatal and maternal health

The maternal and neonatal research team aims to improve the quality of care for mothers and newborns within the community. The team collaborates with community health workers and health development teams, directly influencing the local health system.

The photo illustrates a training session conducted by members of the maternal and neonatal research team and health extension workers for the health development teams residing in the Gala Argiso kebele in the Sidama region of Ethiopia. These health development teams are volunteers dedicated to addressing maternal and newborn health issues at the grassroots level. Additionally, it seeks to educate mothers on self-care practices during pregnancy and postpartum and guide them on when to seek medical attention for health concerns.

Scientific conference for Master’s and PhD students

From November 8 to 10,  we had a scientific conference for masters and PhD students at Hawassa University. Participants were students from the universities in both Hawassa and Arba Minch. Altogether, 28 students presented their research.

The rationale for such an annual event is to have a high-quality conference where students get scientific feedback on their presentations.

The abstracts are found here.

The NCD group began collecting data

The non-communicable disease group has now received ethical IRB approval. Currently, they are testing their data collection tools, using both the Sidaamu Afoo, the prevailing language in the study area and Amharic, using the open-source KoBo Toolbox for data collection and storage.  This week, the team will start training data collectors and conduct pre-tests in a rural area of Sidama.