A historical moment: the first UiB – Hawassa University joint PhD degree defended
Hawassa University in Ethiopia and the Centre for International Health (CIH) at the University of Bergen (UiB) have had a long-lasting, productive scientific co-operation in Global Health. In 2015, the two universities developed a joint PhD degree programme.
The first PhD candidate from this joint degree programme, Moges Tadesse Borde, defended his dissertation 20 January 2021. In these pandemic times, the Defence was held digitally. It led by professor Thorkild Tylleskär from CIH.
Borde’s thesis was entitled, ‘Maternal and neonatal health in southern Ethiopia: A cohort study on the incidence of illnesses and utilisation of healthcare service’. The research involved almost 900 women and their newborn babies from South Ethiopia. The women and babies were followed over time and information about their health situation was recorded. While several of the pregnant mothers developed anaemia and hypertension, only few were given any treatment, due to the lack of both health centres and qualified staff.
Impacting health policy
This thesis has had an important impact on health policy in Ethiopia. Discussions based on these results have started with the Ethiopian authorities on how to improve things in the health system for Ethiopian mothers and children.
The Defence opponents were Professor Lars Åke Persson, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom and PhD Mitike Molla, from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. There were two chairs, as this was a Joint Degree; Professors Wondwosen Teklesilasie Kidane, Hawassa and Bente E. Moen, UiB. Borde’s main supervisor was Professor Bernt Lindtjørn, who also has been central in the establishment of this joint degree programme. His co-supervisors were Professor Kjell Arne Johansson and Associate Professor Eskindir Loha.
Demanding, challenging research
Moen explains that this kind of research study is very demanding and challenging. She adds that the work is impressive and is going to have a lasting impact on mother and child health through discussions on new health policy measures. Moen extends sincere congratulations to the candidate Borde, his supervisors and the two universities.
Read Borde’s thesis summary (in Norwegian)
Article in Khrono, the independent news service for Norwegian higher education and research (in Norwegian)